Monday, January 25, 2010

Mission CISD: Major technology upgrades will benefit students, staff and parents

      Mission CISD (Consolidated Independent School District) technology officials are in the midst of a major upgrade that should benefit parents and staff alike.  The half-million dollar plus project was approved by the Board of Trustees last year.  Part of the project is being paid for with federal stimulus funds.

      "We are completely replacing our student information system, hardware and all," explained Robert Sanchez, director of technology systems for Mission CISD.  "The old system we are replacing had become so old that the manufacturer no longer supported the product and the software used was not much better.  We reached the point that something had to be done before we had serious issues that could have had a negative impact on our operations right down to the classroom level."

      Sanchez said the installation of hardware has been completed and now they are working on getting the system software packages installed and tested.  Once that is done, Sanchez said, the district can begin the process of training staff on the new systems with the goal of completely switching over before the beginning of the next school year.

      The new student information system will not only make a huge improvement in the handling student data, records, and reports but will also provide some access to parents and an online grade book for teachers.  "We are including a new parent portal that will enable parents to keep tabs on how their children are doing in their classes without having to wait for progress reports or report cards to be issued," Sanchez said.  "Any parent with Internet access will be able to set up a secure account to view the information from the comfort of their own homes."

      The parent portal will also help improve communication between the schools and parents through the parent portal but also through other communication tools that will be added.  The district will also have the ability to send messages to parents and staff members through automated phone calls, text messages, and e-mails. 

      "The district will no longer have to rely completely on the local media and personal phone calls during events like school closures or emergencies," said Sanchez.  "In a matter of minutes, we will be able to call or contact every parent and staff member in the district, if needed."

      Sanchez admitted the process of installing and implementing the new system has been a challenge, and that there may be a few hiccups initially, but that is a normal process of such an overhaul.  He also said it has been a great experience for himself and his staff.

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      Pictured from left to right are Jorge Martinez, network specialist; Robert Sanchez, technology systems director; Jorge Cavazos PEIMS coordinator in the district's main computer server room as they begin to work with the new computer system being implemented by Mission CISD.

Contact:  Craig Verley, Director of Public Relations and Marketing

1201 Bryce Drive, Mission Texas 78572

Office: (956) 323-5530•Fax: (956) 323-8103

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