14 Replies Latest reply on Feb 3, 2013 12:08 PM by vmeyers

    Who is using Filemaker in school - redux.

    FM-K12

      Why is it that there is so little discusion here and that the majority of participants are not school folks, but professional developers?

       

      This is the second time, that I know of, that FileMaker has tried to host a forum for K-12 folks and has been meet with an underwhelimg response.

       

      What can be done to get more school people here and involved with how to effectively use Filemaker to solve k-12 data issues?

       

      Anyone interested in working on a solution to this issue?

        • 1. Re: Who is using Filemaker in school - redux.
          jbrown

          I use FM for my school's database. I would gladly contribute to the forum,.

          • 2. Re: Who is using Filemaker in school - redux.
            jaysayers

            FM-K12,

             

            I would be happy to contribute as well. We use FileMaker 12 at our school to pull in student information from a large SIS, then run some of our business processes with it. We do not use FM as an SIS anymore.

             

            What type of information are you looking to get for K12 specifically?

             

             

            Jay

            • 3. Re: Who is using Filemaker in school - redux.
              FM-K12

              Thank you for your reply.  I would like to see this forum grow and become a more robust part of the FileMaker community.

               

              I believe that there are many, many schools and school districts "out there" that are using various versions of FileMaker is very creative and robust ways. I am searching for ways to get that community here as contributing members.

               

              I believe that they have experiences and an outlook that is so different from those of professional developers who make their daily living working for a whole host of clients, some of whom are schools that we need to have their voices hear here.

               

              As a community we K12 folks keep asking and expecting FileMaker Inc. to do thing for us, yet we have not demonstrated any real enthusiasm by supporting this forum or its predecessor. 

              If we want our voices to be heard, then we first have to be a voice and this is the place and now is the time!

               

              People in the FileMaker community at large, in the wedge in particular need to know what we do, what we create, what we are ask to do and what supports we need in order to do these things in ways that are smarter, faster and more effective.

               

              I will start tomorrow talking about the things that we do here with FileMaker - not because what we do is so fabulous, so worth of imitation, but so we can get a conversation started.  I know that there are folks in other school districts that are doing powerful and excellent things with FileMaker - people in LA, Florida, Virginia, Maryland and elsewhere that I am going to ask to contribute.

               

              To me, this forum should be about more than just asking for help about how to solve a particular programming issue.  It should be a place we share what we have done, what we are being asked to do and how we have succeeded and failed at doing those things so we can all learn from one another and so FileMaker can see that we are an important, contributing part of this community.

               

              Bill~

              • 4. Re: Who is using Filemaker in school - redux.
                jbrown

                Jay,

                What kind of SIS do you use? We use filemaker as our individual SIS in 3 charter schools. But we also have to work with Infinite Campus. I wish i knew a way for the two to talk. I'm sure there is. I just don't know what it is.

                • 5. Re: Who is using Filemaker in school - redux.
                  jaysayers

                  Jeremy,

                   

                  I also work for a charter school. We use something called SPSIS by SchoolPathways.com. Not an elegant solution at all. Similar to most large systems, feature enhancements and bug fixes take FOREVER to get done.

                   

                  The SIS is where we capture a lot of data. I wrote a couple of server-side scripts that download predetermined extracts from SPSIS. A couple of times a day, the scheduled scripts compare and update data in our FM solution.

                   

                  Without FileMaker, our workgroups would not be able to do we do.

                   

                  Maybe you and I can elaborate on the uses of our Filemaker systems?

                   

                  If there is anything you got going on that you are trying to accomplish or wish you could do and would like a second set of eyes/ears to lean on, feel free to contact me anytime.

                   

                   

                  Jay Sayers

                  -FileMaker 9/10/11 Certified Developer

                  -FileMaker TechNet

                          • sent by iPhone *****

                   

                  • 6. Re: Who is using Filemaker in school - redux.

                    A week from today I'll be pitching to a school district that uses PowerSchool, so part of that pitch involves ESS. I also taught HS, and started my own SIS in the 90s but stopped when PowerSchool became powerful (and well funded).

