Little SIS for Classroom Helps Districts Support Digital Learning Through the COVID-19 Crisis and Beyond

In early March, with the assumption that schools might be closed in a few regional hotspots in the US, we quietly began offering a Little SIS web promotional license free through July 1st to districts with fewer than 40K students impacted by covid-19. Little did we know, the crisis would result in near-nationwide school closures, with many states, like Amplified IT’s home state of Virginia, closed through the end of the school year and districts now facing an expectation that they would move to a remote instructional model overnight. Suddenly, admins and instructional staff were asking themselves “what classes are actively creating assignments?”, “which schools have been successful with a google classroom rollout?”, “which of our teachers are the Google Classroom superstars we need to help support our new adopters?”

Since then (with little to no direct marketing other than a few posts to my own social media feeds) close to 500 new school districts (serving a combined total of over 4 million students!) have started using Little SIS to gain insights and the administrative powers their administrators need to support teachers in using Google Classroom.

Y’all have been a blessing to us. Because of the tools Amplified IT has created, the 25th largest school district in the USA is able to meet the needs of our students and staff with just 2 people managing provisioned Google Classrooms. What the what?!?!? Per our superintendent, distance learning is one of the critical top 3 things we are focusing on and Google Classroom is the main component.

Gerri RizzoDirector of Information Services, Northside ISD, TX

Now is the time to look for ways to empower your instructional leaders with Little SIS

Overnight, district superintendents in places where Google Classroom has been an informal (somewhat-optional) LMS, are now facing the challenge of ensuring all students are receiving some kind of quality experience in the platform. Gerri Rizzo, Director of Information Services at Northside ISD in Texas writes, “Per our superintendent, distance learning is one of the top 3 things we are focusing on right now and Google Classroom is the main component.”

Perhaps the most valuable feature of Little SIS in this moment of remote learning — and beyond — is the ability to empower coaches and instructional leaders with role-based access to Google Classroom data. Those coaches can now spot trends and track progress on a school-by-school and teacher-by-teacher basis so they can act to support teachers as they grapple with entirely new ways of delivering instruction in Google Classroom.

Example above: A school building principal or coach can easily can the coursework analysis report to see how many assignments have been posted each week by each teacher, and click to view assignment details. They can then use the Classroom Explorer to add themselves as a co-teacher to see the full submission history of students.

In the past month, Henry County Schools in Georgia used delegated access to introduce Little SIS to more than 130 school leaders and technology coaches across as many schools. School leaders have had to change the way they think about Google Classroom as a result of the sudden shift district wide remote learning. They have come to see Google Classroom as a valuable window into instructional activity and a vehicle for improving instructional quality. Jeffrey St. Aime, Enterprise Platforms Specialist in Henry County, explains, “We’re excited by the potential of Little SIS web app to really change the way we support instruction as a district. We’re imagining that when a principal sees a subject area teacher, such as a science teacher, in need of additional supports, they can ask a content-area specialist to get involved and use Little SIS to join the relevant classes, gain a sense of that teacher’s work with students, and engage them in a support plan. We expect that being able to do all of this remotely will make a huge difference in terms of the impact of our district instructional coaches AND how many teachers they can reach simultaneously! This can completely shift effective content in the classroom.”

Want to give Little SIS a go with your instructional leaders and coaches? Here’s a slide deck we put together to inspire your district’s rollout and training strategy.

Over the coming months, we’re making Little SIS faster, more reliable, and more powerful

The Little SIS web app is being “baptized by fire” in this moment of greatly expanded adoption and usage. Here are some ways we’re making it better:

  • In recent weeks, we’ve introduced some big speed improvements, with major breakthroughs in the way we scale up our servers’ capacity to meet demand.

  • We’re still working on fixing some “bugginess” in the first time setup process. If you experienced a rough first time install, do give us another shot and see if things are better this time around. If things still seem wrong, please reach out to our support desk and they will work with you to resolve.

  • In the coming weeks, we’ll be releasing improvements to the classwork (heat map) report, allowing users to see all assignment materials and join classes directly from the heat map side panel.

  • Finally, we’re exploring a variety of other features, from exporting Classroom Explorer data, to creating insight reports on student activity. 

We’re greatly honored to be of use to so many hard working folks in service of our young people’s futures in this time of emergent need.  

Hang in there educators and school technologists. You’ve got this!

  • Melanie Long
    Customer Success Manager

  • About the Author:

    Melanie lives in Virginia and is based in Amplified IT’s home office located in Norfolk. One of the first members to join the Amplified IT team, Melanie has worn many hats at the company. She most enjoys interfacing with customers and helping them implement tools that solve common pain points and frustrations. Today she leads the onboarding and interfacing with Labs tool clients, making lives easier and breezier one implementation at a time.