Skyward

As an industry leader in education management focused on helping school districts achieve success, Skyward, Inc., along with Progress, developed myDistrict360—a learning analytics solution to aid teaching and manage district efficiencies, based on Progress® OpenEdge® Analytics360™.

Products:

ServicesOpenEdge

Challenge

Find or develop an intuitive and robust data analytics tool for school administrators to use to increase student productivity and improve school financials

Solution

Partner with Progress to develop a new intuitive, robust solution to help school district personnel analyze critical student and financial related data

Result

Remove barriers for administration to increase student outcomes and improve financial management to reduce costs

Story

Challenge

Prior to working with Progress, Skyward successfully provided multiple data analytics options to their 1,800 school district client base. Over time, through the feedback of customers, Skyward recognized the need for a more flexible and intuitive analytics solution that school administrators could utilize in their decision making process. There was a desire to engage and encourage all stakeholders–from superintendents to teachers–to use the information maintained in the Skyward School Management System for keen insight and enhanced decision making. Since a more robust solution was needed, Skyward was faced with the ambitious task of either finding or developing a new solution to better suit the needs of their customers. It was then that they reached out to Progress.

Solution

Skyward reviewed other solutions in the market and found that many of the solutions were either overly complex for the user or too cost prohibitive for the public schools they served.

Skyward had already collaborated with Progress on past projects and understood their expertise in the business intelligence space. Also, it was most important that the two firms had a history of working well together. It was clear to Skyward, after reviewing all the existing options, that Progress OpenEdge Analytics360 was the best solution for their needs. And since they could white label the product and embed it into their application, the choice was even easier. Ray Ackerlund, Skyward VP of Marketing and Product Management, stated, “After discussing at length our needs and goals we found that Progress could design a solution with the functionality we wanted, at a price point that our K-12 customers could afford.”

Result

The response to myDistrict360 has been most favorable and many clients are impressed with the user-centric nature of the solution. Others have said they really like that they can “jump right in and use it.” The ability to create custom dashboards and alerts makes it easy for school districts to use the solution.

Clients who use Skyward’s School Management System that includes a student information system and business management system can bring all their data together to review from a single portal. This allows for consolidation and provides a true 360-degree view of the district’s entire operation from a student management and fiscal/HR perspective.

According to Ray Ackerlund, “The biggest thing for Skyward is that myDistrict360 allows us to provide a wellrounded solution for our customers. The use of data is increasingly more important for school districts because they need to identify trends and areas of improvement to be successful. This solution helps solidify our system as the entire package—everything that a school system needs to manage and analyze all of their data.”

Collaborative efforts of Skyward and Progress were key to the success of myDistrict360. This kind of success has played out time and time again for the partnership.
According to Sean Garguilo, Progress, “The advantage to our solution is that it’s very easy to use. The other two major solutions in the marketplace are made more for the power user—a user who really understands analytics and data discovery. On the other hand, with myDistrict360, the end user has immediate role-relevant access to their data and that’s where we provide the most value. Another plus is stability. Those in education spend an inordinate amount of time gathering data for various purposes. myDistrict360 is very stable. And this is just the beginning.”

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