By Claire DuMont
Online Sports Editor
The Manhattan Beach Unified School District Board of Trustees voted to switch to the Aeries Student Information System as the district’s SIS, rather than the current SIS, PowerSchool, for the 2017-18 school year. While Aeries will ideally provide a smoother method to keep track of students’ transcripts, PowerSchool’s reliability and popularity among students and teachers indicates that the SIS transition is not necessary and, thus, should not occur.
The MBUSD Board approved the transition from PowerSchool to Aeries in November, and the school plans on fully integrating it this July. According to Costa Vice Principal Dr. Karina Gerger, the district decided to transition to Aeries because it believed PowerSchool’s lack of reliability in creating transcripts and inaccuracies within the system make it ineffective overall.
According to a survey of 236 Costa students, out of three possible options, 95% of students believes that PowerSchool is very or partially effective in helping students keep track of their grades throughout the year. Because a majority of students believes that PowerSchool has helped students stay up-to-date on their grades, the transition to Aeries is not in the students’ best interest and, therefore, should not occur.
According to a survey of 20 Costa teachers, of the teachers who taught at Costa when Aeries was in use, 100% believed that Aeries was partially effective or not effective in comparison to PowerSchool. Because Aeries presented many problems in the past, it is likely to act the same for Costa in the future and, therefore, should not take the place of PowerSchool.
As indicated by the same survey, 84% of the teachers believes that, in contrast, PowerSchool has been very effective in recording and calculating students’ grades. Considering the fact that the main function of an SIS is to allow teachers to keep records of students’ grades and to allow students to access those grades, it is evident that PowerSchool has been effective in serving its purpose.
According to Gerger, the main issue with PowerSchool is its inefficiency in developing final grade reports, which often caused delays when seniors submitted their grades to colleges. Because transcripts are the way by which students, teachers, parents and colleges view students’ final grades, it is crucial that the school perfects its system of developing the transcripts to avoid unnecessary stress and confusion among students. This adjustment is especially crucial during the college application process because students should have access to their grades as quickly as possible.
However, despite PowerSchool’s lack of efficiency regarding final score reports, PowerSchool still is more beneficial for the district than Aeries. In fact, according to Executive Assistant to MBUSD Superintendent Dr. Michael Matthews Heather Hoffman, Costa had used Aeries for many years prior and decided to switch to PowerSchool in 2012 due to the fact that Aeries needed to update its database and PowerSchool was a more contemporary system. Thus, the fact that this change had to occur means a similar adjustment may be necessary in the future, suggesting that Aeries will not provide proper reliability for the district.
Although Aeries may ease the process of getting students their transcripts, because the district chose to transition from Aeries to PowerSchool several years prior and that students and staff clearly prefer the current system, the switch should not take place.