So long to printed rosters, mailed report cards! Blackbaud to merge learning management, student information, admissions process

(Graphic by Allison Zhang)

Blackbaud may sound like an evil futuristic computer program, but really it is the school’s new computer software.

According to Blackbaud’s website, they are “the world’s leading cloud software company powering social good.”

The school intends to use Blackbaud’s services to consolidate its three main databases into one core database that coordinates with two others, according to director of technology Tom Wroten.

“We already use Blackbaud services for our financial and alumni relations software,” Wroten said.

“But this year we decided to merge all of our databases with Blackbaud to simplify the data exchange between departments.”

One of the three main areas that the school hopes to streamline is learning management, according to Wroten.

A learning management system is a software application that controls educational material.

“Right now, we don’t have a true learning management system for grades 6-12,” Wroten said.

“We currently just use Google Apps, now called G Suite, for our classes.”

Wroten intends to use Blackbaud’s OnCampus software to improve the organization of classes.

“OnCampus can include the links to class websites, online assessments, syllabi and other resources,” Wroten said.

“It will have everything a student needs in one place.”

Another area that Wroten hopes to streamline is student information.

OnRecord, Blackbaud’s information software, will allow teachers to keep track of grades, attendance and disciplinary infractions.

“Students will now be able to view their grades online if the teachers allow them,” Wroten said.

Report cards will also be available online and not mailed home.

Printed rosters will cease to exist as well since all of the contact information will be available online.

Wroten said that Country Day is also trying to improve the admissions process through Blackbaud’s software, OnBoard.

“OnBoard will allow an online application for prospective families,” Wroten said.

“Parents will be able to log in and view every step of the application process, and then once they are admitted, all of their information will automatically be entered into the databases.”

Wroten said that the school is already in the implementation phases, but that the work is long and arduous.

“It’s basically like starting from scratch,” Wroten said.

“Every setting – like how we calculate GPA, what classes get credit and the capacity of each class – has to be manually entered into the databases.

“But once it’s finished, we will be able to have an incredibly powerful database that will allow us to have better digital archival information for all students and easier access to disseminate information to our constituents.”

By Jack Christian

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