Saturday, August 22, 2009

eSIS Beefs - Let's hear 'em!


So far, the new new master schedule builder software called eSIS has not made a very good first impression. We're still hearing horror stories of this thing reducing teachers and counselors to tears in our First Day of School posting. The administration seems to be in denial of the problem, having posted a statement at the main website stating that the system had some glitches but all students now have schedules.

We know that the problems with the system run much deeper than that. Apparently, the system is not allowing teachers to input proper attendance numbers, which effects class sizes, the need for more classes, ordering books and supplies and a whole host of related issues.

Teachers and staff, please feel free to post your experiences with the system last week–anonymously, from your personal computer, on your free time. The administration needs to hear the details only you can provide but have no place for you to provide it where you can feel safe from repercussions.

We will compile your comments and send on to the administration and the board. Be nice! Be constructive!

214 comments:

1 – 200 of 214   Newer›   Newest»
Ella Smith said...

My son indicates that his teachers at Lakeside cannot use the program now. They cannot put grades into the system now. Some teachers he has can get into the system sometimes at Lakeside to take attendance and then others have to use the old paper method to take attendance. His observation are that the system have many problems at this time that need to be worked out in order for the school system to be able to use the system efficiently.

Apparently the system was not prepared to start using the system yet. They jumped into using the system before it was functional and also before training was given efficiently to use eSIS. IT APPEARS TO BE A MESS FROM Cutie Smith's (my son's nickname) prospective.

Anonymous said...

The attendance portion of it is a disaster. It won't generate one master class list, but several smaller lists, so the AP sees a class list and thinks the class is small. Then the AP puts more kids into the class, and it ends up overfilled.

The schools have been told that they cannot go back to the old system. They just have to gut through it.

Anonymous said...

I remember when Smartweb gradebook was rolled out, I think in '02 - the system wasn't capable of handling the massive amounts of data. It wouldn't do what you wanted it to do. It was down often. It was slow. The teachers called it "Dumbweb".

It eventually got to where it needed to be, and there were improvements every year, but it seems like MIS didn't learn its lesson, as once again, technological/administrative/budget concerns trump educational ones.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Also, remember the Parent Portal feature of Smartweb was not available to the elementary school parents. The new eSIS system will be.

Cerebration said...

These enormous computer implementations are always monsters to get going. I understand that. I don't understand the denial of the problems and the punishment of the teachers (a teacher wrote to say that she had tried for a total of 7 hours to upload her attendance records, but couldn't get the system to do it and was given a letter of reprimand - that's not right.)

I think the leadership needs to honestly address the bugs and glitches and encourage and support teachers as they learn the system - not punish them.

Anonymous said...

I don't know where else to post this, but DCSS's deal with America's Choice, a for-profit company, needs considerable scrutiny. There appears to be an incestuous relationship between the two. And now I see that Lewis is addressing the America's Choice symposium in DC (see the press release on the DCSS site.) How much is he getting paid for this? Is he setting himself up for a cushy corporate position with America's Choice (just like other former Dekalb employees at America's Choice whose DCSS seats are still warm) whenever his eagerly awaited departure from DCSS happens? This is beginning to stink, and that doesn't even get to the incompetent, CYA, under-planned rollout of the America's Choice curriculum. Ask anyone in any of the schools where this is being coercively imposed. Typical DCSS operating procedure (if you can call it a procedure.) All of this is so frustrating when educating the students of DCSS is, and should be, a priority and the corruption endemic in the system inhibits the ability of the teachers on the front line to do just that.

fedupindcss said...

It's funny, but one of the big complaints against DCSS transportation was that they had this convoluted in-house transportation system, when they should go out an buy any of the many computerized programs to make it more efficient. Makes you wonder what they would come up with if they did that.

Anonymous said...

The answer for the Title One is not another expensive prepackaged program (America's Choice)that restricts teachers' creativity and overwhelms them with documentation. If the neighborhood/community doesn't step up to the plate and do its part, NOTHING will ever change.
With regards to eSIS, it should have been piloted so that the problems would have been solved beforehand. DCSS is for the most part reactive instead of proactive. That does not make for success on a large scale. What it does is stress teachers and administrators who already have a full load to carry. Which begs the question: Where is the money coming from for these new programs when at the same time class size goes up and money is being taken away from the TRSA?

Cerebration said...

Yes, this is very interesting about the America's Choice relationship.

First, it's reported that Dr. Deborah Rives, a Project Coordinator for America’s Choice is a former administrator with DCSS, (she was an area superintendent).

Now, Dr Lewis will be a keynote speaker side by side with Arne Duncan - the guy with the plans to shutter 5000 US schools and reopen them as independent charters. Maybe these two will have a private discussion about that idea!

Anonymous said...

I am a retired teacher but not to long ago taught at a middle school that was using America Choice for reading and math. It was a total waste of time and money.The students were ill prepared, the teachers had no control. evertthing was directed by the material. the teacher had to read a statement and then get a anser from the student. It didn't take long for teacher to revolt. They saw very quick that America Choice was a waste of Dekalb dollars. It was removed within two years even though the people who be at the county office was forcing it down the teacher throats and forcing them to use a program that wasn't design for the students they were teaching

Anonymous said...

Back to eSis . . . one of our APs has worked straight through two weekends, staying until late at night up to six days a week, trying to fix schedules and balance classes. The system isn't functional, and the deadline for the warm body count is hitting soon. It looks like we need more teachers based on student enrollment, but the eSIS system doesn't provide a quantifiable profile of classes. There are students in the building still with gaps in their schedules . . .

Anonymous said...

There are students at Tucker High, who do not have schedules that have classes that 1. have teachers, 2. are classes already taken and passed, and 3. are in classes that can't be taken, because they don't have prerecs. Don't know about other schools, but having two weeks of school without the proper classes and block schedules is like missing a month of classes. Very sad, as no end seems to be insight.

Anonymous said...

Balancing the schedule in some schools has been made difficult by two factors: One was not piloting Esis to work the kinks out nor providing the appropriate in-service to teachers. I believe it will be a versatile program and a vast improvement over Smartweb, but come on--what's with training by trial and error whene there's not time for either one?

The other factor was the inept rollout of America's Choice. The contradictory scheduling and placement of students has hand-tied admin in scheduling. This just exacerbates the Esis problems.

Premier Dekalb: No Foresight. No Accountability.

Anonymous said...

No one knows what is going on and what we learn is piece meal. The phone number that is our help line, isn't answered. The whole Esis adoption is another DeKalb joke. It may be a terrific program, but the problem is that not enough training was given to anyone. Wait that could also be said for the Elementary Math adoption 2 years ago now. And probably many other adoptions in the history of good old Premier DeKalb.

Anonymous said...

Every time Dekalb purchases one of these programs, be it America's Choice, eSIS, SRA or whatever, our little school joke is....."Wonder who at the county office driving the new Cadillac or buying a new house?" No doubt kickbacks are a part of these deals. That cookie jar is ver-r-y tempting.

Anonymous said...

We're two weeks in school and I'm still having students pulled in and out of my classes. Students are being marked absent when they are probably sitting in other classes. Some teachers are sitting with 35 and more in their classes, all administrators want to do is to get them in a room somewhere. Why doesn't someone do something about the way Dekalb is run. Teachers hands are tied.

Anonymous said...

I was one of the teachers that received training this summer and it was obvious even then that the new system had not been fully thought out. Mid-July and there were numerous questions asked in the sessions that had no answers.

At least then, the system was operable. Now, even if you do manage to get into the system and attempt to complete attendance or add assignments to the grade book, they may or may not be there when you click save. The system continues to freeze even after they've apparently switched from Firefox back to Internet Explorer.

I've always kept an old-fashioned record book for attendance and grades. My advice to everyone is to do the same this year. Target has some that are $1.

quill said...

The DCSS rollout of eSIS is much like the government's plan for health care reform.....Everyone wanted something better than the old system, but the new plan-eSIS- is not cost effective, causes too many delays, doesn't work the way it's supposed to, comes with promises too good to be true, no-one really owns up to the obvious flaws, and the children suffer because of it all........"My mom wants to know my grade in your class, Mr. Teacher?"......."Oh, I don't know what it is child. The new system says you're not really in my class and I can't put grades in anyway. Just keep up the good work and ask your parents to be patient.

....Our school even has AP's who haven't been trained on eSIS ? Whose bright idea was all of this anyway?

No Duh said...

"Target has some that are $1."

I saw those in the $1 bin a Target before school started and I almost bought a few for my son's teachers -- as a joke!!

God help us all!

One Fed Up Insider said...

Let's see... 3 weeks into the school year. Still can't post attendance correctly... And 4.5 grades are going to be printed soon. Too bad I have not been trained on how to post grades. Can you imagine if it takes me e to 4 hours just to post attendance how long it is going to be to post grades.. No one has said anything about that one yet.

Oh... forgot to add that my computer is so old that it will not run eSIS. But I was told that if I go out and purchase more memory for my computer that hopefully eSIS would work.

See what everyone is failing to understand. Teachers can't use eSIS at home we have to do it at school. First they tell us to use Firefox.. DCSS computers do not have Firefox on them. CTSS are then told to take Firefox away.

The right hand does not know what the left is doing.

Anonymous said...

The Board of Ed needs to get involved and hold crawford lewis and the head of the school system's IT Dept. accountable for this diaster.

If the BOE does not let lewis and the head of IT that this is unacceptable if they want to stay employed, then this type of fiasco will occur again and again and again.

This is a huge mess, but Lewis and the BOE are in denial about it.

Anonymous said...

eSIS is a total disaster and DCSS is flat out lying to the public by saying otherwise. The hotline is not answered, APs spend their days at the Bryant Center for help. After hours of work nothing is saved and all efforts lost. High schools have no firm enrollment numbers as they still have pockets of students with holes in their schedules. Class role is a fluid number that changes depending on the attendance page you are looking at. The page the teachers use may say they have 15 students in their class and their are looking at closer to 45-50 sitting in front of them. Not enough textbooks, desks or floor space for that matter to park a bottom on. What's going to happen when seniors applying to college need transcripts? No grades in the system sorry, that won't work. You think every teacher will input grades correctly when they can finally be done electronically?Someone needs to lose their job over this debacle.

Anonymous said...

Well, it appears the "constructive" part of the conversation ceased to exist a long time ago.

Cerebration said...

True - but venting has its rewards... we're hoping to help lower some blood pressures here too!

Anonymous said...

Speaking honestly about problems that exist is "constructive". It's when we don't tell the emperor that he's naked that these fiascos occur. Discovering this blog has helped me see that other people feel the same about certain issues as I do. That is very "constructive".

Anonymous said...

Name calling is never constructive.

Ella Smith said...

It is nice that people have differences of opinion. It is great to disagree. But, you should never take it personally.

We have to be able to disagree.

I hear the system is not functional. Now there are going to be programs with any system before it becomes totally functional in a system but it would appear that the school system was not ready to implement the new system at this time, the system is a horrible system or the system did not prepare the employees to work with the system with the right type of training. I know that the training for all the employees was lacking.

Anonymous said...

Everyone, Crawford doesn't give a damn what we think about eSIS. He doesn't give a damn that the IT/Bradley Bryant staff is incompetent.

Crawford knows he has a BOE that rarely asks questions and never holds him accountable. Crawford will tell the BOE that anyone complaining about eSIS is a troublemaker, and that everything is hunky dory.