                     

                    FileMaker in the early and mid 90s was not powerful and secure enough for schools (at least not easily), but now it certainly is. I'm anxious to get back into something I can put my heart into (no offense to the boring business sectors I'm working with now.)

                     

                    I'm always amazed at how some large entrenched SISes become "one size fits nobody" but that's what happens when you have to satisfy a large number of schools in many states that have their own rules. That's where I think FMP fit nicely, and -- as we know -- if you can tap into the DB with ESS you can keep them happy with their current purchase and start to get some real work done.

                    • 7. Re: Who is using Filemaker in school - redux.
                      jbrown

                      My SIS that i built in filemaker is completely customized to the needs of our school. Being of the charter variety, we have lots of systems that are in place that are unique to us, so Power School, Illuminate, IC and others don't fit. It was better for our school to do it this way. Every aspect of my system is geared to the individual needs of the three schools and regional office it serves.

                      Our money is well-spent on me. Though I am a part time developer since I still teach a 5th math class and a 6th math class for 110 minutes each. I have a few ears to bounce ideas off of, but its really just me.

                       

                      We barely use IC, and only for the official reasons. But my SIS, called the KIS, is sufficient for us. Its pretty good, in my opinion.

                      • 8. Re: Who is using Filemaker in school - redux.
                        FM-K12

                        First, a little back ground information about my schools… 

                         

                        We are somewhere in the top twenty school systems is size in the US with about 141,000 students, 200 schools and another fifty or so alternative schools, maintenance depots, bus depots, satellite offices, supply warehouses, printing facilities and so forth.


                        We use FileMaker in every school and in many of the non-school based locations.  Every secondary school (64) has it owns FileMaker 11 server and I maintain five centrally located FileMaker servers.


                        We use FileMaker to manage/work with data for the following things: 

                         

                        SIS data, student financial obligations data, teacher/student recommendations for next year’s placements, state test data  (high school and middle school assessments), the printing operations for the school system, copier repairs for three hundred plus big multi-function copiers, moving student data into Fitnessgram for all PE classes, large portions of the new teacher recruitment effort, managing a part of the student member of the board of education election, elementary student parent input data collection, many parent and community outreach activities, to analyses electrical and water bills for the system, etc., etc. 


                        In short we are big users.


                        We have had some sort of in house built student information system for the most part, since about 1985.  Since 2001 FileMaker has played a big part in what we do with student data at the local school level.


                        Finally I do a ton of training in my system on how to use FileMaker based applications and how to program very sophisticated Filemaker applications; it amounts to about 40 -60 classes per year.


                        There are a lot of possible topics here and I do not want to bore folks, so if you want to hear more about some of this then please let me know.

                         

                        B~

                        • 9. Re: Who is using Filemaker in school - redux.
                          gdurniak

                          I do post "school" questions here,  without actually saying it's for an education solution

                           

                          we are out there

                           

                          greg

                           

                           

                          > Why is it that there is so little discusion here and that the majority of participants are not school folks, but professional developers?

                          • 11. Re: Who is using Filemaker in school - redux.
                            FM-K12

                            gdurniak wrote:

                             

                            I do post "school" questions here,  without actually saying it's for an education solution

                             

                            we are out there

                             

                            greg

                             

                             

                            > Why is it that there is so little discusion here and that the majority of participants are not school folks, but professional developers?

                              

                            I understand that there are a significant number of folks out there who are using FileMaker to help schools function better and smarter. 

                             

                            However, my concern is, does FileMaker Inc. know that and appreciate that fact? 

                             

                            When I look at the number of posts that origniate here and compare that number with those that originate on other segments of the Developer Forum it is not a very powerful message that we are an important part of the community.  When I think about FileMaker's previous attempt to host an "educators" forum and what a "bust" that was - almost no one came - and when I think about the Educators meetings that I have attended every year at Devcon for the past ten years and the continuious cry from attendees that FileMaker needs to do more for this community and our showing here, it is depressing!

                             

                            As a user community are we worth only one educational representative for the entire USA?  Is our business and our percieved value to the company so small that we are now an after thought?

