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Integration Planning: Benefits and Challenging Questions to Consider

Integration Planning: Benefits and Challenging Questions to Consider

In part 1 of this blog series on integration, we discussed how data interoperability, data accessibility, and data portability are becoming required components of a district's digital ecosystem, which involves managing dozens (and sometimes hundreds) of applications, systems, tools, and resources across grades, departments, classrooms, and buildings. In part 2 of this series, we will dive deeper into some of the time-saving features Edmentum’s integrations provide, along with challenging questions to consider to bring your integration plan to reality.

Time-Saving Features

From a purely transactional standpoint, a student information system (SIS) integration can save your staff time and frustration from constantly maintaining (or creating) data in multiple systems. Clever and ClassLink have emerged as the primary providers of SIS data integrations, and Edmentum partners with both organizations to provide a seamless conduit between district’s SIS and our flagship programs—Courseware, Exact Path, and Study Island.

From a strategic view, however, managing section enrollments or class enrollments provides an environment where external data consumers (e.g., Edmentum) become an integral part of the fabric of your overall digital ecosystem—not just another "system" that users have to remember a password to log in to.

Check out the list of time-saving features available via SIS integration with our programs below. This graphic can also be found in our Integrations Overview, which goes into further detail about the integrations we offer.

The creation of classes or sections, along with full rostering of students to match their course schedule, allows districts to maintain a synchronous data environment with the SIS. Having feature parity across these programs reduces effort and eliminates the question of: "Which one of these tools does what function?"

Administrators can focus less on roster management and more on outcomes. Educators can focus more on students and less on time-consuming manual roster additions. Integrations can help streamline the process of getting the best tools and resources to teachers and students.

Integration Challenges to Consider   

There are, however, challenges to any change or addition to the digital ecosystem in a district, and there are several considerations to think through as you make the decision to move forward. Here are some questions to ask yourself (and Edmentum) as you begin to plan an integration:

  • How do I want my teachers spending their time in the classroom?
  • How much freedom do my teachers need in managing class memberships and making sure that students are "in the right place"?
  • Does our district have a login preference (e.g., requiring single sign-on (SSO)), a strict set of rules about password management, or any data policies we need to consider?
  • Are there any special student or teacher populations (e.g., remote or virtual students, incarcerated or alternative schools, dual credit, etc.) that we need to consider outside of our main population?
  • Will students in different grades have different needs for logging in? (K–2 versus 3–8 versus 9–12)

Answers to these questions will vary, and how you answer them will help guide your decision. For example, if a district does not have any policies concerning an integration, this may be a good time to discuss creating one. Consistency is important to ensuring data integrity. Or, if there are remote, virtual, or other students who learn in an alternative setting, you may need to consider how to support them or communicate changes to them in a different, yet equally effective, way.

Scope of Integration Matters

In addition to the above challenges to consider, the scope of an integration needs careful consideration as well. Some implementations may start small and grow to other buildings. Others may be districtwide rollouts. Discussing these challenges with the right stakeholders can ensure a more successful implementation and integration.

Consider the following questions: 

  • Will there be more than one school or location using this solution, and will multiple locations want or need an integration?
  • Do we expect this implementation to grow to more locations in the future?
  • What will we need to communicate to our staff about how this may change any processes that is currently being used?
  • If an individual school, does my district IT team need to be involved in this decision? (Yes!)

You can use our Integration Planning Guide along with the integration challenges questions and the scope of integrations questions on this blog to jumpstart this critical decision-making.

As always, Edmentum is here to help you through these questions and the decision-making process. Interested in learning more, or ready to get started? Reach out to your Edmentum Solutions Consultant or Partnership Manager by calling 800.447.5286, and choose the option 2 for Sales.

Additionally, the Edmentum Customer Support team is ready to help! Your Technical Engineer will partner with you to design and implement the best integration solution, provide transition training, and ensure that the integration meets the needs of the district. Contact the Technical Engineer team by emailing or calling 800.447.5286 and choosing option 9 for Support.

P.S. Join us on May 20 for a free live webinar all about integrations in education! Register here: Understanding Technical Integrations in Education: FAQ for Beginners to Experts