We have an "out to lunch" BOE. They'll never comprehend what a mess eSIS is, and how much it has negatively affected students, parents, teachers and staff.

Cerebration said...

That actually brings back what bothers me - the fact that teachers are being written up for not getting their info uploaded. As far as I can tell - it's not their fault and they shouldn't be blamed or punished.

Anonymous said...

I think I missed the "name calling". That's exactly my point-people aren't permitted to state what's going on for fear of offending someone. We really have to get over that.

fedupindcss said...

Our board won't hold anyone accountable because there are too many of them. We need a smaller board, like Gwinnett, that is more nimble and better able to respond in a crisis.

And someone just needs to suck it up and admit eSIS is a goner and needs to be removed, pronto. If they need to call off school for a day to do it over a long weekend, go for it. The point about how this impacts block scheduled students, who lose basically a month for each week they are out of a class, is well taken. How about it, Sarah C-W? All of your constituents are on the block.

quill said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
quill said...

Ok, let's be realistic. DCSS is not going to pull the plug on eSIS. Whatever the cost may have been to adopt, purchase, and implement the system, DCSS is not going to throw that money away by tossing eSIS.

I suppose the next few months will be fraught with band-aid approaches to "fix" the system -- much the same way smartweb issues were treated over the years. We'll just be patient, trying to deal with the more serious problem of teaching kids who are often underprepared and undisciplined.
When it's all said and done, no school in DCSS will be able to fault eSIS for not making AYP.

Sadly, our eSIS problems will not ever go away - just become less of an issue as time moves on. Call me desensitized, but I am becoming used to a school system that seems to excel in bad planning and execution while holding teachers more accountable to the failures of those in leadership positions.......

One day eSIS will work very well. I look forward to that day.

Anonymous said...

At our school, the API did class lists by hand [using excel] and updated them daily. The teachers have been taking attendance on paper while the "glitches" are being worked out with eSIS and TA. One of my colleagues created an excel spreadsheet with the new grading weights and shared it with the entire school. Our classes are balanced and students are sitting in the right classes, but it has taken hours over and above in order to do so. APIs are receiving help with eSIS and open labs. The "glitches" are causing lots of extra hours...deadline ...fast approaching. Yes, eSIS is here to stay...once "glitches" are worked out...will be much better than three separate systems.

Ella Smith said...

It does take time to work out the problems in a new system.

I am bothered that teachers are being made responsible for a system that has problems and a school system that did provide inadequate training.

I have talked to enough administrators in the schools to know the training was not sufficient. So lets blame the teachers for the problems. Of course, it could not be anyone at the county level.

Cerebration said...

Great workarounds, Anon! Thanks for sharing -- and thanks to so many who have put in sooooo much extra time to make it all happen for the kids!

Anonymous said...

Google
"Jefferson case shows meltdown of
Orleans parish school board".
The article's about a corruption trial in New Orleans, and describes how breathtakingly corrupt the New Orleans school system was prior to Katrina.
Read the whole article: much of it sounds familiar: computer contracts, requirements for school uniforms (only in New Orleans, the school board member owned the company that sold the uniforms).
It's a long article, but I think we're long past due on giving some of our leadership the benefit of the doubt, when so many of their decisions make no sense,
worsen the situation, and seemingly
benefit no one.
Maybe someone's getting benefitted by running the Dekalb Schools into the ground.
A challenge to persons reading this site: back away from the fact that so much is going wrong. View what's going wrong through the following viewpoint: if I wasn't bothered by little things like public opinion and improved outcomes, how might I make a quick buck out of the situation? Or, how might I make a quick buck for others out of the situation that would throw some of those quick bucks back at me?

No Duh said...

Director of MIS for DCSSS is Tony Hunter. tony_hunter@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us

On your mark, get set....

GOOGLE!

Cerebration said...

This is the most recent communication (PR) coming from MIS --

New Technology Updates for New School Year
Much of DeKalb County School System’s planning over the summer months was for enhanced
teaching and learning, and within these enhancements are technology upgrades. Students and
teachers can expect to see more interactive white boards across the district along with new
workstations, printers and more.
DeKalb’s Management Information Systems (MIS) department worked over the summer to
provide resources to further aid teachers with their instructional approaches as well as resources
that will better help parents communicate with the school district. These improvements include
eSIS, eParent Communications and CIP technology upgrades.


For the complete press release, click
http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/newsroom/press/pdf/2009-08-05.2009-08-14.New_Technology_Updates_for_New_School_Year.pdf

momofthree said...

Unfortunately, the implementation of this system demonstrates so much of what frequently goes wrong in systems development. What is mysterious is that the software was purchased in 2008 after a year of research and consideration (https://eboard.eboardsolutions.com/meetings/Attachment.aspx?S=4054&AID=145315). In January 2008, the vendor – AAL solutions – states in their press release - “Confirming our dedication and proven success, AAL is ready with a team of implementation experts for this project. Our DeKalb implementation team consists of a Project Manager, Application Specialist, Trainer, Documentation and Customer Support staff. AAL is prepared and eager to support DeKalb’s proposed seven-phase implementation process that includes preparation, discovery, design, building, qualifying, deploying, transforming and ultimately the launch phase.” (http://www.aalsolutions.com/Notices/DeKalb_County_School_District-Jan_2008.pdf). What happened in each of the phases over the last year and a half?

According to a MIS status report dated July 31, 2009, the testing and training was complete, yet there were no outstanding issues. (http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/mis/projects/sis-solution/files/0F2F003790324C0CA579226149D4421E.pdf) Too often, testing and training are short changed because the analysis work and user requirements gathering was short cut up front and it is a game of test and fix up to the last minute. And when the published implementation date arrives, those outstanding problems are put into a phase 2 plan with the mentality that the user can just work around it procedurally (as soon as those procedures are worked out). I am sorry to say I have seen the pattern in many industries and given the management level of DCSS and the BOE, I am not surprised that they followed the beaten trail to a half baked implementation.

It is interesting that in the status dated July 31, the next steps cited are:
• Finalize interface development and client acceptance testing.
• Finalize analysis and development of reports.
• Resident Experts Re-deliver TA training to teachers.
• Execute SWAT team process (additional support during first week of eSIS go-live).

It seems that these were some pretty big issues to leave for the last 5 days before registration.

Dunwoody Mom said...

....."Wonder who at the county office driving the new Cadillac or buying a new house?" No doubt kickbacks are a part of these deals. That cookie jar is ver-r-y tempting.

Just a reminder for those that want to make comments such as these and believe you are protected because you use "anonymous". Last week, Google provided a blogger name to an individual who was suing a blogger for defamation. There is no such thing as "anonymous". Just beware when you are posting.

Anonymous said...

When the AAL contract was signed, DCSS posted this on its Management Information Systems, Student Information webpage. It is still posted. Clearly they did not make the district wide January 2009 target. Given the fact DCSS got so terribly off schedule, it seems as if DCSS should have sought more assistance from the vendor, even if they had to pay extra. Rolling this out when the majority of staff were not available to receive training was foolish IMO.

"The MIS department will replace the current Student Information System with a more robust, web-based application called eSIS by aal Solutions. This software solution was approved by the Board of Education on January 14, 2008. Implementation of this project will occur through the 2008 calendar year with district-wide go-live targeted for January, 2009."

Cerebration said...

Love this quote - guess we should all be calling Brian Currie!

“DeKalb’s choice is a further validation of our claims that eSIS® enables district administrators to focus their resources on better serving the needs of teachers, parents and students in their districts, and leave the data management to us,” says Brian Currie, President, and CEO of aal.

Cerebration said...

In the report dated July 31, there is a green circle in the box labeled 2. All training planned for prior to August 3rd has been delivered and is completed. - meaning it's been completed.

Additionally the report, compiled by Myra Burden
Project Manager, MIS says:

III. Accomplishments

�� Over 1040 employees consisting of Principals, Assistant Principals, HS Counselors, Registrars, Secretaries and Data Clerks have been trained and supplied with documentation and reference materials customized for DeKalb.
�� Approximately 280 Teacher Resident Experts have been trained to re-deliver the new Teacher Assistant (TA) gradebook application.
�� eSIS Survival classes have been scheduled.
�� Reports are being cross-walked and re-written from the legacy system.
�� A new database structure has been put into place to support the new application.
�� Over 12 years of legacy data has been converted and quality assurance tested - along with the development and testing of major interfaces such as SchoolNet, State Reporting, Crosspointe, TieNet, Trapeze, and the Textbooks applications.

VI. Next Steps

• Finalize interface development and client acceptance testing.
• Finalize analysis and development of reports.
• Resident Experts Re-deliver TA training to teachers.
• Execute SWAT team process (additional support during first week of eSIS go-live).


So, apparently there were 280 teacher experts trained who were supposed to train the teachers (?) Did that happen? I don't know how it could have - considering that teachers don't work from early June to early August.... Also, there was supposed to be a SWAT team available for support during week 1. Did that happen?

Cerebration said...

The company is out of Canada and they seem to have very highly qualified staff. I don't know what the problem is - except perhaps our hardware just can't handle the technology???

Anonymous said...

I know at one school the teachers didn't have usernames and passwords until the second week of school. I have heard great things about the system itself from educators who have used it in other districts.

Cerebration said...

No user names or passwords... now that could be part of the problem!

Anonymous said...

The esis system keeps freezing. It's almost as if we don't have enough computing power at the district level for so many of us to be on the system at one time.

We received more training on esis today. Even the person at my school, someone who is computer savy, doesn't have all the answers. Basically the AP and school expert are learning as they go and giving us info as they learn it. I hope that things get worked out for the 4.5 grade report.

fedupindcss said...

One issue with computers in DCSS is that they never remove any apps once they are on a computer. So folks who have computers that are pretty old have a ton of software downloaded on them, clogging them up and interfering with new programs. There is no regularly scheduled maintenance at the school level on all those machines.

Therefore, you bring in a new system that may not like something that is already on there, and voila!

Anonymous said...

Slowly getting to grades. I am just wondering does anyone elses eSIS show just the total number of points earned and no average? No one in the county can tell me how to see the average. I was told to take a calculator and figure it out myself. Hope the parents do not have to do what we have to do.

Anonymous said...

Just looked at my kid's high school schedule. On eSIS, it shows both semesters, which should be the exact same classes in our case. Well, only five are the same. One is missing entirely, and the other is in a different spot (when I know there is not a section of this class) with teacher listed as "unknown."

Not going to touch this one for at least a month or two. Give the poor counselors time to get past the immediate garbage.

Dunwoody Mom said...

We were told to ignore the second semester information on the schedules.

Anonymous said...

esis wouldn't even open today and we've been told not to put any grades in it. the 4.5 grades are right around the corner and all of my grades are on slips of paper.

This system seems to be more problematic than it's worth.

Anonymous said...

We have been in school for 16 days now. I have asked questions everyday. I have also been in eSIS training for 7 planning hours. Wouldn't be so bad but I only get 1 hour per day.

Who is really losing here are the students. I can not get enough of the prep done because any little break I get I am doing eSIS. Which still does not work.

I finally told my API when they stated that they had not been trained on any of the questions I asked I was not going to post grades until my questions are answered.

