Source: Chicago Public Schools – Features SchoolNet’s instructional Management Solutions (SIMS) and Gradespeed as part of an integrated IMPACT solution.

Note: This blog entry last updated 01/13/2009

Several Texas districts are reporting that Campusware has contacted them to let them know of a change, a partnership that has been established and they shouldn’t be worried. One reported the following: GradeSpeed called us personally to alleviate any fears we may have. I appreciated that.We love GradeSpeed!!

Here’s a copy of the official announcement from Campusware sent out on 01/13/2009:

Dear Campusware customers,

We have some exciting news!

We are happy to announce that just before the new year, Campusware merged with another leader in educational technology, SchoolNet. This strategic merger gives both Campusware and SchoolNet opportunities to enhance the products and services that we offer our customers.

Campusware’s existing team is remaining in place, so you will continue to receive the product development, service and excellent customer support you value. We fully expect Campusware customers will benefit from the increased expertise and additional resources that SchoolNet brings to the table.

Please feel free to contact me at 800.722.1619 if you have any questions or concerns – we are very excited about this development. We will be providing updated information on SchoolNet and the merger over the upcoming weeks.

Bobby Knuth, Director of Program Development

Original blog entry:

In a late-breaking news announcement Campusware’s Gradespeed sells out for an undisclosed amount to Schoolnet. The family-run Campusware’s flagship product, Gradespeed, an electronic gradebook and attendance tracking system–which has merited national attention with Chicago Public School’s adoption of it as the gradebook program of choice–will be announcing the buy-out soon, perhaps next week.

No immediate changes are planned for Campusware’s Gradespeed product, which is in wide use throughout the State of Texas and other school districts around the Nation. Plans are to keep Campusware’s base of operations at it’s San Antonio, Texas location.

“One of the main reasons,” shared my source, “that we’re joining SchoolNet is that it will allow us to better market our Student Information System.” In my experience, few student information systems work well. I was gratified to hear that Campusware’s new student information system–being tested in Brazosport and Itasca ISDs in Texas–is working well. Apparently, their SIS allows for direct upload into the Texas PEIMS and reported zero errors, which is quite an achievement. This will certainly give slower, clunkier student information systems a run for their money.

In the meantime, this acquisition of Gradespeed by SchoolNet marks the end of a small underdog delivering high quality product, and gives Campusware a launch-pad for reaching the stars with its new student information system.

SchoolNet's award-winning Instructional Management Suite (IMS) helps districts improve efficiency and increase student achievement.
SchoolNet's systems are built upon an open, scalable platform that provides users with the data, reports, tools, and content to develop teachers,
individualize instruction, engage parents, and promote school improvement.
Source: Reuters

It’s possible–and this is just me guessing–that and Campusware made their first contact in Chicago Public Schools (CPS), a golden opportunity to collaborate since in February, 2008, Chicago Public Schools decided to renew its partnership with SchoolNet for an additional 3 years.

SchoolNet CEO and President points out in a news release that “Chicago has been an innovator in the adoption of technology for years. The implementation of a robust system at the scale of over 400,000 students makes CPS perhaps the nation’s leader in Instructional Management Solutions.”

Perhaps it is Chicago Public Schools’ idea of PARTNERSHIP that motivated the union between Campusware and Schoolnet. Robert Runcie, CIO for CPS, writes that that “Successfully deploying large scale IT projects requires talented staff and a strong partnership with technology vendors.” What’s more natural that connecting your Instructional management system with electronic gradebook and attendance tracking system, especially when they have a working student information system?

In April, 2008, THE Journal reported the following:

“The Campusware gradebook solution presents a great opportunity for us to significantly improve the user experience for our teachers,” said Chicago Public Schools CIO Robert Runcie, in a prepared statement. “In addition, it gets us to the next level where we will soon have a compelling proposition for engaging our parents (link to CPS document on their Parent Portal that confirms integration of Gradespeed into IMPACT).”

Following the initial pilot, the district expects to deploy GradeSpeed.NET across all of its campuses. According to Campusware, “No school district as large as CPS has ever implemented an enterprise-wide electronic gradebook solution.”
*Note: Link is mine.

Apparently, Gradespeed and SchoolNet may already find themselves in more than one district. If it makes sense for Chicago Public Schools to have Schoolnet and Gradespeed partner up, it certainly makes sense for several Texas school districts. Some include Goose Creek ISD which has an online tutorial (nice job, BTW) that features both on the same page, and Judson ISD (which also has a “jumpstart” manual…also nice!)

Of course, this is mostly speculation. What are the facts that are known?

  • SchoolNet and Campusware have entered into a partnership that will formally announced later this week.
  • Campusware customers have been called personally and notified that the change will not affect service.
  • Gradespeed and SchoolNet have been working in the same school districts in complementary ways.
  • Campusware has not put out a press release or a blog entry about the subject. Neither has SchoolNet.

I know many folks will definitely be following this exciting story!

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