News

Skyward®'s 2022 Leader in Excellence Award

Congratulations to Mascoutah School District #19 for being chosen for the Skyward® Leader in Excellence District Award! They will be honored at iCon in March!

Click here for all of the 2022 Leader in Excellence Winners!

Mascoutah School District #19 has been maximizing its Skyward® solution for over five years. As an early adapter of Qmlativ, the district jumped right in and built components to make the platform work for its schools and families.

One example is Impact Aid. With more than 50 percent of students impacted by military placement, the district counts on precise information to report its Impact Aid to the federal and state governments. This reporting has a great impact on the budget each year. The information is collected upon enrollment for each student, updated yearly with returning student registration, and verified before it’s submitted. Through online forms, custom modules, and district views, many departments can work together and submit this information in an efficient manner.

When the pandemic hit, Mascoutah got creative to help its food service department. The district worked with Skyward® to create a food ordering tile in Family Access, accessible on both the app and online. This survey allowed families to order breakfast and lunch while their students attended school remotely. As the pandemic continued, the survey was modified for multiple-day pick-up.

In the district’s first full year after converting to Qmlativ, staff started working toward a digital option for new student enrollment and registration. Each year, they planned to add a component; within five years, they would be entirely digital. With COVID protocols in full force, they were able to quickly implement online enrollment and registration. The district continues to tweak processes each year to make it smoother and more effective for families. Although change can be difficult, especially when student data is involved, the district says Qmlativ has pushed the envelope and made its staff more resilient and adaptive.

Fall 2021 Virtual User Group

After much discussion with our state steering committee along with Skyward® and the other presidents, we have decided that to ensure your safety, we are moving the Fall 2021 Skycon User Group conference to a virtual environment.

We will be combining our conference with a few other states: Indiana, Tennessee, Minnesota, New Mexico, and Utah. We have also decided to have the conference limited to one week:

Monday, October 25 – Friday, October 29

We have worked with Skyward® and the other participating states to come up with a schedule that we feel will best meet everyone’s needs. Since we have moved to a virtual environment, we will have the following prices for registration:

$0 for member districts and $75 for non-member districts.

The registration will allow you full access to the entire week of conference sessions. Skyward® & Vendor presentations will be Monday – Thursday and state specific presentations will be on Friday. You can find all of the registration information and User Group membership information on our website at: http://www.skycon.org.

Please see this link for a recorded welcome message from the Illinois Steering Committee President:

https://youtu.be/tLSVxAl9UpM

We look forward to seeing you at the conference.

April 26-30, 2021

The Illinois Skyward® User Group Steering Committee would like to offer you the opportunity to participate in the Skyward® Spring Virtual User Group Conference on Monday, April 26 through Friday, April 30, 2021. Steering Committee members from the following states have selected the sessions and are hosting the conference: Idaho, Kansas, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The Student and Business topics will rotate between morning and afternoon on Monday -Wednesday. Thursday and Friday will focus on individual items for each of the states along with vendor sessions.

If you would like to participate, please click on the link below to begin your registration process:

https://www.skyward.com/virtual-april-2021

Skyward®'s 2021 Leader in Excellence Awards

Congratulations to the 2021 Skyward® Leader in Excellence Award winners! Please click here for the full article of winners.

Illinois is proud to recognize the Illinois LIE winners! Tara Laidley from Mascoutah Community School District 19 and Kelly Mitchell from Deerfield Public School District 109! Congratulations to these outstanding leaders!

Tara Laidley (Qmlativ)

Director of Technology

Mascoutah Community School District 19

Tara is the director of technology at Mascoutah Community School District 19, where she was a pivotal part of helping the district organize and re-organize due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Her district’s back-to-school plan consisted of switching between complete remote learning, hybrid learning, and in-person learning at various points in the semester, which included many teacher and schedule changes. Tara faced this challenge head-on, working hard to plan accordingly and creatively, all while making sure stakeholders were aware of the nuances of Qmlativ as it relates to scheduling. Tara’s involvement in the solution provided an effective end result during challenging times.

When Mascoutah Community School District 19 began its transition to Qmlativ over three years ago, Tara spent countless hours learning the system—and because of her, the district was able to get it up and running in time for the start of the school year. She acted, and continues to act, as the main point of contact for all things Qmlativ, including educating other staff members about the functionality of the program. Throughout all of this hard work, Tara keeps a positive attitude.

