We’re excited to announce that the Iowa City CSD School Board approved a transition from our current PowerSchool student information system to Infinite Campus. Infinite Campus is used widely across the state, including by many of the larger districts with which ICCSD collaborates most frequently, including Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Dubuque, Sioux City, Davenport, and others
Infinite Campus, like PowerSchool, will house grades, attendance information, students’ schedules, assessment information, and other demographic and academic information. In order to protect this data, Infinite Campus is compliant with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, and implements industry-standard practices related to student data privacy and security.
Parents and students will be able to access Infinite Campus through parent and student portals using a web browser on any device or a mobile app on a smartphone or tablet. ICCSD will be sharing more information, including instructions for parents and students to use the Infinite Campus portals, as we approach the 2021-2022 school year. Parents and students who want to get a jumpstart on learning about Infinite Campus can find videos and other support resources here.
The ICCSD student data team has been working with staff groups over the past few months to learn and implement Infinite Campus, including a successful experience with our first official use of Infinite Campus during Kindergarten registration. As with any large rollout, training is being targeted to groups such that staff who need to use Infinite Campus have received training prior to using the system. At this point, building secretaries, counselors, administrators, and other groups have received training related to student registration and scheduling tasks that are completed during the spring. Teachers and other groups will receive training as we move through summer and toward the start of the next school year.
We’ll have much more information to come about Infinite Campus and the transition in the coming months. In the meantime, please read on for answers to some common questions we’ve received about our move to Infinite Campus.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are we transitioning to Infinite Campus?
Following discussions with a large group that included representation from all of the staff groups that use our student information system, we determined that it was time to explore student information system (SIS) options. We had experienced a number of issues with our current SIS, including substantial downtime over a two-year period, inability to integrate with specific third-party systems, and increased workload and cost due to changes to our current SIS. Infinite Campus is in place in all of the largest districts in Iowa – ICCSD was the largest district in the state still using PowerSchool – in large part due to efficiencies in terms of managing and utilizing data that are beneficial in a large and complex school system. We’re excited about the quality of the end-user interfaces within Infinite Campus, and look forward to being able to leverage a more unified and accessible data structure to create efficiencies in the work of the district’s data analytics and research team.
Will we still have Canvas LMS next year?
At the start of our transition from PowerSchool to Infinite Campus, a rumor sprung up that the transition meant the end of our use of the Canvas Learning Management System as well. Thankfully, this was just a rumor and we will continue to use Canvas for the foreseeable future at our secondary schools. Infinite Campus offers excellent compatibility with Canvas, as can be seen in other large districts in the state that currently use both Infinite Campus and Canvas, such as Des Moines and Cedar Rapids. In addition to continued use of Canvas, we’ll continue to be able to offer SIS integrations that allow for automatic rostering of Canvas classes, grade passback from Canvas to Infinite Campus, and other features.
Does this transition increase our SIS costs?
While there are some additional costs for implementation of a new system, including training, data cleaning and transition services, and initial setup costs, our ongoing costs are largely unchanged compared to our current SIS. Further, a planned move to a new registration system and contact structure was going to result in substantial implementation costs even with our current SIS, which somewhat mitigates the cost of a transition.
Didn’t the governor announce that we were moving to a statewide SIS? How does that impact this transition?
The Governor did include an announcement in her condition of the state speech – roughly an hour after ICCSD approved a transition to Infinite Campus – that the state would begin work to adopt a single, statewide student information system. Legislation in this area is now dead, however, after the statewide SIS component was stripped from HSB 240 when it advanced out of committee, and then the bill itself (HF 808) was withdrawn anyway. There is always a chance that the state will move forward with this type of plan in a future year, though we have a high degree of confidence that Infinite Campus – which is used by the largest districts in the state, in addition to many others – would be a likely candidate for selection as the statewide SIS platform.
Is Infinite Campus easy to use?
We’ll be interested to get feedback on this question as we roll Infinite Campus out to parents, students, and an increasing number of staff. That said, we’ve done our homework during the selection process and have confidence that ease-of-use will be equivalent to or better than our current SIS. Districts we talked with as references indicated that their school communities are happy with Infinite Campus, and school districts that recently transitioned from PowerSchool indicate that they feel that the challenges of the transition were worth it in the long run. Once we are able to collect more feedback from our users, we’ll be working hard to provide resources and support to smooth the transition and address any concerns that arise.