ADE Director's Communication Memo Form

Memo Number : COM-07-089

Date Created : 02/28/2007


Co-op Directors
other: All Principals; Systems Adminstrators; Technology Directors/Coordinators

Type of Memo: Informational
Response Required: Yes
Section:   APSCN - Bill Goff, Director
APSCN - New State Provided Software

Regulatory Authority:

Contact Person:
Carmen Jordan

Phone Number:


In December 2006, the Arkansas Public School Computer Network (APSCN) purchased SunGard Pentamation's Teacher Access Center and Home Access Center software. This web-based software will fully integrate with SunGard Pentamation's StudentPlus software that is currently provided and supported by APSCN.

Teacher Access Center (TAC) provides teachers with a software tool for recording attendance, managing grades and assignments, accessing student demographics, and communicating with parents. TAC is accessed through a web browser and directly interfaces with StudentPlus in real time without the need for file transfers.

Home Access Center (HAC) provides parents and guardians with access to a web portal in order to see the children's, attendance record, class work assigned, discipline records, progress reports, etc. HAC provides email links so parents can easily communicate with the school and teachers.

Teacher Access Center is currently being used by several schools in other states. However, it has not been implemented in a statewide environment such as Arkansas's. SunGard Pentamation recommends the next version of TAC for implementation in Arkansas. That version will be released in mid-May and will need to be thoroughly tested by the Department of Information Systems (DIS)to be sure it will work securely in Arkansas's environment. If problems are discovered, modifications to the software will have to be made. Training of district 'trainers' will have to occur by mid-July in order for those trainers to have adequate time to train teachers regarding the use of TAC and HAC. If software modifications are required, this mid-July timeframe could be problematic.

Technical issues could prevent any district from being able to implement at the start of the 2007-2008 school year. Therefore, districts planning to implement TAC and HAC should be prepared with a backup plan for the start of the 2007-2008 school year.

In order to properly plan for hardware and training needs, APSCN must know how many districts and how many users plan to implement this new software at the start of the 2007-2008 school year. Many districts have had representatives at recent product demonstrations and most feedback has been positive regarding the functionality of TAC and HAC. However, all districts desiring to implement TAC and HAC at the start of the 2007-2008 school year must understand that several variables exist that could delay implementation. The first districts to implement TAC and HAC will also have to be willing to work through the early implementation trials that can be expected. Therefore, it is advisable that only districts with experienced technology personnel volunteer to implement at the start of the 2007-2008 school year.

APSCN, DIS and SunGard Pentamation will continue having frequent technical conferences in order to identify issues affecting the implementation of TAC and HAC. At this time the following issues have been identified:

1. The methodology used for teacher and parent login authentication will likely create additional work and time demands on school district personnel to ensure proper access control is enforced.

2. Modules within TAC and HAC may need to be implemented in phases rather than all at once.

3. Server requirements recommended by SunGard Pentamation must be tested to ensure capacity is sufficient.

4. Synchronization between TAC, HAC and StudentPlus must be ensured.

5. The effect TAC and HAC will have on the performance of the existing APSCN servers must be determined.

6. The effect TAC and HAC will have on the existing network must be determined.

As additional information is obtained and as new issues are identified, districts will be informed via the SMS, FMS and SYS_ADMIN Listservs. Any district wishing to implement TAC and HAC at the start of the 2007-2008 school year should complete the attached form and return it no later than March 30, 2007, to Bill Goff, Director of APSCN, 101 E. Capitol, Suite 101, Little Rock, AR 72201. The initial hardware purchases will be based on this information. Therefore, only the districts submitting this form by March 30, 2007, will be considered for implementation of TAC and HAC by the start of the 2007-2008 school year.


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