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NCLDSC-Letter-to-Pearson 022114

NCLDSC-Letter-to-Pearson 022114

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Published by LL1885
NCLDSC complaint letter to Pearson regarding Powerschool.
NCLDSC complaint letter to Pearson regarding Powerschool.

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Published by: LL1885 on Apr 15, 2014
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P.O. Box 880
Greensboro, NC
Phone (336) 3708100
Send any correspondence to
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
Gaston County Schools
New Hanover County Schools
Cumberland County Schools
Guilford County Schools
Union County Schools
Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools
Durham Public Schools
Johnston County Schools
Wake County Schools
Feb. 21, 2014 Mr. Donald C. Kilburn President Pearson North America Pearson Education 501 Boylston Street, Suite 900 Boston, MA 02116 Dear Mr. Kilburn, We are writing, as large district superintendents in North Carolina, to share our frustrations and
concerns with the implementation of PowerSchool and ask for your help. Collectively, our 10
school districts are responsible for educating almost half of the students in our state. We have
had an extremely difficult year because of the challenges presented by an aggressive implementation timeline for PowerSchool. In fall 2012, North Carolina superintendents made an impassioned plea to the Department of Public Instruction and Pearson to allow for a longer implementation timeline, raising concerns that no state had converted to PowerSchool in less than two years, and that, inevitably, there
would be unexpected setbacks. Not only was this request ignored, the Pearson representative was rude and arrogant, claiming that superintendents across the state would be apologizing as the
implementation would go exceptionally well. Not only has the implementation had debilitating setbacks, but the negative impact on superintendents who voiced concerns have been
immeasurable and, interestingly, that Pearson representative is no longer with the company. Converting the entire data system for North Carolina, including all aspects of student information, grades, assessment data, transcripts, athletic eligibility, discipline, exceptional children modules and grade entry by teachers has simply not been feasible within the mandated
timeline. Converting all these elements has cost us millions of dollars and an undue amount of staff time and stress. Delays in report cards, transcripts and attendance data have generated
considerable negative attention from media, resulting in districts being blamed for the poor 
implementation. The rollout was further complicated by inaccurate and ever evolving technical
specifications (e.g. PowerSchool's ability to support Internet Explorer 8). Even a cursory due
diligence exploration would have revealed to Pearson that the majority of the LEAs in the State
use Internet Explorer as their standard browser. Public goodwill has been severely damaged. We
need Pearson to accept responsibility for the challenges as we continue to address issues.
Send any correspondence to
P.O. Box 880
Greensboro, NC
Phone (336) 370-8100
North Carolina's largest School Districts
 February 21, 2014
Page 2
Specifically, due to the accelerated implementation timeline for PowerSchool, we have experienced:
extensive initial costs for training staff on PowerSchool products
continued expenses to train and maintain support staff with PowerScheduler
delays in issuing report cards, transcripts and grade point average calculations
delays in college admissions applications due to transcript problems
inability to generate the Principals Monthly Report, thus delaying attendance verification and
funding reconciliations
even into February, an inability to determine accurate attendance details for districts and the state using the PMR; this data drives decisions for support of school initiatives
delays due to poor support from Pearson for browsers other than Firefox
frequent maintenance weekends without access to HomeBase products
 performance issues related to PowerSchool servers causing midday outages
frustrating changes in procedures in mid-year so that process/reports run correctly
an inability to input and extract discipline data
a lack of opportunity to really pilot SchoolNet because of slow or non-functioning
components, as well as extremely slow processing time We, as districts, have struggled because we had to add training staff, fund training and provide
assistance to our schools, while addressing transcripts one by one, line by line, and
communicating delays to parents, elected leaders and the media. We have all tried to be positive
about the new software. The product is a good one and certainly worthy of implementation; however, due to the accelerated timeline, the modules were not ready for a fully integrated roll
out. This has caused frustrations among the end users, our school teams, who must cope with seemingly endless changes in directions, and cumbersome processes. We were promised a year 
to use the product before making a decision whether or not to purchase. We have not had a year 
to use the product. It's February, six months into the school year, and we still do not have month
one attendance data reconciled. We are writing to request that Pearson publicly acknowledge the challenges and provide
PowerSchool to North Carolina districts for the 2014-15 school year at no charge, as a good faith
investment in our long-term partnership. We want a productive relationship with Pearson since the data system will be with us for many years. We see Pearson's extension of use for the 2014- 15 school year as a needed concession in light of the challenges we have experienced with PowerSchool conversion. Thank you for considering this request.

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