Kelly Mitchell (Qmlativ)

Business Office Specialist

Deerfield Public School District 109

In her role as the business office specialist, Kelly Mitchell was key in helping Deerfield Public School District 109 become the first district on a combined database to migrate to Qmlativ. By supporting, equipping, and motivating stakeholders throughout each phase of the Qmlativ migration, Kelly exhibited flawless leadership with grace and ease for over 500 staff members and thousands of families. While this duty may have been daunting for some, Kelly made it look simple. Now, District 109’s operations are steadily improving across all aspects of the district.

Kelly goes above and beyond in terms of leadership. In addition to having the technical expertise that her position requires, she also empowers others to realize their potential. She equips and encourages others to take the steps needed to achieve new levels of excellence, all while being relentlessly optimistic and positive, even when facing challenges.

District 109 has recognized Kelly on several occasions for exceeding expectations on a routine basis. She has also been formally recognized by her peers her through an office award program.

Hello Illinois Skyward® User,

You are a member of our family, our Skyward® Family! We have a commonality, Skyward®, that is a very powerful tool that we use on a daily basis for attendance, discipline, grading, ordering, taking time off, and getting paid. Because we are all part of this family, we wanted to extend ourselves and provide resources that any school/district can use to help ease the burden of our new lifestyle.

Over the past few weeks, we have been living through so many new and unexplored experiences. As we try to piece together what a “normal day” will look like for our own families and our students, we all have encountered many obstacles. We wanted to put together a resource area that you or anyone in your school/district can go to for resources for the classroom or your home classroom with your children. Our vision was to have a fluid resource that you can add your contributions to and share with your peers during our new and, we hope, temporary change.

If you have a great site or resource that you would like to share with others throughout our state, please be sure to send us a message with the information and we will post it in our resources area so others can view and share. Our goal is to make this tough time a bit easier for you and your colleagues.

We hope that you and your family stay safe and that we will all be able to see each other again soon.

Thank you,

The Illinois Skyward® User Group – Steering Committee

ilskycon@skycon.org

Skyward®'s 2020 Leader in Excellence Awards

Congratulations to the Skyward® Leader in Excellence Award winners! Please click here for the full article of winners.

Illinois is proud to recognize the Illinois LIE winners! Bailey Conroy from Saunemin and Glenbrook High School District 225! Congratulations to these outstanding leaders who were recognized at iCon in February.

Bailey Conroy (Qmlativ)

Executive Administrative Assistant

Saunemin Community Consolidated School District #438, Illinois

Most districts have an entire team lined up for an implementation—but for Saunemin Community Consolidated District #438, it was a one-woman show.

Starting her role of executive administrative assistant in June 2018, Bailey Conroy was soon heading up the district’s transition to Skyward®’s Qmlativ Education Management System. When the district’s superintendent and dean of students resigned, Bailey was temporarily tasked with running day-to-day operations, but she didn’t let that slow her down. Though she worked many extra hours, she effectively implemented Skyward®, learned the system, and trained the entire staff on top of her other duties—all within her first year of employment.

Bailey’s passion has been the driving force behind her hard-fought success. As her actions demonstrate, she doesn’t back down from a challenge but rather constantly searches out ways to solve problems. As one of her coworkers stated, Bailey is “the epitome of a team player.” Her tireless efforts and commitment to bettering her district community make Bailey a truly deserving recipient of this award.

Glenbrook High School District 225 (Qmlativ)

Illinois

Glenbrook High School District 225 takes pride in doing things “the Glenbrook way”—a way defined by ongoing evaluation and improvement and, ultimately, success. To see this philosophy in action, one must look no further than the district’s use of Skyward®.

Skyward® is the “software backbone of [Glenbrook’s] financial operations.” The staff use Skyward® to record, maintain, process, and analyze information every day, taking advantage of Qmlativ’s flexible design to configure and customize the experience of users. The district also employs its solution to improve the lives of employees; in 2018, district leaders used Skyward® to address more than ten needs raised by employee groups in the district’s collective bargaining cycle. In addition, Glenbrook recently partnered with Skyward® UX and business experts, and together they’re working to build a first-in-class open enrollment process for employees’ benefit election process. One thing is clear: Glenbrook constantly strives to discover new ways Skyward® can simplify processes or create a better experience for their employees.

