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Microsoft sending LAUSD help for MiSiS: One technician

Vanessa Romo | November 6, 2014

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MiSiSAfter Tuesday’s two-hour MiSiS meltdown, Superintendent Ramon Cortines called for Microsoft to send in the cavalry and the Seattle-based company responded by sending a total of one — count ’em, one — expert to help with the glitch-plagued student data program serving 650,000 students.

The system crashed when too many teachers logged on to update student grades and attendance records in advance of Friday’s deadline. Subsequently, all unsaved data input into the system during window was lost. That has lead the district to delay report cards for elementary school students by a week, to Nov. 14 from Nov. 7.

Almost immediately after learning about the district-wide failure, Cortines reached out to Microsoft’s top executives for help, but he said he has been underwhelmed by the response.

“Microsoft [sent] one person from their headquarters…one,” Cortines told LA School Report. “But I’m writing a letter to the head of Microsoft telling him, in a nice way, that one person is not enough.”

The district developed the current MiSiS system using software and programs it licenses from Microsoft.

“We have spent millions of dollars with them and, I’m not pointing the finger or blaming, I just need some help to fix it,” he said.

For now, there is no indication the company plans to provide any additional man-power or other resources.

The week-long extension for teachers to submit grades and attendance records has given rise to another complication: Parent-teacher conferences, which have already been scheduled for next week, will take place without the vital information.

In a letter to parents, apologizing for the untimely set back Cortines wrote, “I encourage you to talk to your child’s teacher about his/her attendance, grades, and any other issues during this time.”

Despite the superintendent’s recent efforts reorganizing the MiSiS leadership team and an investment of more than $10 million to get the system functioning at a basic level, Cortines admitted he’s considered dumping the entire program.

“I have explored shutting down MiSiS and going back to the old system but that’s impossible,” he said.

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