from the Associated Administrators of Los Angeles Weekly Update for the Week of 8 Sept 2014 | http://bit.ly/YihifD
AALA thanks a secondary administrator, who wishes to remain anonymous, for providing this article.
4 September, 2014 ::For years, we heard it was coming – an integrated student information system. And then, suddenly, almost without warning, we drop right into the middle of My Integrated Student Information System (MiSiS), a system still in development. If MiSiS is meant to be a test of our patience and perseverance as administrators, it rose to the occasion.
The MiSiS journey begins with a delay in the start date, difficulty accessing the log-in screen and limited user-access roles. To guide us, we receive a quick, three-hour training, some job aides which often lead us to screens still in production and a help desk with no access to MiSiS.
When questions arise, we place calls to the help desk. The help desk listens, empathizes and states that they will find an answer; the most received answer – “try” this or that, we are not sure if it will work. When no answer exists, personnel instruct us to send screen shots and to create tickets – tickets which return weeks later stating the issue is irresolvable or an enhancement for a later date. At times, we realize we figure out more than the help desk and we are all working in the dark.
Yet, we cannot be beat and we persevere because of the students. Counselors and administrators work tirelessly to enter student class requests while fighting the “loading” wheel. Requests entered, double-checked one-by-one, the master schedule ready for the scheduling engine. No reports exist to support the process. Endless explanations of the necessity of reports end in disappointment.
After months of trial and error and a scheduling engine that cannot support the creation of a master schedule, we revert to the “old-fashioned” way of paper and pencil. Out of desperation, as work usually completed in May extends to July, we commit to a master with a low percentage of students fully scheduled. Now, holes in schedules must be filled. Staff work non-stop during summer to complete schedules, hoping each day to avoid the spinning wheel of death.
New students begin to enroll. To transfer students to our school, we contact other schools and hope they have time to release the students. Stacks of new student enrollees’ paperwork mound desks. We spend one hour per student entering all the necessary data only to click save and to have all of the information erased. MiSiS says new enrollment procedures will be implemented.
In August, simplified enrollment procedures make their debut. Yet, error messages of missing parent information stop data from saving even though the parent information is visible on the screen. Back to
square one and daily calls of distress to MiSiS to support the enrollment of the growing number of new students. Lucky if we enter three to five students a day, even with six people working on data entry, we continue to persevere because of the students.
The system seems to work best at night. To prepare for opening day, taking paperwork home to complete enrollment or to enter student schedules becomes the norm. Working all hours, then coming to work to watch the wheel just spin and spin. Each day is a guessing game. Will you move past the log-in screen? Will you actually arrive at the scheduling screen? Once you are at the scheduling screen, can you change a schedule? Will the schedule you changed earlier stick or revert back to the original schedule? Will all of the students’ classes remain or will one, two or all six be missing?
Leading up to August 12, 2014, are endless months of frustration; frustration that often boils into anger or descends into tears. Some days, we can work only an hour a day. Everything must be documented by hand and rechecked. Work that used to take minutes now takes hours, even days. The students are in class but the problems continue. We create hand schedules for students not in MiSiS. Teachers turn rosters in daily to monitor enrollment numbers and class size. New issues stem from classes inadvertently missing from student schedules, from reports not accurately reflecting numbers, and from misinformation from MiSiS.
Top management says we will not remember the trials and tribulations of MiSiS in a year. Even though, we continue to persevere, the new silver streaks in my hair will remain an everlasting reminder of the MiSiS crisis.