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After September 30, Daedalus will no longer be in use and THHS will implement a new software system known as eSchoolData (eSD). The change in software comes after the CEO of Daedalus, Steve Kramer, decided to retire. Information encompassing both the school’s academics and extracurriculars will transfer over to the new software after the end of this month.
There will be a new interface for students, but they will still be able to see much of the same information that was on Daedalus, such as grades, emails, transcripts, community service and borrowed textbooks. Parents will also still have access to their child’s grade. However, everyone, including parents and teachers, will need new accounts for eSD.
Assistant Principal of Math, Science, and Technology Susan Brustein plans on rolling out the system in different phases “so that it won’t make it harder for anyone [in the THHS community] to communicate.”
The first phase involves the online attendance that has replaced the paper bubble sheets. “The online attendance saves a ton of paper and hours of someone printing, separating and putting the paper into each teacher folder, then collecting it,” remarked Ms. Brustein. By officially taking attendance online “there’s so much productive work that everybody can do.”
Future phases will add the grade book, community service credit, demerits, and mini course information such as Career Day and the Election Simulation to the new software. Modifications to match the software with the school’s needs are in progress. Ms. Brustein said, “We are putting in some of the functionalities that we had in Daedalus that do not yet exist on this new system.”
Ms. Brustein added that much of the information that we are able to access on Daedalus wasn’t available when THHS first used it 14 years ago. She recalled the time when the administration organized Arista files by handing in pieces of paper that were assembled into a manila folder with someone reviewing them. “It became obvious that the computer could do that and we asked Daedalus to write the module and [Mr. Kramer] did,” she stated.
The new system is primarily used in charter schools and is expanding its marketing to NYC public schools. The CEO of eSD, Ann M. Savino, is “extremely proud to work with Townsend,” the company’s first NYC DOE public school customer. With new responsibilities, she considers pacing to be the greatest challenge “associated with web-based software development when serving the K-12 market.” New versions of web browsers may impact the system and keeping up with changes in Federal and State mandates can present a challenge to software development.
Ms. Brustein mentioned eSD contains categories that run on a district level including information on bus routes and school sports that really isn’t needed for NYCDOE public schools. However, she is reassured in the capabilities of the new program stating, “We made Daedalus a complicated thing for doing everything we want in this building, so I know they have
the capacity to do it because they run a whole district with elementary, middle and high schools.” However, it can’t all be put together at once because “they’re running all the other schools.”
Several schools that used Daedalus also have to transfer over to a new system. Stuyvesant will also use eSchoolData in the upcoming weeks. Thomas A. Edison will use Skedula to monitor student grades and attendance. The AP of Organization at Edison, Kleanthis Korkotas, said he used Daedalus to complete dean referrals and for outreach to parents for progress reports.
Mr. Korkotas believes that the new system is not more difficult to use because it is something new and “parents were familiar with [Daedalus] [but] now that we are using something different, we have to educate them on how to use Skedula.”
Ms. Brustein believes it will be the same with eSD. “Using Daedalus has become second nature to us and finding the new spot where you do the same thing as you always did is sometimes a little awkward,” she mentioned. However if there is a problem with the system functions, there is a focus group of faculty who will “pool their problems” and meet with the software developer for things that are lacking from their perspective. For now, if students and teachers do experience difficulty with the system, they have to contact Ms. Brustein for assistance. “If we need new things that are lacking, students can mention it and depending on how feasible the idea is, maybe it can happen,” she said.
THHS has been using Daedalus since 2001 and was the first school to use it. “We built Daedalus into what it is now and we will build eSchoolData into what it needs to be for you,” remarked Ms. Brustein.