//PICTURED ABOVE: Junior Tarini Gannamaneni checks her assignments on OnCampus.
At the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year, the familiar logo of Powerschool Learning no longer greeted Upper School students. Instead, a new system replaced our old friend: OnCampus.
In 2016, Powerschool purchased Haiku Learning and merged into their system. With uncertainties of Haiku’s future, Jason Curtis, Director of Technology and Information Resources, consulted with constituencies and leadership across the School and made a decision to replace Powerschool with Blackbaud.
“Powerschool is a very different company than Haiku. We were not sure what direction [Powerschool] will take on Haiku platform. It’s going to be what we really enjoy, or something completely different,” Curtis said.
Powerschool, MyBackpack and Blackbaud are all student information system (SIS). The School uses SIS to keep all information about the school, such as financial records or students information.
Before Blackbaud, Hockaday had a variety of SIS for the School. Having many different systems frustrated many teachers and students. Kirsten Lindsay-Hudak, Upper School Science Teacher, said that lack of communication between each programs was inconvenient.
For example, if a student wanted to make a change to her schedule, the Upper School registrar must manually enter the changes, and it took some time for that information to be applied to other programs. Multiple programs didn’t integrate well with each other slowing down information transfer between them.
The school now operates under the same system, Blackbaud. It includes integrates various apps such as OnCampus, OnMessage and OnRecord all into one, which makes information transfer and storage easier.
“We are going to be able to communicate internally about students much more effectively, and externally to parents much more effectively,” Curtis said.
Many teachers, including Lindsay-Hudak and Jen Fore, Upper School Science Teacher, applied OnCampus one year before it was publicly introduced to the school. Pilot team members tested out OnCampus to see its features in detail and heard from students as well.
Lindsay-Hudak, with her extensive knowledge in OnCampus, held many workshops along with Fore and Candace Townsley, Academic Technology Specialist. In these workshops, they made a presentation on how to use OnCampus to Upper School teachers.
Lindsay-Hudak found having access to school information the most significant feature about OnCampus. For example, she can check other teachers’ schedules to determine her test date according to students’ schedules. This helps her accommodate her students’ schedules better.
Also, benefits outweigh the disadvantages. Although Lindsay-Hudak found the calendar feature of OnCampus hard to view and navigate, smartphone-like aesthetics or easy-to-view topics appealed her.
She also enjoys having a central place for information. OnCampus is located in the Hockaday website where everything else is found, hence students can discover features unknown to them in previous years.
“I hope [this] will help students to know where to find everything, know what they are doing better, plan everything better,” Lindsay-Hudak said.
Senior Charsie Doan appreciates the user-friendly design of OnCampus.
“I liked that everything was in one place. Everything from all the class is on one page” Doan said.
Photo and Story Eugene Seong