What set of weeks am I suppose to post to.. The 4.5, 9, 13.5, 18, 22.5, .... No one can give me the right answer. Is there someone out there that can do it.

My parent was in charge of purchasing Banner (eSIS) for the state of NC college system. It took them 5 years to get every college trained and running. 16 colleges in 5 years... Why is DCSS trying to do all 154 schools in 1 month?

Someone needs to be held accountable and I am tired of us teachers getting blamed by central office.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Why don't you buy a grade book? They're pretty cheap at Target.

Anonymous said...

In the agenda items for the 8/4/08 work session and 8/11/08 board meeting, the following is stated:

Elementary schools will go live with this new application during the first semester of the 2008-2009school year and the secondary schools will go live with the application during the second semester of the 2008-2009 school year.

Something clearly went wrong because at the meetings for March '09, the county decided to spend more than $72,000 for a six-month extension of the old system. I can't find any explanation about what exactly went wrong.

Surely, it would have been a lot easier on everyone to roll out the system gradually.

One Fed Up Insider said...

Dunwoody Mom... I totally get what anon is saying. We can buy all the paper grade books in the world but it does not matter because we have to get the information from the paper to the web.

Anonymous said...

My parent was in charge of purchasing Banner (eSIS) for the state of NC college system. It took them 5 years to get every college trained and running. 16 colleges in 5 years... Why is DCSS trying to do all 154 schools in 1 month?


Then there's math: NC is rolling out the same math curriculum GA is using but they are going slowly, and on a test basis, and GA has to go "whole hog" everyone at once -- no piloting of that either.

What is it with us here?

Anonymous said...

What is wrong?

Insufficient professionalism and business experience in the top levels of administration, over-reliance on poor quality consultants to try to fill the gaps and just plain incompetence.

DCSS needs to stop promoting friends and cronies from within. C. Lewis had an opportunity to "clean house" with the budget crisis and instead he kept lots of old timers and has even promoted many!

Anonymous said...

"Clean House"? Well Yea...at Sam Moss they got rid of managers with 30-35 years of valuable experience, and also new staff that were caring and qualified and actually got things done. A certain MEP manager came to my school and took note of all kinds of problems reported over the years...they were all fixed within days. He was let go in the reduction of force. Yea, clean house.

Anonymous said...

Everyone knows you can't put a band-aid on a gunshot wound.....that's what everyone is doing by trying to repair bad software with bad technology. This ranks right up there with the board allowing lewis and pope to close our beloved printshop with no plan in place for work getting printing jobs done. Now we are paying out the backside to get things printed for the students and staff at companies we know nothing about. Not to mention the letterheads and envelopes needed to sned letters home to our students. Who's going to pay for all this...schools don't have an open ended budget. Lewis and Pope will bankrupt the DCSS in a matter of months if the BOE continues to allow zero accountability. Keep letting Pope and Lewis sell you a bill of goods is what I say to the BOE...you will be unseated next election. BOE should all be ashamed at how they have been scammed by Pope and Lewis.

Anonymous said...

Anon. The consensus is that the software is good and has been used by many school systems and colleges. It was the implementation that is poor. The vendor and consultant's plan was to roll out the new software in four steps over a 9 month time frame. This way the glitches and bugs could have been worked out.

For some undisclosed reason, DCSS fell way behind schedule and instead rolled it out all at once and when most staff were not available for training.

fedupindcss said...

Spoke with a teacher today who said that the county has been slowly sending around IT people to add more memory to old CPUs at schools, but it is taking forever to do this. He is a computer savvy person, and deleted numerous redundant programs from his computer, resulting in eSIS moving much faster. He said that yesterday he would log in, hit a button, and leave to do something, come back, and be able to put in one more piece of information. Now he said he can actually sit in front of the computer and do at least three things before it slows down.

So yes, it is very likely that this was not the software itself, but DCSS and its failure to plan. I think this falls right in the lap of MIS--to not know if all the machines countywide can handle this is terrible.

Also, not having a program that can be used by teachers at home is silly. DCSS spends a fortune giving Blackberrys to all the admin folks to work from everywhere. Why not let teachers do the same?

Anonymous said...

I just found out from my son this morning that P'tree will be giving out new schedules yet again either today or tomorrow....what a shame for the kids.

Anonymous said...

You have to wonder why Lewis promoted Ramona Tyson in the midst of the clearly troublemsome rollout. She had been Director, MIS, in charge of the purchase and rollout of eSIS. She was promoted in May to Deputy Superintendent. No accountability in this administration.

Anonymous said...

...."Wonder who at the county office driving the new Cadillac...

Dun Mom, I don't think the blogger has a defamation lawsuit to worry about in this case. Based on Dekalb County's track record, the odds are in his/her favor.

It makes me ill to think that I may have have to send my kids through the upper grades of DCSS. I hope they will forgive me for making them stupider.

Cerebration said...

Which reminds me - I lost track - did Dr Lewis ever end up paying market value for his 2 yr old $5000 "surplus" car?

Jason said...

Looks like a similar disaster is going on in Maryland. They rolled out "SchoolMax" (not eSIS) for $4.1 million dollars and have just had days of kids sitting in the gym. I saw the headline on slashdot and assumed it was about us! But it's Prince George's County, Maryland.

The article is in the Washington Post. Teachers gave comments on condition of anonymity.

Dekalbparent said...

At least in Maryland, the Superintendent is apologizing and the School Board is irate and asking questions.

Cerebration said...

From the DCSS website - (salaries added by the blogmistress)

Management Information Systems
P: 678-676-1000
F: 678-676-1052

Please visit this website often for up-to-date news and information.

Management Information Systems (MIS) is a customer service oriented team of professionals dedicated to the seamless integration and implementation of technology across the school district. Our philosophy is to expand the walls of the classroom by providing access to information and programs anytime, anywhere for anyone in a 21st century learning environment. Our customers are students, teachers, staff, parents and community. It is our job to convene the unique collaborative partnerships that result in improved student achievement and business operations productivity through the use of technology. MIS works in tandem with other departments, vendors, and service providers to provide high-quality solutions to internal and external customers that are research-based and data-driven.

As we begin to embark on the journey over the next five years (2007-2012) with technology improvements through the Capital Improvements Plan, (SPLOST 3), our mission is to establish and maintain a technology-rich teaching and learning environment where students and staff develop 21st century skills to be successful citizens in a global community.

Departments and Key Contacts:

Tony Hunter ($113,094)
Director, MIS

Joseph Swing ($110,196)
Assistant Director, Technical and Support Services

Joyce Miller ($108,846)
Assistant Director, Telecommunications

Dr. Mindy DiSalvo ($110,196)
Assistant Director, Grants and Community Programs

Dr. Regina Merriwether ($113,094)
Assistant Director, Instructional Technology

Natalie Terrell ($87,156)
Assistant Director, Project Management

Anonymous said...

Seems to me a great waste of money for the quality of job that they do. I think that the citizens of DeKalb should expect better quality service for the amount of money that they make. I'm wondering how much the math people make, as they have screwed things up just as much as the tech people, in my humble opinion, as the elementary math program is a mess.

Lefty said...

Anon 4:53 - elementary math wouldn't be such a mess if the teachers were trained properly. But DCSS rarely provides proper training, no matter what the program.

Anonymous said...

Training is very much needed, but also DeKalb needs to follow the program as Expressions has it written and not decide that teachers teach a lesson here skip some lessons and then teach another part of a lesson. Expressions is a super program when used the way that it was written and researched. Expressions builds upon itself and shouldn't be messed with. Having taught Expressions in another state and having friends who have taught Expressions for over 5 years, they can't believe how the DCSS wants Expressions taught.

Anonymous said...

If you think elementary math is a mess wait until your kids reach high school. Gone are the algebra, geometry, trig, calculus classes and welcome to Math I, II, III & IV. High school teachers haven't been properly trained to teach any of it. The county sends one math teacher in the building for a 1/2 a day of training who is then expected to come back to the school and teacher other teachers. It is a complete disaster. This is our children's futures on the line. How are these kids going to do on the SAT & ACT? What ever happened the EOCTs from last years 9th graders? Results were never published so I have to assume the results weren't good. DCSS has totally dropped the ball on the implementation the math curriculum in the high school.

Cerebration said...

Kathy "Smarter than a Fifth Grader" Cox had this to say in today's AJC on the subject of Georgia's low test scores -

Georgia is a very diverse state, and the achievement gap impacts our overall student achievement numbers more than it does most other states."

Wow. Think about what she's really saying there!

My lord.

Anonymous said...

Guess when some of us (teachers) are getting trained on how to put in grades and post them... Wednesday... Grades are due Thursday by noon.. When do they think we are going to be able to put in grades? We do have families and school aged children who need our help. But we are going to have to pay for DCSS mistakes... Why is the school board not doing anything about this????

Anonymous said...

This discussions seems to have ended a week ago, but I wanted to put in my two cents. I'm a student at LHS. Three teachers have already told us our grades because they don't trust the 4.5 grade reports to come out accurately. Even so, a classmate was told he had a grade of "6645%". Another teacher complained about how slooooow the old computers were. Something is rotten in the DCSS.

Anonymous said...

i cannot understand how teachers want to be trained to teach a subject. if you are a math teacher, how is another person expected to "train" you to teach math? i am baffled at that. i do teach in dekalb county. this is the biggest problem we have, are lazy and incompetent teachers. whatever subject you teach, i assume you do have some expertise in that area, you study the textbook and refresh your own math skills. waiting/complaining for someone to "train" you to teach your subject is absurd.
there are some glitches in the esis. still do have some. but i had to sit down and go through the program. it is better than what we had at the elementary level. that program was not set up properly, there were wrong averaging of grades. glad that's gone, what a nightmare that was. student must be given grades accuratly, not just some numbers thrown into a grading system that shows a simple corresponding letter grade. was a piece a junk for our schools system. our children deserved better. i like the esis, mainly for the grading scaling and averaging program.
dekalbteachatyahoo

Anonymous said...

At Dunwoody High School, students carried a form to each class so teachers could HAND WRITE their 4.5 week average. The system still isn't working.

I know that Dr. Lewis will float through this and the BOE will let it go.

Such incompetence. It's so embarrassing.

Anonymous said...

eSis is still averaging grades incorrectly at random. There are a number of teachers that have brought this up. No response from the MIS department. Schedules are still in flux. Teachers still have received little or no training, we are muddling our way through.

There are even more ineffectual programs that give county office administrators a way to "check on teachers,"but add nothing to the education of the students coming out every week.

Cerebration said...

We have also received emails that there are still several very large classes at Lakeside - some meeting in the cafetorium - and more shocking, we have a report that students at Lakeside do not have science textbooks for Environmental Science class - because they had to send them all to Arabia HS! (Due to the fact that everyone at Arabia is taking ES.) Anyone know if this is true? So far, a student has told us that this is what the teacher told the class.

No Duh said...

The October 8th Parent Advisory Committee meeting (9 a.m. @William Bryant Center) will feature Tony Hunter discussing "Parent Portal" and Jennifer Hiott (DCSS Athletic Department) and Scott Johnson (Coca-Cola Bottling) discussing "understanding the Coca-Cola contract with DCSS and how it makes a dollar impact on your individual schools, booster clubs, and the school system."

Each school has a designated representative on the Parent Advisory Committee, but all parents are encouraged to attend the meetings.

