Please respond in about 400 words or more. A medium size school district is experiencing large growth and is operating with a clearly obsolete information system.  Most schools have developed...

Please respond in about 400 words or more.

A medium size school district is experiencing large growth and is operating with a clearly obsolete information system.  Most schools have developed their own systems to manage school records.  Each school wants to maintain control over their data.  The central office maintains a networked relational database system which is available through the Central Office Local Area Network.  The central office maintains records on 250,000 students. 

The schools send the Central Office paper, excel spread sheets, database extractions and word documents that contain the data to be entered into the central office database.  These records are mailed into the Central Office staff and are re-keyed into the mainframe. 

The school district would also like to provide students and parents access to school announcements, homework assignments, grades, and emergency alerts. 

The School Superintendent doesn’t understand or have time to sort out the modern technologies. Develop and describe your recommendation on how the school district might become a networked enterprise that utilizes modern technology.  Include a diagram of your recommendation.  

Expert Answers
gsenviro eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Central information network system for the School District

Currently our school district is facing information flow issues due to the obsolete information network we are working with. Given the rapid growth we have experienced in the last couple of years, it is imperative that we develop a much more robust central information network system for our district. With the estimated 250,000 student enrollment that we expect this academic year, here is a road map and a list of recommendations and innovative ideas to put us on the right track:

Components of the proposed system:

1. A Robust Central Database network: A centralized database for all the data and information on our students is needed. This database is available through central office LAN (local area network).  

2. School level (decentralized data collection): Since most of the schools have their own database management systems (DBMS), they collect individual students' data (registration details, class records, teacher reports, etc.) at their end and feed it to their system. The student data in the form of spreadsheets, documents, etc. is mailed to the central office and there it is fed into the main central database network.

3. Public Access: We can provide public access to a portion of the information on the central database to the parents and students. The aim is to enable parents and students access to announcements, student performance, assignments, etc. Part of this information (public announcements) will be in the public domain, while the other portion (assignments, grades, etc.) will be in the private domain and students/parents will have to use individual log-ins to access this information.


Depending on our resources, we should aim for a truly central network, where a central system instead of multiple informational steps will be available to all. Each individual component of the system (district, school, students and parents) will have individualized access to the information. 

Instead of the current practice of schools entering the information into their database and then mailing the readouts, spreadsheets and documents to the district office, prioritized access can be provided to each school and associated staff. They can enter the information directly using their log-ins for the central DBMS. This will remove the redundant practice of data mailing and will also ensure the security of the data. 

The school principal can be given approval rights to check and verify the data before its final uploading on the central DBMS.

A public portal (webpage) for general announcements and emergency alerts for students/parents can be prepared where the information is uploaded by the district office and is accessible without any log-in. 

A secured "blackboard" site can be prepared where the students will log-in individually to access assignments, grades, etc. Parents can be given partial (only grades) or full access to this information.

Since this innovative system will require training for the school staff to ensure they understand the interface better, such a system can be rolled out slowly, initially on pilot-scale and then at the entire district level.

Proposed system:  School (feed info to)   ------->>>> Central DBMS system ------>>> Public/secured access  (to students and parents)