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STEVENS POINT, Wis. (September 29, 2021) – As district leaders have accelerated their reliance on technology and digital skills, it has become clear that some of the strategies and tools put in place during the last 18 months will remain in the post-COVID-19 education world.

For many school districts, leveraging their use of existing technology allowed them to make digital transformation a much less stressful experience.

One such district, Consolidated High School District 230 (D230) in Illinois, integrated their SIS (Skyward) with their LMS (Canvas) to help them transition to a successful virtual learning environment. While D230 already had plans in place for eLearning to be used for inclement weather days prior to the pandemic, the district had to speed up their plans when the pandemic hit. Luckily, the district’s SIS easily integrates with many third-party solutions, so they were able to get their virtual learning environment up and running quickly.

“The integration [of Skyward] with Canvas has made it much easier to manage changes with courses, teachers, student rosters, team teaching, and more,” stated John Connolly, chief technology officer at the district. “Our teachers especially love the gradebook passback feature.”

Another district in Texas, Grand Prairie Independent School District, used Skyward to offer online enrollment amid the pandemic. With a student count of over 29,000, Grand Prairie ISD needed a way to enroll all students without in-person visits. Enter Skyward’s New Student Online Enrollment (NSOE).

According to Bill Young, the district’s director of student information systems, implementing the NSOE feature created convenience and peace of mind for both district administrators and district families.

“NSOE has been a great way to receive information from parents, process the information to get students enrolled, and communicate back to the parents, all with no face-to-face contact,” said Young.

Finally, Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township in Indiana, used Skyward to move their parent-teacher conferences online. The results surpassed expectations, with all of the district’s elementary schools having 100% participation and their secondary schools having the highest participation rates ever.

"A silver lining to all the negatives of the pandemic is the move of parent-teacher conferences online,” said chief operations and technology officer at the district, Pete Just. “Our participation is through the roof and teachers and parents are connecting to help students in ways they never had before. Engaging the adult in the student's life is key to student success. I think online parent teacher conferences are here to stay and that's a great thing!"

For D230, Grand Prairie ISD, MSD Wayne Township, and thousands of other districts around the nation, COVID-19 caused a quick pivot to remote learning with a heavier reliance on their edtech. By using Skyward in creative and innovative ways, these three districts thrived.

“The pandemic created a rapid acceleration in districts’ move to digital solutions,” said Ray Ackerlund, president of Skyward. “For districts, leveraging edtech they already own allows them to shift to a digital environment, without having to invest in additional software or learn new tools.”

While it is impossible to know what the coming years of education will look like, these examples show how districts are using their edtech to stay future-ready as they anticipate what may happen next.

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