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear that others are having trouble with the averaging of grades. I thought it was me. Anyone know how to get this worked out?

Anonymous said...

Cerebration:

Chamblee HS AP World History classes received AP World History textbooks this past Wednesday, september 23! Students could use a textbook in class but could not take it home and this is a college level course with many hours of reading every week. The DCSS admin dropped the ball.
6.5 weeks with no textbook is inexcusable. Parents asked the admin to make arrangements with the publisher for the students to use the online version but they refused.

Cerebration said...

My sister told me that her child's teacher in Forsyth County posted the entire Environmental Science book online at their parent portal - which I think is the Angel system - the one the tech colleges use.

It's not brain surgery to take advantage of the tools of the 21st Century. Why can our students not access textbooks online?

Dunwoody Mom said...

My child has had her AP World History book since the beginning of the semester. Not sure what the issue could be at Chamblee.

Anonymous said...

Chamblee was short about 20-25 books and said that the county rule is that no child can be issued a textbook unless they all are issued one.

The textbook shortage was the result of poor planning (or bad math on the part of those in the central office who are in charge of ordering and dispensing textbooks). Almost all the AP students had registered for this course last year.

I heard that the publisher charges an access fee for online publications and DCSS would not pay this. I ead somewhere that to save money California was going to online textbooks in all high schools. It is something to think about in the information age.

Kim Gokce said...

Anon said: "I ead somewhere that to save money California was going to online textbooks in all high schools. It is something to think about in the information age."

I make my living with software and internet technology and I don't see how this could be a total solution. I don't know about "Kali-fornia," but I do know that not all families at Cross Keys have home computers much less web access. How could this possibly work to go 100% online with textbooks?

Dunwoody Mom said...

Chamblee was short about 20-25 books and said that the county rule is that no child can be issued a textbook unless they all are issued one.

Yep. I remember a few years ago my child's math class did not have enough books to go around, so most of their homework assignments were pages that the teacher had copied from a workbook that coincided with the math text.

Anonymous said...

I don't work in DeKalb. I teach in Oregon. I just googled "hate eSis" and found this site. (I found an apt entry in Urban Dictionary when I searched for "esis sucks")

This is my 7th year working with eSis and it has been a complete disaster every time. It is the slowest, least efficient, least intuitive, clunkiest program I've ever used. It takes forever even when it's working at its best. It took forever to update computers with enough memory for the program and it's almost impossible to logon during grading days when everyone is using it.

The first year we used it, my district had the foresight to make the gradebook optional. Attendance caused enough problems. Now, my new district requires us to update grades on eSis weekly. Well, we're going to file a grievance over this change in working conditions. I'd be happy to update weekly - in any other program, but not eSIS. One year, they let eSis build the master schedule. An assistant principal ended up leaving the district in shame after that mess.

The administration always thinks this program is great - maybe because they can play Big Brother and spy on our grades. If they had to deal with the hassle, we would have abandoned this program years ago. We have great tech people who work to sort our bugs and it has made it a bit smoother, but the program is a disaster. I'd rather leave the deck chairs a mess and let the Titanic sink.

Get rid of this program!!!

Cerebration said...

Oh boy, that's not good news, Anon. Thanks for sharing your experience with eSis with us though! I don't think there's any way out of this - people have actually already been promoted due to this new software implementation - if you can believe it!

Cerebration said...

The school system has announced eSis Parent Assistant coming October 23rd.

Parent Assistant (PA) is a secure, web-based student access information application for parents, guardians, and students. Access and data is secure in that users can view only that information for which they are authorized. Additionally, with the entire district having one SIS parent portal, parents will be able to see data for every child in any school level.

For details go here
http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/parentassistant/

Cerebration said...

Interesting note that went out from Lakeside:

Information about the new Parent Portal called Parent Assistant or eParent. It will "go live" to parents on October 23rd. Please review the information provided carefully. Everyone will need to re-register to access this new program. You will need to have your student's ID number and GTID (both located on the progress report) to register. Please save your progress report!! If you do not and you don't know your student's numbers, you will have to go to the school and see the registrar to obtain them...save yourself this hassle!

Successful registration may be a lengthy process. DCSS anticipates that once registered, authorization will take 48 hours but please be prepared for a delay due to the anticipated large number of parents attempting to enroll at the same time. If you encounter problems with the system and/or the data within the system, we encourage you to report them to the DCSS MIS Dept. Lakeside staff will not be able to assist you with these issues so please do not call the school for help.

Dunwoody Mom said...

I got that note as well. I wonder how many times the system will crash as parents try to register.

Of course my kids are bummed because now Mom and Dad will be able to track daily progress at school!!!

Anonymous said...

Ok.... Let me get this straight. I was never taught how to input conduct into eSIS so I did not post it... Now I have to go and repost to add the conduct... Only bad thing... eSIS will not let me... What am I to do... Oh yeah.. It's Friday.... Go home and not think about it for the weekend.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like the last Anon is a teacher. It sounds like that person is at wits end. I believe that eSIS has been a dumping ground for them and they have had to do so much and not getting any help. The only problem is we are going to see what they are seeing next Friday. I can't wait.

I hope we are parents have our emails already for our board members next Friday when this system fails and we can't figure anything out.

From what I have been told. The parents who are testing the program for us, have had so many questions and have found so many problems. Bad thing is DCSS is not fixing those problems they are just hell bent on going live 10.23.09.

Anonymous said...

There's a way to enter conduct? That's news to me.

Yes, teachers are at their wits end. The system was completely down this morning, we weren't able to enter attendance at all at my school.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe that teachers haven't been given a guide to follow, so that we can learn the system. Esis was down this morning and will be down again tonight. I find myself doing so much at home, as the system is slow or down when I have time at school because everyone else is trying to get on.

When Esis goes live next Friday, I am sure that the system will be even slower with many parents and staff trying to get on.

Teachers don't even know how to effectively use the program and DCSS is going to allow parents to get on. We're opening a huge can of worms. I can't say that I am surprised.

I don't know how to make comments or print reports or even know what kind of reports are available for us to print. I have never seen such an undertaking with such little information for the systems users and such poor planning.

Hopefully parents complaining will get the facts about Esis out. Teachers complaining hasn't done anything.

One Fed Up Insider said...

Amen fellow teachers. We can complain til the cows come home but our complaining falls on deaf ears and we do not know what we are doing. I can't wait for the parents to go through the living nightmare that we have to go through day in and day out. Hopefully getting the parents involved will open some eyes and ears but I serious doubt it. CLew has everyone believe that he does not stink and neither does his staff.

I can't beleive I just spent an evening with a family that does not know how their school board rep is nor the superintendent. I am so sorry to say this but PARENTS YOU HAVE TO EDUCATE YOURSELVES. Once I told them several horror stories I hope that would open their eyes, but sad to say it did not. Their response is I am just going private next year.

COULD SOMEONE PLEASE STAND UP FOR US TEACHERS. We do not have a voice. And I sure as heck am not going to have ODE be that voice. Pay that much money a year for what... NOTHING...

Today, the same as a previous ANON.. I was told that I had to go back and repost because I did not put in my conduct.. I said OK.. SHOW me in writing. They could not do it. I was just being told over and over to go and repost and show the conduct grade. Again, I was told to show it to me in writing where I needed to put down a conduct grade. THEY CAN'T DO IT. Needless to say I got a letter put in my permanate file because I did not do what my superior told me to do. Oh well, I had a class to teach and I am so sorry but my students come first. I have a job to do and eSIS is not it.

They system will not let you go back and do it anyway. WHY ARE TEACHERS GETTING PUNISHED OVER AND OVER FOR SOMETHING THAT LEWIS DID..... Why is he not getting reprimanded by the BOE.... Are they scared of him.

BOE... This is my question to you.... Who do you work for? CLew (which is one vote) or the teachers, paras, bus drivers, manitance workers, SRO's and many others in DCSS. (which are a heck of a lot more votes). Talk to us. Ask us. Since we have been told we can't contact with, or our jobs will be at stake.

I know that there are some mispellings tonight but I am tired of working so hard just to get in so much trouble because of a stupid computer program. I was hired to teach and help educate the students of DCSS and right now I can't do that.

Anonymous said...

I am a parent and I spoke to a parent who is in the pilot program. She has never successfully been able to access ESIS. She has followed the instructions and emailed the IS department but no one has ever responded.

In addition, how in the world does DCSS expect ESIS to ever work when they are going to have many thousands of parents trying to register AT THE SAME TIME! Of course it is going to crash over and over.

DCCS where are you?? You need to phase in the parent access just like you should have phased in the schools. Because high school grades are most important for students getting ready to apply for college, start with high school, then a week later middle and last elementary.

Anonymous said...

And yet, Ron Hunter went from Director of MIS to Executive Director of MIS, with even more pay. And no one from the BOE will question Crawford and Hunter about eSIS issues.

Dunwoody Mom said...

My child had conduct grades on her progress report.

Cerebration said...

DId someone get promoted to "Director" of MIS when Hunter got promoted above to "Executive Director"? Or was the promotion just a way to give the guy a raise? I don't think the position existed before - Lewis created the title so that he could give Hunter a raise - I just don't know if everyone below him shifted upward too --

Cerebration said...

We may have issues with parents trying to register - and certainly, it would have been smart to roll out registration one region at a time - but we may not see the same level of issues with parents as the teachers have had simply because parents are only going to be accessing information - not trying to input anything.

Dekalbparent said...

Well, I registered on Friday and today I was able to get in. There was no time lag - very quick.

Unfortunately, I am only able to get one page of info - the current cumulative average by class along with the test grades. No individual assignment grades like Parent Portal gave.

When I press "detail", nothing comes up. When I press "schedule", nothing comes up. All the buttons at the top don't seem to return anything yet. Perhaps these bugs will shake out.

Dekalbparent said...

Well, I went back in and asked in a different way, and I got some detail - assignment level grades. I agree with the comments of others - it's not very intuitive.

I could only get the detail for three of the teachers, though - maybe the others haven't put any in? I remember hearing that two of her teachers were having BIG trouble getting into eSIS at all, so maybe they still can't post assignment grades...

Dekalbparent said...

The same teachers whose assignment level grades don't show up are the teachers who were not able to generate grades at all for the 4.5 week report.

It LOOKS as if things are gradually working through, but I suspect the teachers are still not loving the system.

Anonymous said...

I registered for Parent Assistant early Friday mornning, and still am not able even to log in. "Login Failed!" I have tried logging in using two different browsers - tried Internet Explorer in case my Firefox was the problem. I am not computer illiterate. Is anyone else having trouble, or is it going smoothly for all of you as it is for Dekalbparent?

Anonymous said...

Esis is suppose to work better on Fire Fox, which is what teachers use to log on. The attendance person at each school must okay each parent's request and make sure that the proper parents are requesting information for the proper children.

Teachers need to click a little box for parents to see individual assignments, my thoughts are that the teachers didn't do that. As parents are supposed to be able to see teacher comments and all individual grades.

Please be patient with the teachers. I am one and we are learning this system and have very little guidance. We learn something and spread it around to each other.

Anonymous said...

Turns out that is exactly the problem with my login: the registrars at my kids' schools just haven't approved the requests yet. The materials say to allow 2 school days (which have come and gone) but I can't imagine that being realistic. Picture a registrar having to manually approve a thousand students and a thousand parents who all create accounts within the first few days. The Smartweb Parent Portal didn't seem to require so much busywork.

