Skyward Showcases Innovations that Bolster Communication and Efficiency at Annual iCon Event

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School management software provider helps districts stay on top of evolving regulations

"The excitement this year from the iCon attendees was the highest I have seen." Scott Glinski, President Skyward, Inc.

Skyward, Inc., a leading provider of K-12 school administrative software, unveiled three new solutions to promote student achievement and efficiency at its annual iCon event in Orlando, Fla. This year’s theme, “It’s all about the students,” underscored the focus of the latest developments and strategies within Skyward’s School Management System.

Skyward customers traveled from 16 states and four countries to attend the March 7-9 event and get the first look at Skyward’s latest products, which incorporate social media elements. These expanded offerings come at a time when districts are looking for software systems to provide them with enhanced capabilities and time-saving features because of over-stretched budgets.

“In anticipation of our new offerings, including an online game for students and new design features, the excitement this year from the attendees was the highest I have seen,” says Scott Glinski, president of Skyward. “The needs of districts and states are rapidly evolving. At Skyward, our responsibility is to deliver solutions to our customers that keep them a step ahead of these changes.”

School administrators got the inside scoop on how to use Skyward more effectively in their districts. Learning sessions focused on tools within Skyward that:

  •     Promote collaboration between schools, students and families
  •     Enhance curriculum and budget analysis
  •     Improve the accuracy and availability of essential data for effective decision-making

Online interactive game and updated family access portal changes the way schools use social media

One added value that Skyward will be integrating is its Student Reward System, a groundbreaking online, interactive game designed to proactively reward students for positive behaviors and accomplishments. Students are provided individual avatars that take them through the game. Building on the popularity of social media and gaming, the feature rewards and promotes positive behavior and allows students to compete in a constructive manner. Through pre-programmed, objective goals such as perfect attendance and subjective goals such as good behavior, students earn points to customize their avatar, advance to new levels in the game and enjoy other incentives.

Skyward also introduced its new Family Access Portal design, which incorporates a social media platform feel. The design is unique to student management applications with its message-driven structure for easier viewing. This allows parents, teachers and students to see the progression of conversations, assignments, grades and more in a timeline format. The new Family Access Portal design offers a more user-friendly, intuitive style and greatly aids in improved information organization.

Enhancing teacher evaluation process with more accurate, customized options

Driven by programs such as Race to the Top, projected changes to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and changing state regulations, comprehensive teacher evaluations are becoming a mandatory process for school districts. In response to these needs, Skyward announced the development of a new Teacher Evaluation module. With the new module, districts will be able to define their own criteria for managing teacher evaluations that will combine student and HR data such as student performance data with teacher observations. Custom designed evaluation forms allow districts to create the type of reporting that is required with an appearance that reflects their schools’ needs.

Glinski said the feedback they received from iCon attendees was very positive. “Our customers said Skyward’s initiatives for 2012 greatly reflected the needs of their schools,” he says. “The event was mutually beneficial, because it provided a forum for discussion and feedback. Attendees left with the tools and knowledge needed to meet their needs both now and in the future.”

About Skyward
Skyward is a leading provider of K-12 school administrative software that surpasses districts’ needs in state reporting, improves operational capabilities, and opens communication between schools and families. Today, you can find Skyward’s School Management System™ in more than 1,500 school districts worldwide, ranging from districts with as few as 50 students to state configurations supporting more than 800,000 students. Founded in 1980, Skyward serves school districts with its integrated student, finance, and human resources suite of products and is proudly made and supported in the U.S.A.

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Ray Ackerlund