Monday, September 9, 2013

PowerSchool causing transcript woes

Students who are applying to college are facing problems with PowerSchool, the new data system for all public schools in North Carolina.  Here's how Superintendent Heath Morrison described it in a report to the school board:


"We are continuing to experience challenges with the conversion to PowerSchool.  One challenge affects student transcripts, and particularly impacts high school students applying to colleges. The transcript module for PowerSchool is still being designed by the state. It has not been released to districts. As a result, no district in the state can run current class ranks or current transcripts for students. We are only able to produce transcripts that end with the 2012 2013 school year, which do not reflect grades in summer school courses, grade corrections or updates since June 10. We anticipate that the transcript module will be ready in a few weeks; the target date is Oct. 1.   Schools will be notified as soon as we are able to run class ranks and produce current transcripts.  

CMS Regulation IKC-R requires that class ranks be run on the 15th school day.  Given the circumstances this year that make meeting that deadline impossible, we have approved an amendment to this regulation. In addition, our school counseling department is providing letters explaining the situation to accompany 2012-2013 transcripts for current seniors.  We have also put processes in place to enable school counselors to advise students on progress toward graduation."

I admit to being a bit puzzled.  A parent had emailed me about this issue this summer,  when I was writing about the PowerSchool debut.  I asked CMS officials about potential problems with transcripts and they said that shouldn't be an issue this early in the year. Now they're saying it is.  It's been a long time since I was dealing with college applications personally,  and I'm not clear on the nuances of this.  Readers,  you seem to have been out front on this -- keep us all posted on how this affects families and students.

  


17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes, the state is late in getting the transcript report to the LEA's. You (and Morrison) are correct in the statement that the 2012-13 year one can be generated.
I would think that very few changes over the summer would affect a student's overall transcript and that can be added to the transcript as a separate letter when it is mailed.
When blame is handed out, give the blame to the state on this one!

Pamela Grundy said...

Actually, the blame should go to Pearson, which essentially forced the state to rush into an expensive new system by purchasing and then phasing out the old one.

Craig Smith said...

We had to create on enormous PDF document of all student transcripts before we had our data Year End Transition to conclude NCWISE. The document is 3664 pages long. When examining student schedules in July and August in preperation to distrubute schedules, we had to refer to this document while working in PowerSchool.

PowerSchool was initially so slow, our admin team began rotating "second shift" in early August to avoid the most active server time. An Assistant Principal would work Noon to 8 PM.

Anonymous said...

In Cabarrus, it affected scheduling and created immense headaches. Now, with my kids applying to colleges, it effects it here with Transcripts. This just proves that schools are run as schools and not as businesses. How about also extending the reach of the system to Adminstration Pay Checks and benefits... I think it would get fixed quickly then.

Anonymous said...

Is anyone really surprised by this? Incompetent government employees at their best! You wanna bet they miss the Oct. 1 deadline as well?

shelly said...

Stop paying Pearson until all is well. Power School is a power grab from the compnay. And the state just handed it over.

Anonymous said...

My son is in Kindergarten and I can't even create an account for him. I left a message for the CMS Rep. to call and assit me, but he never called me back. Problems all the way around on this one!! Thank goodness I love the actual school he goes to!

Anonymous said...

Hi Ann: I am a retired high school counselor who was involved with the previous school computer system rollouts, SIMS and NCWise. For those rollouts, we had the luxury of more time for database checks prior to the college application season. Here are some things that seniors and their parents can do make sure that all is well when PowerSchool transcripts go active. First, examine your NCWise transcript and check for any errors. Report any errors immediately. Then, get of copy of your school system’s graduation requirements, and check-off each requirement using information from the NCWise transcript and the senior schedule. Next, print out copies of the course requirements of all the colleges and universities to which you are thinking of applying. Check-off the required courses for each school against the courses on the NCWise transcript and the senior schedule. Make note of deadlines. When the PowerSchool transcripts become available and before sending out transcripts to colleges, do an item by item check between the NCWise transcript and the PowerSchool transcript. Are all the courses on the PowerSchool transcript? Course abbreviations may differ between the two transcripts, but each course should be identifiable as a course from a student’s course history. Is the correct senior schedule printed on the transcript? Next, check the quality points for weighted courses (honors-level, AP, IB). Are weighted courses receiving the correct number of quality points? Do some quick math to make sure that the weighted and unweighted GPA’s are correct (add grade quality points and divide by number of courses). Report any errors to appropriate school personnel: school counselor/guidance secretary/registrar. If a student has not taken a summer school course or had grade corrections, the NCWise and PowerSchool GPA should match. Since class ranking is relative to the performance of other students (with corrections, summer school courses, new students), the ranking may be slightly different. If corrections are made, get verification that the change or changes have been made prior to sending PowerSchool transcripts. All that being said: best of luck to you, seniors!

CharMeck Schools said...

Anon 9:50, Try the PowerSchool hotline directly at 980-343-9420, or is this who you called?

Great info Anon 9:58!

Wiley Coyote said...

My mother used to say something to me about a cart and a horse.

I think this is what she meant.

Wiley Coyote said...

About PowerSchool

PowerSchool is the fastest-growing, most widely used web-based student information system, supporting 12 million students in all 50 states and over 65 countries. PowerSchool enables today's educators to make timely decisions that impact student performance while creating a collaborative environment for parents, teachers and students to work together in preparing 21st century learners for the future.


This reminds me of the Terminator movie when Skynet became self-aware and took over the world...

Ann Doss Helms said...

9:58, that's exactly the kind of reader advice I love to be able to share! And thanks, CMS, for getting that hotline number out.

Anonymous said...

Except that the Hotline is no longer operational.

Anonymous said...

This problem with transcripts is problematic for students applying early decision to colleges/universities to receive scholarship consideration.

If this affects any scholarship money my student will/would receive, CMS will be hearing from my lawyer.

Anonymous said...

Love it, just love it.
Actually there is good news here: an asst. superintendent actually did some work.
You gotta jus love it.

Ann Doss Helms said...

12:26, I called the number and got a voice mail. CMS folks say someone is still checking the messages.

Anonymous said...

CMS is also having problems with Reading 3D which is one of many assessments that the elementary students are subjected to at this time of year. The window opened today and the class rosters are not down loaded. Is this another Power School issue ? My guess is probably . . . Should have opted for the slow roll out . . .