BERNARDS TWP., NJ - Following years of study and work, the Bernards Township school district will change to a new Student Information System (SIS) effective August 28, in time for school schedules for the upcoming school year, Schools Superintendent Nick Markarian announced in a special email on Friday, Aug. 11.

Parents were informed that the district's school building principals will be sending letters home via email or online Friday Folder about how to begin accessing the new "Aspen" system from home, Markarian said.

"We will start by opening the Aspen Student Portal on our 'go-live' date of August 28, 2017 so that students can access their course schedules for the 2017-2018 school year," Markarian said. The accompanying Aspen Parent Portal is expected be open on or about October 1, the superintendent added.

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The decision to move to a new student informtion system came after years of work, and consideration of multiple options, Markarian said. "District staff and parents alike have sought enhancements to our SIS for quite some time," he said.

Cited benefits of Aspen system

Ultimately, the district selected Aspen following that consideration, Markarian said. Some of the benefits of moving to Aspen include: more robust data reporting, the ability to create workflows to automate time consuming tasks and the ability to integrate and sync with other software we use to generate efficiencies and a single source of information, he said.

The actual process of moving our student data from ESchool - the current student information system that has been in use for many years -  to Aspen has been on-going for many months. The new SIS can be configured specifically to meet the district's needs, Markarian said.

For example, when school officials worked with Aspen to configure end of course grade calculations, they were able to adjust the method to one that is much simpler for users to understand (refer to 2017-2018 student/parent handbooks). Another example is the way we configure Aspen for students and parents to access information from home, he said.

Instead of the current Home Access Center, the new connection from home is done via the Aspen Student Portal or the Aspen Parent Portal, he said.

Children in the same family have separate accounts and parents can too, Markarian said. Children will no longer be able to view their sibling’s grade reports while they view their own, he said.

"We are so excited to grow Aspen over time in a way that increasingly serves the needs of students, staff and parent," he said. Markarian reminded parents to be on the lookout in their email in-box for letters from principals as well as his welcome-back-to-school letter.