                             

                            If we want more then we need to demonstrate that we are worth more and one small way to do that is to make this K12 forum come alive with discussion and commentary and questions and support for one another.  Everything that we say here, every question at origniates here does perculate up to the general level and hence to the wider community.

                             

                             

                            B~

                            • 12. Re: Who is using Filemaker in school - redux.
                              FM-K12

                              Jeremy and Jay,

                               

                              What we here is a bit unique; we have what is essentially two, parallel student information systems.


                              Starting the in the 1980’s, like many school systems our student and other system data was housed in a big mainframe computer to which very school few people had access. 

                              Somewhere around 1988-89 we started extract out of the mainframe sets of text data files for every school in the district (about 140 or so then) and then converted them to dBase files so we could add header info to the files and we placed multiple Apple computers in every school so they could use Works to manipulate the data files.  The schools got new sets of data files about eight times per year.  It was called SIMS (School Based Instructional Monitoring System) and the intent was to use to data to monitor the effectiveness of instruction.  It soon became apparent that the same sets of data files were a gold mine for school management purposes as well.


                              In 2000, like many other organizations we experienced the big Y2K scare and abandoned our old Mainframe in favor of a SIS created by some company in Canada – in short it was a disaster.


                              By 2001 we were back to the old mainframe and back to SIMS while we learned Oracle and how to build our own SIS using that.


                              As a part of that move back to SIMS we moved to FileMaker as the application of choice for SIMS users and every year since the SIMS data files have gotten more data rich and the FileMaker application created for school users have gotten more sophisticated and feature rich.  Now our schools get a completely new set of SIMS data delivered to their school every Sunday evening.


                              I created a unique FileMaker based SIS for each of the three school levels – ES, MS and HS.  They are powerful applications that have 15 to 24 data tables, hundreds of layouts and hundreds and hundreds of scripts, etc. In all of our secondary schools we have Filemaker servers and so manage all user accounts via Active Directory – with every staff member in the building having some level of access to the data.  There are admin level users in every building who have the power to extend the application, to tailor features to that school’s unique needs and many schools have added some awesome modules to their in house SIS.


                              This is not a transactional system that talks back to our primary SIS that is Oracle based and is the data system of record for our system.  In schools only selected people, registrars, counselors, etc. have access to OASIS (our primary SIS).  Any changes that they make to a student record there are reflected in the next Sunday’s extract and push of SIMS data to the school.


                              Giving schools their own copies of their data and allowing them to manipulate it as desired and to create the local reports as needed has been and continues to be something that they could not function without.


                              Without this there is no way that we could, centrally, have enough programmers to create all of the special reports, data extracts, print labels, etc., that are needed by two hundred, often very unique schools.

                               

                              B~

                              • 13. Re: Who is using Filemaker in school - redux.
                                gdurniak

                                it is frustrating, but not FileMaker's fault

                                 

                                I've worked with 3 school districts in Virginia, and find the politics, and IT snobbery a case by case problem

                                 

                                if your school's superintendent "gets" FileMaker, it will be used, otherwise not.

                                 

                                 

                                The last DevCon educators lucheon was fairly well attended.  I noted that ALL I really need is true AJAX IWP.  That would open a lot of eyes

                                 

                                greg

                                 

                                 

                                > As a user community are we worth only one educational representative for the entire USA?  Is our business and our percieved value to the company so small that we are now an after thought?

                                • 14. Re: Who is using Filemaker in school - redux.
                                  vmeyers

                                  Hello

                                  Things are definitely things happening with Filemaker in schools, but right now it is under the radar and still in beta, so no details available at this time. Please see original thread on this forum 'Common Core State Standards in table format" from Aug 8 2012. I will post an update here next month. Also, there is a FM12 file of those who attended the K-12 meetings at Dev Con. Jay and Jeremy, did you get your copy?If you were not present, contact either Karrie Eviitt karrie_evitt@filemaker.com or Leslie Kareckas leslie_kareckas@filemaker.com and asks them.

                                  Vaughn M

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