The error message should have been "You are not approved yet" instead of "Login failed!" And the Parent Assistant webpage should tell users that they will receive a confirmation email when the account is approved, and that until then, login will fail. If a user doesn't know a confirmation will be sent, he has no idea when (other than "2 school days") to expect the login to start working.

Bad design. This is my first taste of what the teachers have been experiencing.

Dekalbparent said...

Anon 9:44 - In no way did I intend to disparage teachers!! The comment I made about the two classes that had no detail was meant to be sympathetic.

These two teachers were unable to log in to eSIS up to and including the posting day for the 4 1/2 week report. I suspect they just picked up at the point where they were able to log in and posted the averages they had been tracking by hand. I have no problem with that.

I have no idea when they finally got in! They have been going WAY beyond the job requirements (as have all the teachers as far as I can see) to deal with this system.

Anonymous said...

Ok. It seems that some of you are getting on.. I signed up as soon as I say the live button Thursday night at midnight. Well we are at the end of the third day and I still can not get on.

Do you out there have any idea on what to do?

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:12, I found no offense in your remarks to teachers not having assignments show. I simply wanted to let people know how much of a pain the system is for teachers. We aren't even sure if what we are doing is correct, as we have no instruction manual and get information piece meal.

Parents, if you can't log on, your registrar hasn't gotten to you yet. Imagine the job that they have. They have to make sure that you are who you say you are, because if they allow a parent access to a different child's private information heads would roll. The registrars have to be careful, plus they have their regular job and responsibilities to do.

I agree with comments about error messages. Esis is very poor at communicating. Teachers aren't reminded to save material before changing screens. Often we do work and if we forget to save it is lost and we need to start all over again. This system is not user friendly for anyone.

As a teacher, I am not even sure what you as a parent see. We've been told what you see, but I haven't seen examples. I couldn't help a parent if they asked me questions about the program and that is frustrating.

Dekalbparent said...

Anon 4:38

What I see on the "current status" page is the subjects the student is taking, major test grades (if any) and the student's current average.

When I switch over to the class-level detail, I see the assignment grades that have been entered (similar to SmartWeb, but not as easy to make sense of - SmartWeb looked like a gradebook, eSYS not so much). For two of my kid's classes, there is no detail level, so those are the classes where I assume the teacher still doesn't have full access.

Anonymous said...

If and when you see Ron Hunter, Executive Director of DCSS MIS, let him know what a hassle eSIS has been for parents and teachers. Teachers have lost hours and hours of their time trying to deal with this incredibly poor rollout process.

But Ron got a promotion from Crawford, so at least he's getting a fatter check.

Anon@10:03 said...

Have you received a confirmation email?

This is Anon @ 10:03 am, Oct 27. I know more than I did then. Turns out the problem is not the registrars' workload. My ISP seems to be blocking all emails generated from the ePortal@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us system. That means no confirmation emails, no password retrieval emails, etc. These emails do not even make it to my spam folder.

The ePortal support staff was very helpful. It was a pleasure dealing with them. Right now I'm attempting to straighten things out with my ISP, which is a much more frustrating experience.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Actually, it's Tony Hunter.

My confirmation email went to my spam folder.

Anon@10:03 said...

Mine didn't even show up in the spam folder on my webmail. They are apparently blocked before they even get there.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Ouch - makes you wonder what other emails you've never received.

Anonymous said...

Another fun wrinkle in eSIS. My husband and I registered for our two students. He was approved right away for both. I was approved for one, but "unauthorized" for the second (two different schools). The reason? According to the help desk and the registrar, it was because the system didn't accept two parents living at the same address. The old system recorded us as Mr. and Mrs. but viewed two separate log ins as duplicative. Really?

Momfirst said...

I registered Wednesday or Thursday last week and got right in when it went live...I know the teachers have had a h*ll of a time but to me it's the same old, same old. I see grades in there from August and September but nothing current. If the teachers don't use it (just like the old system), it's NO help. By the time my sons teacher posted grades last spring my son had gone from an A to a F - a month between postings...If they are going to use these systems they have to stay current or they are of NO value to this mom.

Anonymous said...

I was one of the parent testers and had the problem that my emails were getting caught in the DSCC spam filters before reaching them. You can check the status of your student authorizations by logging into ePortal (http://eportal.dekalb.k12.ga.us/PASS/default.aspx)and selecting "Edit Profile". At the bottom of your profile page should be the list of students you have submitted and the status should be Pending or Authorized. If they show as Authorized, you are good to go and can log in to eSIS (https://esispa02.dekalb.k12.ga.us:8443/paprod/). If the status is other than Pending or Authorized, it says to check with the registrar. One problem has to do with reconciling the parent name. If for some reason the name your have set up your ePortal account does not match the name on the eSIS demographic file, the registar must research with the paper file and do something (update or override - I am not sure). If for example the parent name on your child's file was Mr and Mrs. John Smith, then the parent/guardian name would have converted as John Smith. Now, if your account is Mary Smith, the staff must confirm that you are authorized to see the student data. Each school has one or two people trained to do these authorizations (along with their other duties. Unfortunately, it is an involved process.

If you continue to have problems, there is a special problem contact form to use which you get to by pressing the yellow button labeled "Parent and Student Support" on the bottom of the ePortal Parent and Student Access Page. The direct link address to the form is http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/parentassistant/support.php.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Momfirst, I had the same issue with one of my daughter's teachers last year. It would be weeks before she would post anything. Then everything would get posted in one day.

Anon@10:03 said...

The parent tester gave a workaround for not receiving confirmation emails, but here is one additional caution: you must never lose your password if your ISP blocks ePortal emails. If you try to get it re-sent to you, you will not be able to receive it.

Anybody know how you change your email address in your ePortal account? I recall seeing a form which allows you change other contact information, but not the email address. (Site is down right now so I can't get in to double-check.)

Anonymous said...

I know during the test phase feedback was given that email was not one of the pieces of data that could be updated on the profile page. My email had to be updated by DCSS staff.

Anonymous said...

What emails are people referring to? Are they for teachers? I haven't been told about any emails from esis. I haven't gotten feed back from the system in my school email.

Dekalbparent said...

Another peculiar thing - I registered on Thursday, stayed "Login Failed" the next day, and then the next time I logged in (Sunday) I got right in. But I never got an email...

Anonymous said...

I had no problem getting approved and logging in. However, both my husband and I have tried and tried and cannot get the "detail" page to show all the grades. Only grades from August and September are showing. The teachers have entered more grades and in fact my son's cumulative grade point average changed from this morning until this evening but only grades through 9/23 can be viewed.

I could not find a button to scroll up and down on the "detail" page. Has anyone figured this out?

Cerebration said...

Helpful info from Lakeside PTSA -

Parent Assistant Update

On Tuesday morning, our registrar, Mr. Banderas, had a whopping 500 requests in his Inbox from families who registered for the new Parent Assistant program and needed authorization!! He is working at a "break neck" speed to authorize all the requests as quickly as possible and is doing an awesome job! He will continue to process them and hopefully, if you are not already authorized, you will be shortly! Thank you for your incredible patience with this process this week!! You have done an awesome job too!

Your students can also sign up for their own account now. Encourage them to sign up and take responsibility for tracking their own performance and attendance!

We have learned a few tips we would like to pass along related to the Parent Assistant program.
The back arrow does not work. You have to click on the links to return to the Home page, etc.

If you would like to print out your student's grades, you can use "control p" to print out reports. There is no "print" button at this time.

If you are looking at assignments, grades, etc. and want to return to the Home page, log out and then click on the X in the upper right corner to close the page and return to the Home page (if you originally logged in through ePortal.dekalb.k12.ga.us). If you logged in directly to esisPA.dekalb.k12.ga.us, you will have to log out and go to the ePortal website.
If you have registered and want to find out if you have been authorized, go to ePortal.dekalb.k12.ga.us, and click the "Parent and Student Access" link. Open the log in link in the top right hand corner. Log in. Open the link on the left side of the screen that says Edit Profile. Scroll to the bottom of the page. You will see your student's name with "pending" or "authorized". If authorized, click on Parent and Student Access again, scroll to the bottom right side of the screen and open the link that says eSIS Parent Assistant. Log In. This will take you to pages to view grades, attendance, emergency contact information, demographic information, etc.

Please remember when talking with a teacher that unless a teacher is also a parent, they have not seen and are not familiar with how the parent and student pages appear.

If you have questions, concerns, or comments about the site, return to the Home page and use the "Contact Us" link at the bottom of the page.

Thank you again for your patience as Lakeside works to launch this new system!

Anonymous said...

"If you would like to print out your student's grades, you can use "control p" to print out reports. There is no "print" button at this time.

If you are looking at assignments, grades, etc. and want to return to the Home page, log out and then click on the X in the upper right corner to close the page and return to the Home page (if you originally logged in through ePortal.dekalb.k12.ga.us). If you logged in directly to esisPA.dekalb.k12.ga.us, you will have to log out and go to the ePortal website."

It is unbelievable that Tony Hunter and Crawford lewis didn't have some test schools for eSIS for a year before rolling it out to the entire system of almost 100,000 students.

Are you freaking kidding me that there is no print button? You have to log in and log out all the time?

What an embarassment Tony Hunter! How in the heck are you now the MIS "Executive Director" making well over $100k per year? You should be lucky to be a coordinator. The eSIS rollout is a hot steaming mess, and you Tony, have to shoulder the blame.

Anonymous said...

After my student is authorized and I sign in and I click on the link that says eSIS Parent Assist. The link is http://esispa.dekalb.k12.ga.us/
When you click this link, it fails.
Is that the correct website?

Momfirst said...

https://esispa02.dekalb.k12.ga.us:8443/paprod/starter.jsp?logOff=yes
is the link that worked for me...

Anonymous said...

Didn't the software company that makes eSIS hire a couple of DCSS administrators right before it got the contract? Shady, shady, shady.

Anonymous said...

No. It was not eSIS it was "America's Choice" Still shady if you ask me.

Cerebration said...

There were BIG promises made about the new technology, as discussed in our conversation about Dr Lewis' presentation to DCPC on September 2.

Dr Lewis at DCPC


In fact, here is another comment from that thread about a technology for promise to parents (the DPCP main audience) made by Dr. Lewis -

One really exciting thing that Dr Lewis introduced is the soon to be unveiled eCommunity online. This is going to be a website dedicated for parents. It will be available as a link from the main DCSS webpage. He said there is nothing else like it in the country! This is a place for parents to sign up for meetings, get questions answered, and find information and support. The system will launch at the end of the month.

Gee - what happened to that?

Cerebration said...

Hmm - perhaps DCSS should have consulted these two teachers at Vanderlyn when working on eSis -

From the current DCSS home page --

Vanderlyn ES is Green and Paperless

When DeKalb County School System made its official move to go green in 2008, there were a few schools that had already gotten a head start—and Vanderlyn Elementary was a front runner. For years the school has maintained its commitment to eco-conscious living, with one particular practice, “paperless classrooms” standing out amongst the others.

After conducting a brainstorm with students to come up with classroom strategies that could help the environment, Vanderlyn teachers Kristen Drake and Nancy Lorenz, who co-teach a third grade class, decided to create a worksheet-less classroom. Beginning with the 2008-2009 academic year, teachers made all homework assignments available to students online for the entire school year—a move that saved approximately 12,000 paper copies.

