Education

LAUSD reports few problems with data system as school year begins

Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Ramon Cortines visits the control center for the district's student data system on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015. Officials said few problems were reported with the MiSiS system, in contrast to last year's experience.
Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Ramon Cortines visits the control center for the district's student data system on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015. Officials said few problems were reported with the MiSiS system, in contrast to last year's experience.
Adolfo Guzman-Lopez/KPCC

Los Angeles Unified's student data system worked well on the first day of classes for over 600,000 students, school officials said Tuesday.

No major problems were reported, in sharp contrast to last year, when the system known as MiSiS (My Integrated Student Information System) caused widespread problems with class schedules.

The data system initially cost the district $29 million, but increased by another $100 million as the problems multiplied and repair costs soared. Last year, Superintendent John Deasy and technology chief Ron Chandler resigned, in part because of problems with MiSiS. 

Deasy's successor, Ramon Cortines, brought in new technology leadership and promised that the system would be ready for the first day of school.

“This morning has been going very well,” said Diane Pappas, LAUSD’s CEO of strategic planning and digital innovation, as she showed media members part of the system's control center.

A few dozen people worked on laptops and desktops, monitoring reports of problems and writing computer code to solve the issues.

Pappas said four schools in the school district reported issues with the student data system.

Audubon Middle School encountered issues printing student schedules. Narbonne High School didn’t have enough people to input data for 15 students who enrolled for the first time. Cleveland High School also needed help to input new student information.

District personnel were sent to help schools needing assistance, including at Washington Preparatory High School, where two counselors and a technician were dispatched, Pappas said.

Pappas said the help desk received 182 phone calls before lunch time. Average wait time for those callers was about one minute, she said — much shorter than the hour and a half that some had to wait one year ago.

“A year ago it was a disaster. I believed it could be fixed. They have fixed it,” Cortines said, acknowledging the staff deployed to help with MiSiS fixes.

UTLA Secondary Vice President Colleen Schwab said the first day of school was a complete turnaround from last year. Instead of her phone ringing off the hook with problems, teachers and counselors she talked to throughout the day reported MiSiS was working smoothly.

"It’s the opposite of last year,” she said, praising Cortines and Pappas. “They’ve done a great job.”

Schwab said a few days ago there was a class size error showing too many students on a roster. But that issue was resolved promptly. She knew of no MiSiS problems that occurred Tuesday and said it was a major accomplishment to improve the broken system. 

"They inherited a horrible mess from our former Superintendent Deasy,” she said. "I’m very, very grateful.”

Are you hearing about problems at your school or did things go well? Let us know by email or on Facebook!: 

 

#LAUSD student data system: Will it pass big test on first day of school? Parents and students, let us know how it's going.

Posted by KPCC on Tuesday, August 18, 2015