What Can I Expect From SchoolTool 1.4?

SchoolTool 1.4 is a student information system (SIS), a suite of applications for tracking data about students. Each one of these applications – gradebook, attendance, demographics, intervention tracking – is simple on its face but potentially strives to accommodate almost infinite variation in local implementation. This is software which is never “complete” or “finished.” Talk to a vendor with a successful, full-featured SIS and you’ll likely find that the roots of the product go back well over a decade.

Reports

Arguably, the entire reason for an SIS is to produce reports. SchoolTool currently has a small set of reports. Adding more reports, both web and printed, will be a major focus going forward. If you are interested in using SchoolTool, tell us what reports you would like to see, and we’ll try to accommodate your needs, because more than likely you aren’t the only one with that requirement.

How Much Has SchoolTool Been Used and Tested?

The core architecture of SchoolTool has now been extensively tested and used at Career and Technical Academies in Arlington and other sites in Virginia as part of the CanDo project. The gradebook and attendance components have been tested by small numbers of teachers in various schools, but they have not seen extensive use. Resource booking has been successfully used by at least three schools for more than a year with no significant issues.

Is SchoolTool Ready For Production Deployment as a School’s Primary SIS?

If you currently are using another mature, full-featured web-based SIS, SchoolTool will probably feel like a step down for your school. If you are running the school using paper, a hodgepodge of spreadsheets and Access databases, or a badly implemented commercial SIS, SchoolTool should be a step up for you.

If SchoolTool is close to your needs, let us know what features are missing, and please remember that because SchoolTool is 100% open source, you can hire a developer to make the modifications you need, ideally contributing those back to the project so that other users can benefit. If you have questions about that process, please contact Tom Hoffman.

What About Uses By Schools Other Than as a SIS?

SchoolTool’s resource booking features are handy and mature, making it easy for your staff to manage shared resources like rooms, computers and other equipment. Several schools have found that it is worth installing and using SchoolTool for this feature alone. The setup for this limited use is quick.

Personal Use?

SchoolTool works very well as a personal gradebook and attendance journal for individual teachers. It can easily be installed on a desktop or laptop computer running Ubuntu Linux and used locally. We would love to see a community of individual users develop as it is a quick way for us to get feedback from a variety of environments.