In launching and re-launching paperless classrooms each year, Ms. Drake spends her summers creating 500 assignments for students. She uses a website she established as a landing site for social studies, language arts, math and science work for the students. There, she also posts homework schedules, calendars and reading lists for both parents and students to view.

Ms. Drake and Ms. Lorenz utilize Quia.com to facilitate testing assessments and Compass Learning Odyssey and Storyline.net that offer students 10 to 15-minute activities in which they are able receive immediate feedback on their performance. Compass Learning Odyssey.com is where students can find their homework assignments color-coded by grade-level and accessible with a username and password.


Visit the home page for the rest of the story...
http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/

Anonymous said...

DHHS is apparently taking a different approach to "going paperless".

The main copy machine is almost always broken, and the line at the alternate one is discouragingly long (if it isn't broken).

Thus, most of the classes are "paperless"...


LOL

Cerebration said...

Maybe you need to return to the mimeograph! Remember those? Remember the way they smelled?

Ah - the beautiful, blue mimeos...

Anonymous said...

And DCSS paid $4 million to eSIS for this ridiculous software, why?

What a waist of taxpayers money :(

Anonymous said...

Correct, eSIS has charged $4M for a phantom incomplete program and has been charging DCSS consulting $$$ to create the software they sold. Somebody did very well here $$$.

Anonymous said...

We the teachers dislike eSIS with a passion. It's complex, cumbersome and slooooow.
Ron Hunter, please get rid of eSIS. Our job is TEACHING not being eSIS and DCSS's guinea pigs.

No Duh said...

the eCommunity Online is the Ramona Tyson project "unveiled" at ELPC. Yes, cha-ching for another consultant.

It's a gussied-up version of the DCSS website that currently has no capability to involve parents -- has no back and forth communications capabilities, etc. It is billed as having the POTENTIAL to be a blog site for parents, but current Board and Admin rules prohibit actually communicating with citizens (okay, that's an exaggeration, but Tyson herself said the capability to cross communicate needs to be approved by changing Board policy). So, once again, DCSS puts the cart before the horse, pays $$ to launch an "initiative" that is useless as a real value-add tool.

Anonymous said...

I'm a parent and frustrated with this. I can't get any details of my son's grades. Last year I could get any information on my son's progress with a blink of a click.

DCSS needs to fix this. We deserve better than this.

Anonymous said...

The incredibly unimpressive Ramona Tyson is handling big software purchases and now also overseeing Sam Moss and SPLOST construction after the Pat Pope ouster?

Lord help us.

Anonymous said...

This is ridiculous. It's almost the end of the 1st quarter and I still can't get my child's grades.
I don't understand why the teachers are put up with this???

We all need to go to the next board meeting and question the DCSS for this ... eSIS of theirs.

Cerebration said...

The real way to get your point across to board reps is to either call or email them. Below is the list of emails - copy and paste them all together and paste them into your TO line in an email - and you'll send to them all. Otherwise, just copy the one you want. Phone numbers follow.

THOMAS_BOWEN@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us,SARAH_COPELIN-WOOD@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us,JAY_CUNNINGHAM@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us,don_mcchesney@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us,PAM_SPEAKS@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us,JIM_REDOVIAN@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us,ZEPORA_W_ROBERTS@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us,EUGENE_P_WALKER@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us,h_paul_womack@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us

Thomas E. Bowen
thomas_bowen@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us
591 Gateway Point
Stone Mountain, GA 30086
Home: 404-392-1621
Fax: 770-897-5733
District 6
Term: 2009-2012

Zepora Roberts
zepora_w_roberts@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us
1616 Cobbs Creek Lane
Decatur, GA 30032
Home: 404-284-7314
Fax: 404-288-0284
District 7
Term 2007-2010

Jim Redovian
jim_redovian@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us
1789 Corners Court
Atlanta, GA 30338
Home: 404-392-2593
Fax: 770-351-0001
District 1
Term: 2007-2010

Don McChesney
don_mcchesney@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us
1388 Council Bluff Drive
Atlanta, GA 30345
Hm# 404-664-2458
Fax# 404.634.6421
Term: 2009-2012
District #2

Sarah Copelin-Wood
sarah_copelin-wood@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us
1970 Mark Trail
Decatur, Georgia 30032
Home: 404-371-1490
Fax: 404-377-5661
District 3
Term: 2007-2010

H. Paul Womack, Jr.
h_paul_womack@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us
2809 Woodland Park Drive
Atlanta, GA 30345
Hm# 404.325.5821
Fax# 404.325.9233
Term: 2009-2012
District #4

Jesse "Jay" Cunningham, Jr.
jay_cunningham@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us
4970 Burling Mill Drive
Lithonia, GA 30038
Home: 404.392.3091
Fax: 770-322-8118
District 5
Term: 2007-2010

Dr. Pamela Speaks
pam_speaks@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us
5700 Bahia Mar Circle
Stone Mountain, GA 30087
Hm# 770.493.4805
Fax# 770.939.2667
Term: 2009-2012
District #8

Eugene P. Walker
eugene_p_walker@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us
Post Office Box 674
Lithonia, GA 30058
Home: 404-593-5095
Fax: 678-518-0526
District 9
Term: 2008-2010

Anonymous said...

I heard from somebody who works in the Technology that eSIS was picked by the head of the programming (somebody called Melony?? ) for having a good product. But in summer of 08, after eSIS had been rewarded the contract and had had a chance to look at our programs said that they’ll be rewriting theirs in Java too, the same as our old programs. I thought they were picked for having a “good product” why the rewrite then???

What a waist of taxpayers money.

Anonymous said...

I had the privilege of working with Ms. Drake on her paperless classroom, and she is the most amazing teacher I've ever met in my 30+ years of teaching. She asked for all 3rd graders who were receiving special education services to be in her classroom all day in conjunction with high achievers. ALL of her students are on grade level when they exit her classroom. She has meticulous records and action plans for each child. Her use and understanding of technology is extended throughout all of her lessons, and she utilizes technology to make herself and her more efficient.

In 2006, Ms. Drake was one of 100 teachers in the U.S who were Milken winners (top 100 teachers in the US in education-speak). Observing her classroom you would never know who is receiving special education services and who is a high achiever. They are all high achievers in her classroom. The Vandelyn PTA has been very supportive of her, one of the reasons for her success.

The county knew about Ms. Drake and her paperless system. She was in the AJC when she won the Milken award. My guess is because she's just a teacher, they felt they had nothing to learn from her.

Compass Learning Odyssey which DeKalb County paid millions for can perform many of the functions that were used to cost justify eSis. It has the ability to assess students, capture that assessment, and then design remediation, reinforcement and extension activities and lessons for each student based on the assessment captured (a critical feature eSis lacks). Feedback on each student is given to the teacher as well as recommendations on that student - all in real time, no delay. Teachers, parents and students love Compass Learning. It also works.

The county needs more people in high places - MIS, Instruction, Construction, etc. that have a teaching background. For example, the architectural design of the science and computer classrooms need instructional input as to the layout that is best for teachers and students. But that is not the reality of the situation. Instead, administrative personnel make these decisions with absolutely no teacher input, and then teachers and students are asked to live with the mistakes.

I don't begrudge paying high salaries for results. But where is the accountability for these personnel? Teachers are well aware that they are the only ones accountable. Even in this economy, I'll bet the attrition rate for teachers is high for DeKalb County. Yet the schools have personnel coming out from the Central Office speaking during their faculty meetings to tell them that they are replaceable and better "shape up" or they will be out of a job? Is that really the most inspirational idea for improving student achievement?

There is something inherently wrong with a school system that has 13,000 + employees and only 7,600 are teachers. If you take out the approximately 2,000 special education teachers, that leaves 5,600 individuals to teach the majority of our students in core classrooms and special classes such as art, music, PE, gifted, media, etc.

Sadly, eSis problems are just symptomatic of the many problems teachers and students face every day.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic post by Anon 11:28!!!

"The county needs more people in high places - MIS, Instruction, Construction, etc. that have a teaching background. For example, the architectural design of the science and computer classrooms need instructional input as to the layout that is best for teachers and students. But that is not the reality of the situation. Instead, administrative personnel make these decisions with absolutely no teacher input, and then teachers and students are asked to live with the mistakes."

Truer words have never been written.


"I don't begrudge paying high salaries for results. But where is the accountability for these personnel?"

I do begrudge. We pay high administrative salaries with no results, evaluation or accountability.

Cerebration said...

Very nice post about a wonderful DeKalb teacher. Personally, I think we need to give our teachers credit where credit is due - and lend a hand of support whenever possible - all in the name of improving the classroom for students. Currently, the morale of teachers is low, due to the over-burdened work loads, paperwork and too much "supervision" - and not enough actual help. .

"There is something inherently wrong with a school system that has 13,000 + employees and only 7,600 are teachers. If you take out the approximately 2,000 special education teachers, that leaves 5,600 individuals to teach the majority of our students in core classrooms and special classes such as art, music, PE, gifted, media, etc. "

Now there's some interesting math that I've never considered! If you take off 15% of students as special education, you are left with about 85,000 students and 5600 teachers. Thats a 15:1 ratio. Not bad. But it's funny that the school system also employs over 700 people called "instructional supervisors" to "supervise" those 5600. That's a ratio of about 1 supervisor per 8 teachers. Regardless of the fact that teachers also answer to AP's, principals and area superintendents.

Anonymous said...

We have been told at our school that every grade on esis has to have a paper trail. We have to make copies of all grades that are input in esis. One copy is to be sent home and the other copy is to be filed in the student portfolio. We were told that this is a Dekalb County School policy. If you go on FIrst Class under Elementary Education and click on Portfolio, you will see the portfolio cover sheet that is to be attached to the portfolio for each 4.5 week periods. Teachers at our school are spending hours on this portfolio and it is impossible to ever become "green" in Dekalb County Schools.Also, the copiers are broken the majority of the time. Therefore, it is very hard to make all of these copies of the students' work. Are there any other schools doing any of this?

Anonymous said...

Love the help we as teachers got this morning. eSIS froze and would not let any teachers into the system. When we went to administration to say something. All the response we got was... "Told you not to wait until the last minute". Thanks for the help there administration.

Come to find out the problem was not with us the teachers but with.... you guessed it Tony Hunter and the main server. He sent an email out stating that he was rebooting the server to fix eSIS.

So it was not our fault, but who got blamed, who got talked ugly and unprofessionally too.

Could someone please b@tch at Tony Hunter, School Board members, CLew....

Stop putting all the blame on us. We did not ask for this nor do we deserve this.

Anonymous said...

Finally had my son sign up for eSIS last Friday 11/6. Today is 11/12 and nothing has been received giving him the passcode to login. Gotta love DCSS... they keep you laughing so you don't cry.

Anonymous said...

Finally had my son sign up for eSIS last Friday 11/6. Today is 11/12 and nothing has been received giving him the passcode to login. Gotta love DCSS... they keep you laughing so you don't cry.

Well, since your son was responsible for creating his login and password, did you ask him what he setup? Also, it's your child's school registrar that approves everything - not the Central Office.

Cerebration said...