Dr. R.J. Gravel, assistant superintendent for business services at the district, put Glenbrook’s relationship with Skyward® this way: “How has Skyward® helped us overcome challenges? It is simple: by serving as a true partner and extended stakeholder in our school district, as we seek to modernize our own processes and operations for the betterment of our school community.”

We want to congratulate Skyward® on being chosen as Ed Tech Digest's 2019 Company of the year! Click here for the full article.


IL User Group Video

Check out this awesome video from Skyward® Marketing! It really captures the essence of the IL User Group!

Skyward®'s 2019 Leader in Excellence Awards

Congratulations to the Skyward® Leader in Excellence Award winners! Please click here for the full article of winners.

Illinois is proud to recognize the Illinois LIE winner - Streator Elementary District #144! Congratulations to these outstanding leaders who were recognized at iCon in February.

Streator Elementary District #144

Streator Elementary District #44 improved their financial health by using Skyward® to become more efficient and cost-effective, while also empowering their staff. This change resulted in the district moving from the Financial Watch list to the Financial Review list.

Thanks to the automation they’ve achieved through Skyward®, the district has saved on staff costs and is able to allocate those funds for other improvements.

Paper time-off requests and pay stubs are a thing of the past. Payroll now takes half the time, and dozens of time-off requests can be approved on a mobile device in a single tap. Streator 44 went from using a large amount of paper to barely any, which has resulted in a substantial savings in paper costs.

In addition, staff at Streator 44 can now use Employee Access to view and change their own personal information, which is not only convenient for them, but also saves time for those in the front office. Easy access to this information has greatly reduced the need for employees to come into the office to make updates and has improved the accuracy of information stored in the system.

While these changes are impressive, Streator 44 isn’t done yet. They are currently in the process of implementing online registration, which will also save them a significant amount of time.

“At this point we are saving roughly four hours per pay period on stuffing paychecks. By saving me so much time, I’ve been able to continue focusing on new solutions we can add to make our district’s day-to-day processes easier and more efficient.”

–Holly Cashmer, HR specialist at Streator Elementary District #44


Skyward®'s 2018 Leader in Excellence Awards

Congratulations to the Skyward® Leader in Excellence Award winners! Please click here for the full article of winners.

Illinois is proud to recognize the Illinois LIE winners! Scott Anthony from District 230 and Stephanie Kaack from Manteno CUSD No. 5. Congratulations to these outstanding leaders who were recognized at iCon in February.

Scott Anthony

Management Information Systems Manager
Consolidated High School District 230, Illinois

For the past six years, Scott Anthony has been responsible for using Skyward® and enterprise solutions to efficiently integrate and improve multiple aspects of instruction and business for Consolidated High School District 230. When changes to Skyward® need to be made within the district, Scott takes the lead in delegating these responsibilities to district staff.

Under Scott’s leadership, Skyward® has become the “glue” of day-to-day operations. District 230 uses Skyward® in creative ways, such as managing their Advisory Period 2, which is devoted to social-emotional learning. The district also uses Skyward® to help organize its Relay for Life event registration. Student and Family Access have made an extraordinary impact on learning: 94% of parents log in more than once per year (over half log in more than 20 times), and over 1.1 million emails were generated to parents and students in the past year. To put this in perspective, the district enrollment stands at just over 7,500 students—that's about 146 emails per student last year!

A team-oriented leader, Scott inspires infectious success within the district and beyond—even taking part in site visits to help other districts replicate processes and implement a better experience. Scott serves as a board member of the Illinois Steering Committee and organizes annual regional Skyward® review sessions. He is also on the Illinois SkyCon Conference committee and has presented at SkyCon and iCon. His leadership has influenced the district’s many awards and frequent media recognition for being among the most rigorous high schools in the nation.

"Scott is a collaborative and approachable leader who is being recognized for his knowledge amongst colleagues,” says John Connolly, chief technology officer. “His willingness to help out other districts and network has been contagious.”

Stephanie Kaack

Data Coordinator
Manteno CUSD 5, Illinois

Stephanie Kaack made history this year with four separate nominations for the Leader in Excellence award. According to her colleagues, Stephanie never shies away from troubleshooting just about any issue with Skyward® the district encounters. She is a leader for support staff at all levels of the district, and along the way she encourages staff to embrace every aspect of Skyward®—but she doesn’t stop there.

