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NEWS RELEASES 2008-09

NEWS RELEASES 2008-09 :: APRIL 1, 2009

NORTH CAROLINA PUBLIC SCHOOLS COMPLETE NC WISE DEPLOYMENT; NC WISE IS LARGEST TECHNOLOGY PROJECT IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS' HISTORY

Public school leaders are celebrating a major technology and data collection milestone with the completion of NC WISE deployment in 113 of the state's school districts - which includes 1,391 schools, and all 98 charter schools. Peter Asmar, chief information officer and associate state superintendent for the NC Department of Public Instruction today made this announcement to the State Board of Education.

The North Carolina Window of Information on Student Education, commonly referred to as NC WISE, is the largest centralized Student Information System in public education in the United States.

According to NC WISE Project Manager Skip Neal, over half of the schools were converted during the 2008-09 school year. "Now is the time to take pride in a job well done, but, also to look forward to all of the new opportunities that a statewide information source provides to every educator in North Carolina," Neal said.

With full NC WISE deployment, the state's public schools are able to share student information and other school business data in a seamless way across schools and districts and from districts to the state level. Some of the features of NC WISE include the ability to move student transcripts immediately when a student transfers from one school to another; produce progress reports and report cards; share student grades and emergency information with appropriate school employees; and more quickly and accurately report student grades, attendance, and information used to support public school business processes.

NC WISE replaces SIMS, which was the official public schools' data collection source for more than 20 years and relied on antiquated technology. NC WISE enables school districts to do many things they could not do on the old system, and because NC WISE is Web-based, teachers and other educators can access information from any computer with Internet access.

State Board of Education Chairman and CEO Bill Harrison was the Cumberland County Schools' Superintendent when that district participated in the pilot of NC WISE. "There were growing pains initially, which is to be expected with a project of this magnitude," he said, "but NC WISE moved North Carolina forward. We are able to make better decisions about how we serve students and how we operate our schools because we have better data through NC WISE."

School officials who were a part of their school districts' conversion projects attributed the smooth transition onto the new system to the NCDPI NC WISE Deployment team. Dan Hicks, a technology services director with Johnston County Schools, stated that new data cleaning tools which weren't available for previous deployment waves made things much simpler. "Johnston County Schools have been very pleased with the whole conversion experience. We are thankful to all who made our conversion a great success," Hicks said.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg and Wake County schools are the only two school districts in the state that were not a part of the deployment plan. Each of the state's two largest districts operate the same software but hosts their data separately. Work is underway to link them into the statewide NC WISE environment by June.

With the completion of statewide deployment, the NC WISE staff and state education leaders plan to focus on upgrades to the system and new features, including a Parent Portal, which would give parents ready access to information about their children's school performance and other school details.

For additional information about NC WISE, please contact the NC Department of Public Instruction's Communication division at 919.807.3450.

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 107 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.


For more information:
NCDPI Communications and Information, 919.807.3450.