Someone should suggest that the IT dept set up their own blog - that way teachers, etc could post questions and probably help each other out - and hopefully the tech people could chime in as well -

It's so easy to set up a blog! And - they are tech people - so they should use technology to it's fullest.

Anonymous said...

Esis was all messed up today. I am afraid to look at it and see if any of the work that I have done on it was saved.

Teachers are spinning their wheels this year. We have Esis to contend with where no one seems to know what to do and we don't have any manuals on how to use it effectively. The district can't set deadlines like this and not have the program running effectively.

Parents you don't understand how much time Esis is taking away from your child's education.

I am not saying that I agree with a teacher blogging during school hours, but if she is at lunch, than that is her time.

I don't hear parents upset by the hours that I put in after my son goes to bed each evening and on the weekends, because I want to teach your children and don't spend my day doing all of the paper work that has greatly increased this year.

DCSS does not allow us to get on Facebook, or anything like that either.

It's very frustrating when Esis isn't working again, it's your prep time and you know that you have to once again spend your personal time getting school work done, because DCSS can't get it's act together and the genius who brought Esis to DCSS got a raise while you received nothing but a headache and a lot more work.

Cerebration said...

Sorry, let me rephrase - coming here is a not waste of time IMO -- if you scroll up in the comments, you will see that people have actually shared some important information. I swear, the school system would be very smart to start their own blog on eSIS - the posts could be articles about how to use certain functions and there could be Q&A. Think about it - as it is now - when one person asks them a question directly or over the phone, only that person gains the knowledge - but with a blog - everyone would learn from everyone's questions!

They would just have to lay ground rules about playing nice - and assign someone the task of monitoring the blog and getting answers for people. It's very easy to monitor comments before they're published. We don't do it here - but it's an easy option. That way, they would only need to allow the comments (questions) to post that they deem respectable and of value.

If you work in technology - you should be using technology, IMHO.

Anonymous said...

Parents,
Want a real shock?
Go to your child's high school, and ask to watch a teacher take attendance, input some assignments and grades for a class, and/ or post grades.
You will be appalled at the wasted time.
This program is terrible!
Slow.
Way too many screens and clicks required to do simple things.
Common things called by strange names so they are hard to find.
Commonly used information that is hidden.
Inability to use arrow keys or tab or enter to input numbers.
A real piece of junk, this is!
And you are paying for it.

Cerebration said...

Ok - so - those of you read that little argument -- I deleted it. Let's all just agree to disagree and move on. This subject has been a huge emotional drain on teachers and very difficult to implement - but surely it will all work out eventually... Till then, teachers - just do the best you can - and parents - just know that the teachers are doing the best they can.


We're all friends here...

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
My child is in the second grade she is not doing well in math. She scored a 798 on the state test from first grade but the state need her to score 800 or above. So this placed her in a program for EIP. What is this for? I guess to help her with math. But the help didn't come until school was in to the 8th or 10th week. Why so late ? I got a letter from the school in October telling me she need this EIP. Why was this told to me so late in the school year? I refuse to wait on the school to help my child with math I am working with her everyday at home and will continue until she understand it. She is still not getting it because the way the school is teaching her it is confuseing to her but at home she understand.The American Choice School system I do not like.It need to go away.

Cerebration said...

Do you mean IEP? That's an Individualized Educational Plan - for special education. Does your child have a diagnosed learning disability? Did the school do some psychological testing?

Anonymous said...

EIP is Early Intervention Program. It's supposed to have smaller class sizes to help struggling students who don't have an IEP but are behind in either Reading or Math. EIP was part of Roy Barnes educational reforms.

To the Mom above, be glad your child is receiving this extra help, even if 10 weeks is too late.

The points for EIP teachers are as mysterious as everything else. Some schools have always made AYP (meaning fewer students not passing CRCT) and have several EIP teachers. Other schools who DIDN'T make AYP have NO EIP teachers. It's another mind-boggling case of DCSS administration in action.

Anonymous said...

No I mean EIP which means Early Intervention Program. No she do not have a learning disability nor is she a special need child. Don't be so quick to label a child as a special need child. As always the parents are always on one accord why can't DCSS get on board. Thanks to the parent who commented on what I had to say. I am thankful for the help at school but the help isn't doing any good. When she take a math test at school she fail. But when I work with her at home and quiz her she pass. HELP!!!!!

Cerebration said...

EIP - I guess I wasn't familiar with that. It sounds like a great program. Is it not helping your child - or is it perhaps too early to tell?

Also - I wasn't trying to label your child - I just wasn't familiar with the program - and since I do have a child with a learning disability, who had an IEP all through school, I mistakenly thought that was what you meant.

As far as your child's math goes - how about hiring a tutor? There are a lot of good ones out there willing to help - they can use the new math techniques. (I know I wouldn't be able to do new math!)

Anonymous said...

For math, I think you need to have a conference with your child's teacher and also, possibly, wtih the principal and see why he/she isn't doing well at school. A tutor may be another idea. Many very successful math students do Kumon "Saturday School" for math -- it's year round, old fashioned math -- drills, drills, drills -- that the curriculum doesn't provide. The curriculum may not be what your child needs and you may want to see if there is any way to go private and, if necessary, research scholarship options to circumvent the state curruculum.

Kim Gokce said...

Anyone familiar with this:

http://dcsscommunity.com/index.php

Seems to be a demo site setup by "AgileCo" for DCSS. Anyone know if this related to eSIS deployment or if it is separate?

Cerebration said...

Wow! Where and how did you find this? Very interesting resource, Kim. I see that you can even sign up to follow DCSS on Twitter.

Cerebration said...

Interesting thought on SIS from an anonymous email - If our tech department truly knew their business, couldn't they create their own system, or at least utilize one of the free systems available out there? Why are we paying millions upon millions in licensing fees, etc? Anyone can sign off on a contract -- a real techie would be able to create and manage their own system wouldn't they?

Check this out -

http://opensis.com/

Cerebration said...

Seems worth a try - or could've been worth a try -


Home » Switch to openSIS

What are you waiting for?

openSIS is free to try so you can evaluate the solution at no cost. Call a commercial vendor and ask them to give you their product for free to try as long as you want and see what the answer is. While you have that vendor on the phone, tell them you want the base product and all of the source code for free... Worried about your current SIS data? Let us help you make the switch by doing your data conversion for you at affordable rates.

Try openSIS today and see how open source can benefit your school or district. openSIS includes a wizard guided installer for Windows that does it all for you. Debian packages and RPM’s for Linux will be available soon. Installation is easily done in less than 30 minutes and we will help you if you need it. Download openSIS from the Downloads tab after you have registered.

Cerebration said...

Also, it seems that Atlanta Public Schools have been receptive to using Open Source (FREE) software.

Check out what they piloted at Morris Brandon ES and then expanded to six other schools so far -

http://gosef.org/

Anonymous said...

The GA Virtual School's curriculum has it all over DCSS.

The DCSS math curriculum is not set up for student understanding or for students to take longer than one lesson to understand a concept. We are pushed to teach a concept and move on no matter how many students understand. We are teaching to the test, instead of teaching concepts and ensuring student understanding and giving students a solid foundation in math.

If you're looking for DCSS to help with your child with math, you're in the wrong district. We are forced to teach to the test with little thought from administration that giving our students a solid education will produce much better results than what we are doing now.

IVERYLM said...

Free Open Source Software!! You can add the State of Indiana, its Department of Education has been rolling out Linux and FOSS in classrooms since 2006

San Diego Unified School District and Windsor School District (CA) has Linux and FOSS in classrooms. Windsor also removed Micro$oft Office Suite, then added OpenOffice.org Suite to all its administrative computers.

GNU+Linux and FOSS in classrooms is beneficial to schools, teachers and students. Take look at what the PTA, parents and volunteers are doing at Sutton Elementary.

Teaching students to use free software, and to participate in the free software community, is a hands-on civics lesson. It also teaches students the role model of public service rather than that of tycoons. All levels of school should use free software. (Statement by Richard Stallman)

Getting a school district to add or make a change to its classroom computer infrastructure will be met with vocal outburst, especially from the IT department.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lord:

Please grant this pray of a DCSS teacher. It is now day 90 and I would like to go home before break with all of my grade uploaded so that I may charge my brain and get lesson plans together for the next two weeks and not worry and stress that eSIS may or may not work on Jan. 4, 2009.

I know yesterday DCSS let eSIS fail the teachers once more for more than 4 hours. I am so far behind now. I was counting on that time to grade my exams and put the grades in so that I could do last minute housecleaning (meaning students who may not have turned in an assignment or may have wanted to retake a test to try and pull their average up) but I could not.

I know that I talk to students daily if they had a grade that I would not want my own child to bring home to me. But this first 90 days of school I have felt like a failure to my students and it is all because of the demands of eSIS.

Also, one last request, if you can get eSIS to work, and you are probably the only one that can at this point. Can you please make sure that the pages load faster than. It takes almost 2 to 3 minutes for a page to load. And with each class having 4 different pages, it takes forever just to do attendance for one class. I thought the internet was faster than that?

Amen.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry that you've had such a hard time with eSis anonymous. I've been lucky, my children's accounts have been kept up to date fairly consistently since the glitches in the beginning. In fact, the final exam grades are already updated for the ones my child has taken through Thursday. Of course, there is one teacher that several parents have complained about - this teacher refuses to enter data into eSIS but once a month, even though it's in violation of the DCSS requirements.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

Can you please include the observations portion of esis in your prayers. Some of us were actually using it since it was taken down 2 days before anyone was notified, we've lost everything recorded there. My AP will either understand all my work has vanished or write me up for not submitting a report on Jan. 4.

Even if God does fix it, I'm sure someone will have screwed it up again by the next week.

Jen said...

I hope god heard your prayers becasue I am outraged as a teacher that eisis has been allowed to go on as bad as it is! This is my third year of teaching in DCSS and I am still paid as a first year teacher...which is fine when I consider the recession...but then why are our public dollars wasted on such a horrible system like esis...why is dr. lewis even asking for a raise? I'm tired, I can't use my skills as a teacher because I have too many students with so many needs and a grading system that takes eons... I'm tired. When will we ever get a slice of democracy is our public schools?

Anonymous said...

ESIS caught everyy teacher off guard as they reported to work in August '09. Two staff members in our building attended a summer workshop for orientation and planned "re-delivery" to the rest of the staff during pre-planning. Unfortunately,the timing was aweful, and Dunwoody HS's 4X4 block schedule was not immediately compatible with ESIS's 8 period format. Once we learned how to take attendance, enter assignments, weights, etc. it became apparent how awefully ESIS is so inferior to the SMARTWeb sytem. Way too many clicks of the mouse, way too much time staring at the hour glass, way too cumbersome in producing reports...the progress report for an individual student being that of the most clicks, the most time watching the hour glass.

Internet Explorer, then Mozilla Firefox, then Internet Explorer...even the "experts" were learning / experimenting...and the bottleneck performance on the servers was horrendous.

I found peace when I began using ESIS at home...no bottleneck. THEN, this past week, the URL I have been using is useless...though I have to post grades by 12 noon Jan. 4th, and print my most current rosters for classes on the 5th. Meanwhile, all my peers will be trying to complete these tasks while I attempt them...if "IT" is up and running.

Anonymous said...

