The process of switching to full implementation of Aeries Student Information System has created a more streamlined management of data across Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District, but not without a few hiccups.
At a recent board meeting, Palos Verdes Faculty Association president Kathy Santarosa voiced concern about the program's implementation and overall confusion on how to use the program. Santarosa said when she visited different schools, Aeries came up as a top concern among teachers. Teachers she spoke to at five schools are also having trouble using the system and are sometimes using other methods to communicate with parents, she said.
According to Trent Bahadursingh, PVPUSD technology services administrator, Aeries is an information system the district now uses to store and use a variety of different information on student demographics. The system can be used for attendance, generating report cards and transcript reports and managing information for all government required reports such as suspension and discipline information. Additionally, the system can be used to help identify students who may be eligible for federal free and reduced lunch programs.
“We were in a situation were we had multiple systems and multiple staff members massaging data in and out of the system which wasn’t really efficient,” Bahadursingh said. The district switched to using Aeries for all purposes in order to streamline the process and also make data available more swiftly throughout the system. For instance, the Aeries system allows principals to quickly access a student’s demographic information if they switch schools, Bahadursingh said.
“Whenever you have any type of organizational change that affects so many people—because everyone uses it for a different reason—there’s always a transition period for staff,” he said.
Santarosa, a teacher at Miraleste Intermediate School, described some issues teachers have seen in the transition, including problems her school had with using Aeries to report interim grades. Some teachers had to resort to filling out reports by hand. She also said teachers began the first few days of school without rosters in the system.
“The limitations that are happening in the classroom are really affecting our communication with our parents,” Santarosa said. “We can still email through it—I did find out (Wednesday) how to do that—but it’s not widely known, so we’re lagging on implementation because we don’t have the training.”
He is now working with teachers and staff to identify issues with the program to determine if it the issues are caused by the system or if they can be solved through training.
The system operates at an annual cost of $34,128. In the transition the district discontinued using a data analysis program that cost $46,644 a year. The district has used Aeries since 2000, but not to the extent it is using it now.