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Skyward Educator Newsletter

May 11, 2006 Spring 2006 Educator   VOLUME 1 ISSUE 1  
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CONTENTS
Skyward launches eNewsletter service for customers
Skyward crosses international borders
Progress Corporation selects Skyward as Partner of the Year for 2005
Budgeting via the Web improves accuracy and accountability
Customer input drives new Gradebook Features
New branch office locations added in TX and PA
Kansas School District successfully implements biometric technology
Kansas School District successfully implements biometric technology
Derby Unified School District improves Food Service efficiency with Fingerprint ID Solutions from American.
 
Derby Unified School District currently uses Skyward’s Student Management, Food Service and Financial Management Software.  In the Spring of 2005 they began investigating using finger ID’s as a way to enhance meal service. At that time they were using student identification cards and were looking for a more secure and convenient method that increased access to school lunch. With the old system, if a student did not have their identification card, they were not allowed access to their meal account.
 
A system was needed that ensured student access each and every day. With an enrollment of over 2,200 students at their high school, speed of service was a major concern as well.
 
During their search for a finger ID solution they were introduced to Joan and Dan Hoerl from American. Joan and Dan  have worked with Skyward for over 14 years and attend all Skyward User Group meetings across the country, as well as Skyward’s National Conference that is held in Dallas every March.  Through their parent company American, (a $250,000,000 Employee Owned Company) , they offer a custom Skyward Customer Website with descriptions, pictures, and pricing for the products they supply, as well as  24/7 on-line ordering capabilities.

Several years ago, Joan and Dan in conjunction with Skyward began work on a solution to a need proposed by several Skyward customers to use a Finger ID System for accessing student account information.  The primary need that they identified was for Food Service applications where a student ID number is needed to access funds in a student’s Food Service account. 
 
The Finger ID solution allows districts to overcome several of the obstacles they face within their Food Service program.  The time sensitive nature of school Food Service programs require that many students be fed in a short period of time.  Commonly students forget or cannot find their Student ID card or forget their pin number.  This can significantly slow down the process of moving students through the lunch line in a timely fashion.  Another issue that many schools have encountered is with Student ID cards and pin numbers being “borrowed” resulting in student accounts being compromised.  The finger ID solution can eliminate any concerns about compromised Student ID numbers and help reduce the time it takes to get students through the food service line. An indirect benefit of this system is that it can eliminate the time and replacement costs associated with creating (and replacing) Student ID badges.
 
American and Skyward worked together to find a fast, affordable and adaptable solution.  The result of this meticulous search is a product called BioConnect from American and can be found on American’s website.  These systems are primarily being utilized for food service, however, the same equipment, software and technology can also be used for any application that requires a Student ID……nurses office, attendance office, library, etc…  
 
Prior to implementing the new system and in anticipation of some concern from some students, parents and the community, the Derby Unified School District created a marketing plan with the consistent message that they were not copying or storing the actual finger print. Instead, they explained that a portion of the finger image was, through the computer program, converted to a number specific and unique to each person and that number is what was actually stored in the database.  The district took a very pro-active approach to make sure everyone had accurate information regarding the new finger ID system.  A “media blitz” was conducted and information was disseminated through newsletters, teacher training, local news broadcast, newspapers and a student letter issued at the time of enrollment into the system. They even had their broadcasting class create a video explaining the program and the enrollment process.
 
In August 2005, the program was implemented at the high school, the following November they implemented the program at the middle school and sixth grade. Once a student’s information is added to the program, it remains there from year to year until they are manually deleted from the system.   

According to Martha Lawson, Food Service Supervisor, Derby Unified School District, “The bottom line is that the system has performed as we had hoped, student accounts are more secure, we avoided using student pin numbers or ID cards that are often buried in pockets or purses, and the best part is that students are excited about the new system and it updates the image of school food service.  I recommend this system to any customer interested in protecting their student’s identity and improving customer service. Martha Lawson, Food Service Supervisor, Derby Unified School District.”
 
Skyward’s relationship with Joan and Dan has flourished because of success stories like the one above.  They are regular visitors to our corporate office in Stevens Point to work with Skyward Management, Sales and Marketing, Customer Support and Programming staff members.  They share our dedication to providing the best products available to the K-12 market. 
 

Joan & Dan Hoerl
12782 Florida Lane
Apple Valley, MN 55124
e-mail: americanhoerl@aol.com
website: www.americanbus.com/aces/  username: am1  password: Sky
(952)997-3219 – direct line
(877)436-4657 – toll free order line
(877)466-7157 – toll free fax line
“American, your one-stop source for your Skyward needs”

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