GRRRRRRR!!!!! I've also been trying to post grades since Friday, but eSH-T won't load on my home computer. I've always posted at home. I didn't even unnecessarily wipe out all my JAVA updates and downloads except the magic one, as was idiotically suggested (and still is, by the way, on First Class) earlier this year. Bring back Smart Web! As clunky and awkward as it was, at least DCSS knew how to run and maintain it.

Let's see if the IT people ("I" as in "Idiot")can get this piece of crap to work tomorrow!

Anonymous said...

Every single DCSS teacher I know is complaining about eSIS. it is unbelievable that it wasn't first brought to a few schools on a trial basis. It is unfathomable that DCSS Info. Systems head Tony Hunter got a promotion and raise. His staff is extremely well paid too. Feel free to contact him at tony_hunter@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us or 678-676-1000.

Tony Hunter ($113,094)
Director, MIS

Joseph Swing ($110,196)
Assistant Director, Technical and Support Services

Joyce Miller ($108,846)
Assistant Director, Telecommunications

Dr. Mindy DiSalvo ($110,196)
Assistant Director, Grants and Community Programs

Dr. Regina Merriwether ($113,094)
Assistant Director, Instructional Technology

Natalie Terrell ($87,156)
Assistant Director, Project Management

Anonymous said...

Glad I am not the only teacher having trouble throughout the break to post my grades. I am resigned that my grades won't be ready by noon tomorrow, as all teachers in DCSS will be using esis to post grades and it will sometime in the morning go down or be so slow that what you are working on won't save.

Anonymous said...

eSIS was a complete and utter failure today. This was clutch time--posting final grades for the semester, and eSIS blew it big time. Tony Hunter sent an email out at 11:20 that the system would be brought down to fix the problems encountered this morning, and that it would be back up at 11:50. The deadline for teachers' posting final grades was 12:00 pm. It went back online near noon and then crashed again. No one in our school could logon or even load the logon page all afternoon.

What a piece of crap!!! Accountability? Lewis may get his raise. Hunter got his and a promotion. One of these guys should be looking for another job. Right NOW!!!

Cerebration said...

Man, that is really sad - and completely frustrating for our teachers. You all deserve so much better.

Anonymous said...

Oh, WOW! I had no idea they went to a new SIS this school year. That should explain why their non-funded FTE segments almost tripled from the October 2008 reporting cycle.

This is height of incompetency, a corrupt group of administrators get a new SIS in a shady deal and it (SIS) messes up the funding by more than $4.7 million. This is height of stupidity, even for crooks!

http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2009/12/2008-09-georgia-school-report-cards-now.html?showComment=1262648686490#c274491683056648840

Anonymous said...

Oh, WOW! I had no idea they went to a new SIS this school year. That should explain why their non-funded FTE segments almost tripled from the October 2008 reporting cycle.

This is height of incompetency, a corrupt group of administrators get a new SIS in a shady deal and it (SIS) messes up the funding by more than $4.7 million. This is height of stupidity, even for crooks!

How DCSS missed out on $4.7 million

Anonymous said...

teachers forced to input data from home (we already plan lessons and check papers from home..but to be totally unable to use esis during the school day is just rude!
E junk was down most of today...at least in my high school, but i hear in many other schools as well. On a teacher work day..on the day we were given the EOCT scores to post....
The people who bought this are running off with a lot of your tax dollars and the teachers who actually impact your children are getting the shaft.

Anonymous said...

Hey Tony Hunter, this DCSS teacher is thanking you...for nothing! Thank you for bringing trash software like eSIS that times so much time away from me preparing for my instruction, from my students.

You must be good friends with Crawfors to have gotten a raise let alone have a job.

Anonymous said...

Esis was up and down several times today. Again, loosing data that I was trying to input. Teachers have to do their work at home and several times because the system can't handle the traffic and Lewis and his cronies get a raise. Sounds fair to me!

Will teachers get their retirement money funded again next year?

Very sad to have to work in such an unprofessional environment.

Anonymous said...

What kills me about eSis is not only its unreliability, but also how completely counterintuitive the program is. One teacher complained to me today that he could no longer access last semester's grades because he set up this semester's gradebook already. (He was wrong, but I can certainly understand why he thought so-- you have to hold your mouth right, light a candle facing west at sunset, and promise your first-born child away in order to get to last semester's data.) Furthermore, our entire faculty has to PRINT OUT our complete gradebook from last semester for the registrar because thanks to eSis, he doesn't have access to that data anymore-- and state law requires that he keep our gradebooks in archive. Of course there's no efficient way to print out our complete gradebooks. It took me 20 pages to print out what could've been printed on 3-5, if there were decent formatting options.

How long are they going to force us to keep using this program? It's user-hostile at best.

Anonymous said...

Report cards have errors... e.g. final grades missing for some classes (middle school). They were inputted and entered, but... not there... needing to be fixed. Sure hope that the high school seniors who are in the process of having mid-year transcripts and transcripts sent to colleges aren't having these issues....

Anonymous said...

And eSIS just ate my grades...They were posted correctly - the yellow "update successful" box came up. I logged out. This am, no grades - no assignments, no nothing. All that time wasted. Paper and pencil and phone calls to parents would be easier and faster.

Anonymous said...

The culture of the SIS department is one of the "free launch program". Only a few employees are working and the rest are just waiting on their checks and retirement. Some of the management staff is constantly boasting about retirement with no respect for their employees or the work that that's being produced which negatively effects our school children.

POLITICS AHEAD OF EFFICIENCY - STUPIDITY AHEAD OF SIMPLICITY

If you really looked closely at the SIS department you will find that the culture is very negative and hostile to anyone with common sense or an education. The turnover rate is probably very low because managers have created a safe haven to support their "free lunch program" which includes themselves and their employees. There's suppose to be a hiring freeze for the SIS department, however the "free loaders" are free to continue to collect a check while just sitting around and watching the clock all day.

THE DUMB JUSTIFIES THE LAZY

Last year I was told that there was an awards ceremony where one of the SIS department's free loading managers that's in charge of eSIS gave some very embarrassing awards to her employees. Some of these awards made fun of how bad an employee some of her workers were, however she did noting to reprimand or fire her bad workers, she just laugh and signed their paychecks each and every month. This is why eSIS and the SIS department is so pitiful.

THIRD WORLD COUNTRY MANAGEMENT STRUCTURE

I went online recently and starting counting all the managers in the SIS department and found a flow chart that revealed that the SIS department is organized top down. The top down approach to management is the reason why nothing is getting done. In other words there's no team spirit because first, these managers are not contributing to the workload or even care of there employees are performing.

I would like to see a list of all the projects successfully completed today by the SIS department as well as the names, salaries education of the full time staff working on these projects.

WALL STREET MANAGEMENT PRACTICES

I was told recently by one of my friends that work in the SIS department that there are way too many employees with no degrees and no skills with salaries that are up to or over $90,0000 per year. This is why we are not able to get enough teachers and educated professionals in our school system because the SIS department is giving away free launches to the greedy.

Anonymous said...

The department's name is MIS (Management Information Systems). Cobb and Fulton outsourced many of their MIS functions. We should look at this. We could reemploy these dollars to ensure our students have technical PArity with other systems (our kids have so much less technology access compared to even the rural systems) and in addition our teachers and students would have better response to technical problems. My daughter's lucky we have a home computer.
Ask any of your children's teachers if they are happy with the MIS dept. in DeKalb. MIS personnel costs (literally millions a year) sucks up so many student funding dollars we have very little left for the actual equipment students and teachers could use. Kind of ironic isn't it?

One Fed Up Insider said...

If there are teachers out there reading tonight.... I would like to know how long it is taken you to post grades...

I have been here for 2 hours to post 6 classes. The sad thing is all I have to do is post. I had already worked this week getting the grades corrected so all I have to do tonight is hit the enter the key.

My husband is a programmer by nature and thinks this program totally sucks and he knows how to make sure the program he owns works correctly.

Anonymous said...

The department's name is MIS (Management Information Systems). Cobb and Fulton outsourced many of their MIS functions. We should look at this. We could reemploy these dollars to ensure our students have technical PArity with other systems (our kids have so much less technology access compared to even the rural systems) and in addition our teachers and students would have better response to technical problems. My daughter's lucky we have a home computer.
Ask any of your children's teachers if they are happy with the MIS dept. in DeKalb. MIS personnel costs (literally millions a year) sucks up so many student funding dollars we have very little left for the actual equipment students and teachers could use. Kind of ironic isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Actually, it's MIS (Management Information Systems). Cobb and Fulton have outsourced many of the functions of their MIS department to save money. If we followed their actions, we could re-employ those dollars in the classrooms to provide technology for our students and we would get better customer service.

It's one of the great ironies of DeKalb that we spend millions of dollars for the MIS department, and have little technology for students. Those millions of dollars for technical personnel mean that we don't have much left over for the equipment they are supposed to maintain. Good deal for them - bad deal for our students.

MIS gave us eSis. Just ask my daughter's teacher how she likes eSis. While we're at it, why don't you ask any teacher how satisfied they are with MIS and the level of technology they and their students have in DeKalb?

Anonymous said...

How about that new eSis training?

Anonymous said...

My AP informed me on Friday that every teacher in the DCSS must have new training on Esis. It will begin this week and end in March. This is not a good time to be asked to learn a new aspect of Esis. The training takes 90 mins. You must either do it before or after school or during your planning period, everyone does not have a 90 block planning period so that means many of us will be doing it before or after school. I know that training is important, but we have not mastered Esis and now we have to learn a different way to do it. I do not feel that MIS is hearing the frustration of the people in the schools. This includes the administration. We are all frustrated with it. Instead of hearing our concerns, they just push on ahead. Customer Service was suppose to extend to the peopls in the school system.

Anonymous said...

Have over an hour trying to post my grades for the grade report that goes home this week and no luck. One grade from each class keeps disappearing as I try to save the grades. I am unable to fix the error, and have wasted my time yet again with this stupid program!!

Anonymous said...

We should give eSIS a chance. Other school system experience technical difficulities also. Microsoft, and other software companies have technical issues in the beginning. If we have these same problems a year from now, then we should ask for a refund. They could have done a better job of managing risk. The existing system worked fine. They could have rolled out eSIS in phases instead of all at once. A full management review would help also. Why did they pick eSIS instead of another system?

Anonymous said...

Why did DeKalb buy eSis?

The online gradebook "SmartWeb" system did everything that the Middle and High School teachers wanted. And "Making the Grade" software did everything the Elementary teachers wanted.

So why did DeKalb spend millions on eSis?

eSis was supposed to provide the data that "upper management" (a.k.a. Central Office coordinators) needed to crunch.

The instructional coordinators wanted an online system that took assessment (testing) data from the AS400 (mainframe that holds the database for all students) in a format that they would be able to manipulate in order to generate reports. That's what they do for a living.

Unfortunately, Ramona Tyson (at that time MIS Executive Director) and Tony Hunter (MIS Director) did not understand that DeKalb did not have MIS personnel with the expertise needed to mesh the database from the AS400 with the eSis system - even though they were told from the get go by the programmers how difficult it would be to write programs that would integrate the data from DeKalb's mainframe into the eSis system.

Who are the losers in this situation? The students as their teachers wrestle with this system that doesn't meet the needs of the students and costs taxpayers millions.

Who are the winners? Ms. Tyson (salary $165,035.69) and Mr. Hunter (salary $114,627.65)who got promotions.

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