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By Dr. Harry Tennant

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Monday, November 6, 2017

Why do people hate their software? Why do people love their software?

We work with a lot of people who usually have strong opinions about the student information system (SIS) in their school district. The consensus: they hate them.

Why would that opinion be so widespread?

I've got a theory: they hate their SIS because it doesn't work as they expect it should. I think the root cause is that SISes are made mainly to satisfy the requirements for state reporting. They aren't made to make life easier for the user, unless that user would have been the one to do state reporting without an SIS! (Good luck!)

That's exactly the reason why we at Edclick have an opportunity which we serve with Behavior Manager. Dealing with issues of student behavior both through carrots (typified by PBIS techniques) and sticks (traditional consequences for misbehavior) involves a lot more steps than simply reporting student out-of-placement days to the state. And that's what customers like about Behavior Manager...it covers the entire process. It does what they expect it to do.

Is Behavior Manager perfect? Nope! And here's an example. Yesterday I got a call from a school where a teacher had used Behavior Manager to assign a student out-of-school suspension for nine days. And for out-of-placement consequences, Behavior Manager has a mechanism to collect the classroom assignments from the student's teachers that the student should work on during the suspension. Makes sense in the process of a suspension, and it's in Behavior Manager and people like it. So far so good.

But what the call was about was that the system had not emailed the assignments directly to the student and/or her parents. The collected assignments are available to faculty online but the student hadn't been informed. The software didn't work as expected and the teacher was unhappy. And you know what? The teacher was right. Despite the fact that assignments are usually collected for students with IN-school suspension where they are distributed to students by the faculty, sometimes they're collected for students assigned OUT-of-school suspension. Direct delivery to the student and/or parent makes more sense in that case.

They were right, we were wrong, so we fixed it last night. Class assignments can now be emailed to any suspended student with a simple click.

If software doesn't do what the user expects and if you care about making your customers happy, fix it. At least, that's what we do.

Posted at 12:00 AM Keywords: PBIS , Behavior Manager , discipline , carrots and sticks , process improvement 0 Comments

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Flower Mound, Texas 75022