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MiSiS held up for LA Unified opening, but future snags expected

Mike Szymanski | August 19, 2015

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Diane Pappas, in charge of MiSiS

The first day of school went off yesterday without a hitch for LA Unified’s MiSiS system, a huge improvement over last year’s rocky start that caused so much disruption across the district.

The My Integrated Student Information System allowed 23,110 users to log into the system and handled the schedules of 439,756 students, according to Diane Pappas, Chief Executive Officer of Strategic Planning and Digital Innovation.

During a tour of the MiSiS Control Center on the 10th floor of district headquarters, Pappas said 16,767 teachers were able to register their attendance, a number expected to reach 22,000.

“We only had four schools with issues,” Pappas said. “We had to send support staff to some of the schools to help them register new students.”

But those issues were not MiSiS or computer related in any way, as Superintendent Ramon Cortines confirmed. The schools were overwhelmed with an unexpected surge of new students.

Audubon Middle School in Leimert Park, Narbonne High School in Harbor City and Cleveland Charter High School in Reseda all had some student enrollment issues that required help, and they were resolved by noon. Assistance also went out to Washington Preparatory High School in Westmont.

The $133 million computer system has an additional $80 million set aside for issues that may crop up this year as the system is fixed. None of the problems that occurred last year at Jordan High, Jefferson High, Barack Obama Global Preparation Academy or El Sereno Middle School occurred this time, but staff was waiting just in case.

Jennifer Kessler, Director of Organizational Change Management for the district’s information technology division said 182 calls came into the command center and were responded to within 50 seconds. Last year, the wait time alone was nearly an hour-and-a-half.

Pappas left a note of encouragement for staffers on a board the command center: “Everything you do helps students! Keep going! – Diane.”

“I have an amazing team with an extraordinary work ethic,” Pappas said. “There are some people on this team who have not taken vacation in a few years.”

To prepare for the first day of school, all principals were told that if they ever had more than 20 students sitting in an area waiting to be registered or without a schedule to call them. No principal called.

A few elementary schools had Internet trouble before school began on the first day: 28th Street, Ascott Avenue and Hooper Avenue had online issues that were taken care of immediately.

There are still 324 posted known issues on the website for MiSiS, but some of those are future fixes, and some are minor that won’t impact the overall system, Pappas explained.

By the end of the school day, Cortines offered a thank you and a pep talk for the MiSiS teams located in two different rooms on the 10th floor.

“This is not the end of all the issues, I know,” he said. “There will be bumps in the road.”


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