Stephanie is always available to train staff, identify problems, and follow up to see how Skyward® solutions are working. She’s willing to get answers and show people how Skyward® is an indispensable tool to make their jobs easier. On the student side, Stephanie has helped teachers get on board with online grading, tracking students, tracking discipline, modernizing attendance, producing report cards, and scheduling counseling. On the business side, purchasing, payroll, tracking staff professional development, and many more activities have been streamlined through Stephanie's influence and knowledge of Skyward® technology. Her expertise in data mining and custom forms have essentially tailored Skyward® to the exact needs of the district.

Outside the district, Stephanie serves as the Social Networking Coordinator for the Illinois Steering Committee and has presented at Illinois SkyCon and iCon.

“Stephanie is all things Skyward® to everyone in our district,” raves Tom Steele, technology director. “She knows the product inside and out—probably better than most Skyward® support staff!”

Skyward®'s 2015 Leader in Excellence Awards

Congratulations to the Skyward® Leader in Excellence Award winners!

Please click here for the full article of individual winners.
Please click here for the full article of district winners.

Illinois is proud to recognize the Illinois LIE winners! R.J. Gravel from Glenbrook and Deerfield District #109. Congratulations to these outstanding leaders who were recognized at iCon in February.

Dr. R.J. Gravel

Director of Instructional Technology
Johnsburg School District 12, Illinois

A recent recipient of a doctorate of education in the field of instructional technology from Northern Illinois University, R.J. Gravel can’t be slowed down. In addition to serving as director of instructional technology at Johnsburg School District 12 in Illinois, Dr. Gravel holds leadership positions for curriculum and technology councils across the country, serves on a commission for the State of Illinois supporting the development of state data reporting requirements, and has been asked to present at a number of conferences, including Illinois Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) Conference on Learning, Illinois Educational Technology Conference and SMART Technologies Administrative Leadership Summit in Calgary, Canada.

At Johnsburg School District, Dr. Gravel continuously seeks to develop a better understanding of how Skyward® can support instructional and operational activities. In partnership with Skyward®, Johnsburg has transitioned from hard copy files to electronic student records, re-prioritized office support personnel responsibilities by collecting parent and student information electronically, and streamlined human resources tasks.

Almost fully transitioned to electronic student records, Johnsburg is one of the few districts that has committed to scanning all existing files. Beginning its data warehouse effort, the school is eliminating the need to "maintain" paper copies that sat in cabinets. This transition has provided the ability for parents to review their student's entire record from any online device twenty-four hours a day, seven day a week, ensuring they have access to their child’s academic information whenever necessary to stay informed.

As an active beta tester for Skyward®, Dr. Gravel takes great pride in the development of products to meet the practical needs of districts. Dr. Gravel also shares instructional and marketing materials with neighboring districts, and invites visitors into Johnsburg on a monthly basis.

“We are always happy to advocate how tools can support instruction,” said Dr. Gravel. “Skyward® is truly a partner in the educational management and support of our organization.”

Deerfield Public Schools District 109

The mission of Deerfield Public Schools District 109 is to provide educational experiences of the highest quality that engage, inspire and empower each student to excel and contribute in a changing world. North of Chicago, Illinois, District 109 saw a need to increase communication between parents and its schools.

Enlisting Skyward® Student Management Suite to achieve this goal, District 109 has improved student outcomes by increasing parent connection to their child’s academic progress, and increasing student ownership of their own learning and achievement. Through Skylert, an automated notification system that provides emergency alerts, attendance notifications and other messages via phone call, e-mail and/or text message, District 109 also has boosted parent and community understanding and support.

When District 109 launched Skyward® Family Access, it allowed parents of middle school students a direct and ongoing connection to their student’s academic progress through Gradebook. At any time, parents can receive a real-time snapshot of grades and missing assignments, and easily access teacher contact information in one click. The increased understanding of a child's daily academic experience has allowed parents to fully partner with educators and staff to support student learning.

“We opened Skyward® Student Access after students saw their parents could access Gradebook but they could not, and we appreciated the students’ desire for knowledge and ownership,” said Cathy Kedjidjian, coordinator of communications and community relations at District 109. “The middle school students have been excited to use the tool to organize their work and track their own progress.”

District 109 is a high achieving district due, in large part, to the strong support of education by parents and the community. Through Skyward®, which allows a commitment to transparency, the district strengthens connections and enhances relationships with stakeholders.

Along with the Leader in Excellence award from Skyward®, District 109 has received the Association of State Business Officers International Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting and meritorious budget award from the Association of School Business Officials International.