The 2020-2021 school year has created new and unforeseen challenges for schools, students, families and staff that are requiring many schools to rethink their daily processes and protocols. The answer? An effective and easy-to-use student information system (SIS) to give you the tools you need to streamline your school processes and connect with your community in a variety of ways. The right SIS will provide: 

  • Dynamic communications tools 
  • Best-in-class integrations with systems you may already be using 
  • A self-serve parent portal with access to students grades and assignments 
  • Integrated, comprehensive reporting  


Let’s take a deeper dive into some of the tools that will help you save time, maximize budget and provide your staff and families with the support they need. 

Dynamic Communication Tools 

Families are expecting more frequent communications from your school, especially given the constant uncertainty surrounding schooling this year. When evaluating a centralized student information system, one of the key things to look for is communication tools built directly into your SIS. Does your SIS have tools that allow you to send emails, phone calls and even text messages to your families that include important information stored in your SIS? When it’s quick and easy to incorporate student-specific information in your communications, you can communicate more regularly and more effectively with significantly less effort. Plus, when you’re creating and sending messages and alerts directly from your SIS, you know you’re sending those messages to the most-up-to date contact information for your families.  

Integrated communication tools are one of the quickest and easiest ways to improve communications for your families. 

Best-in-Class Integrations 

When we talk about a consolidated system, we don’t mean a closed system. It’s important that your student information system allows you to continue to leverage best-in-class solutions you’re already using like Google Classroom or admission and enrollment software. Having the ability to sync critical student and family data directly from one system into the next gives school administrators the ability to spend less time on data management and more time on the things that really matter.  

You want to use a student information system that consolidates as many functions as you can, but that also gives you the flexibility to keep some of the systems that are already working well for you. 

Transparent Gradebook and Self-Serve Family Portal 

A flexible gradebook will support both scores and standards/skill-based grading as well as customizable grading scales. It’s important that you adopt a system that will allow you to utilize one single platform to meet the needs of multiple grades and school levels whether students are learning in the classroom or from home. Custom notes and comments, in-line editing, assignment tracking and final grade calculations are just some of the features you should explore when looking for an SIS that will help streamline your report cards and save you time.  

We also know that families expect to be able to view assignments and grades for their students whenever they want. All that to say, a key decision criterion when you look for an SIS is a self-serve family portal. A family portal is where families can access important information on their own, at any time, without having to request or wait for someone on staff to provide them what they need. By giving families the ability to access the information they want, you’re putting the power back in their hands, giving your families peace of mind while creating less work for you and your team.  

New Data Insights 

With an all-in-one SIS, you get access to data and information that you never had before. You can make betterinformed, data-driven decisions when you consolidate information in one place, rather than trying to manually bring together reports from each of your individual student management tools. If you look at reporting capabilities within an SIS, the ability to schedule and distribute reports automatically can be a game-changer for school staff. Often, reporting is done at year- or season-end as a “look back” so you can learn important lessons for the next year. But when you can compare data across campus with just a few clicks, you can get access to data insights instantly so that you can learn things that enable you to make strategic shifts throughout the year rather than waiting for its conclusion. 

An all-in-one SIS that integrates with your other administrative software systems is key to achieving better communication, increased data security, an improved experience for your families and powerful reporting. Community Brands’ flagship student information system, Educate, checks all these boxes and more. For more information, contact us today!