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I find Powerschool extremely unfriendly
Hi All,

This is only my second post and I apologise for starting out so negatively. I have been working in IT for about 10 years, though only the last three in education. So far I have found Powerschool to be counter-intuitive and the support documentation unreadable, bordering on cryptic.

I would love to know if anyone else has had difficulty with PS. Setting it up and querying it has been no problem, but we have failed to move much further than taking attendance. I have created my own database driven sites and do not expect to have such a hard time with what is basically on online database, yet time and again I am thwarted! Even creating custom reports using HTML templates proved more headache than it was worth and I ended up resorting to exporting the data and using a third party DTP program to merge the data into a reasonable looking document.

I am not aiming to begin a campaign against this software, nor am I looking for a group of like minded 'complainers'. However I would really like to find out if any of you have had issues, and how you have overcome them. Or perhaps the fault lies with me? I don't like to admit defeat, but I am getting ever closer to that stage!

Looking forward to moving forward,


Al
Tags: PowerSchool
Comments
3 Responses to "I find Powerschool extremely unfriendly"

   
Strictly my opinion here -

Initial set up and training in PowerSchool is seriously lacking.  We had several people enter the initial data and yet I was the only one ever going to use it and, as you know, finding things is difficult.

PowerSchool is like a spoiled child.  If you do not do things it's way, it rebels.  I think it gets easier as you use the system.  You either give in or find a way around the glitches.

We all rely heavily upon one another and that has been the greatest support we have received.  ESU 9, 10, and 11 have worked together and over the past several years have gotten together to have work days or training sessions.

Personally, I use tech support via the portal and email.  I have never had any trouble with them not getting back to me in a few days.  Looking things up in the knowledge base does not work for me - I am not tech minded.  I need someone to take my hand and lead me step by step.

I have used PowerSchool since 2001 and still only use a portion of what is there.  I use what I want and use other programs for the rest.

It is useless to try to reason with a "child" when they are having a temper tantrum.

Hang in there - it will get better.  Go t all the workdays and workshops you can.  We learn from each other.  The attendance portion will always be a problem - guess it is something we live with.

Good Luck

Kathy Rowell

   
Al and anyone
 I started in on IT in EDU last year and powerschool was my 1st database that I had to take on. I was totally lost but had lots of help from the groups and Wayne at ESU9. Also I took lots of training when I could. One of the biggest things that I did that helped to open my eyes on the way things go in PS was the Powerschool Universaty last summer. That was a big eye opener and loved it. I know it is alot of money when you add in the hotel and everything but worth it IMHO. I can't go each year but if you are the Admin for it and anybody else that really gets in to details on it, they need to go every other year. Also something that I wish was more time to "play". I have a test server almost done (been working on that for 6 months) and that is what you use to play with. If I had time, I know that there would be alot "cooler" (= efffeciant) things that our school could do. But time managing everything else here takes everything. Also, I now have a team of  3-5 that are working on it part time. Send them to training like the one in Minden coming up. Get them to do the everyday things and then you will have more time to play around and set things up but most important, learn.
 It seems that the system is not that hard. But I am not a database person at all. It is very structured though and you have to follow the steps or like the previous post, it "kicks" back at ya and then you are in trouble. Again, get an old server out, load it and use it to test. Then you can fight with it all you want with out it taking you school down.
Keep it up!! We are all here for ya...

Gary Warner - Adams Central

   
Taking advantage of any and all training opportunities make navigating around in PowerSchool much easier.  One training opportunity that is very good is:
http://db.westside66.org/nepsug/
The Nebraska State PowerSchool User's Group is holding its annual training and meeting on April 28th in Omaha.  Details can be found at the link above.  The agenda is not completely set yet, however, I do know that three sets of breakout sessions will occur in the afternoon giving you many different choices on what to attend.  There will be  rep from PowerSchool in attendance.

The PowerSchool user group meetings that are held at ESU #10 are also great opportunities for you to attend.  I try to attend them all!
These opportunities not only allow excellent training, but it also allows you to meet PowerSchool admins from other schools. Networking with these individuals in an invaluable source of information. 

Personally, when I have questions, I either post something to the Powerschool list/community or I call the help line and talk to an individual, there are some times during the year when it is advantageous to have access to a speaker phone so that you can continue to work while you are on hold.
Documentation is also important, on PowerSource you can download many manuals that can help sort things out.  When I started using PowerSchool in 2001 there were not statewide user groups and manuals and phone support were all that existed.
If your district can afford to send you, PowerSchool University, which is held in the summer, is a great training opportunity as well.
I personally have not used any other student information system so my database knowledge is somewhat limited.  I do feel that PowerSchool has worked very hard to accommodate our state reporting needs, it may not seem that progress is happening at great strides but they are willing to listen to suggestions and to make improvements when they have heard from many schools about problems.  They track many of these problems through PowerSource tickets.  The more tickets they have on the same problem, then it escalates the importance of fixing the problem.  Good Luck!
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