The Woes of Infinite Campus

The ICCSD switched to Infinite Campus and students have strong feelings about it.

Announcement+made+by+the+ICCSD+saying+Infinite+Campus+is+replacing+PowerSchool.

ICCSD

Announcement made by the ICCSD saying Infinite Campus is replacing PowerSchool.

Students and faculty hate infinite campus.

As we begin the second trimester, students have strong opinions about the new grading software. The Iowa City Community School District (ICCSD) was previously using PowerSchool, a student information system, formerly known as an SIS. PowerSchool was used for showing grades and attendance, easily accessible, and simple navigation for the student, parents, and teacher.

At the start of the 2021-2022 school year,  the ICCSD switched from PowerSchool over to Infinite Campus, another SIS commonly used by other large school districts in the state of Iowa including Des Moines, Ankeny, Dubuque, Cedar Rapids, and Waterloo public schools.  Most people within the Iowa City district were comfortable with PowerSchool, on the surface it seemed great, yet, the district officials seemed to disagree.

Carter Webb

Adam Kurth is the director of technology and innovation for ICCSD. The main problems he saw in Power School were long periods of downtime, the inability to integrate third-party systems (Canvas), and security vulnerabilities which PowerSchool saw no need to fix

Prices for PowerSchool were increased and the district determined it was time to make a change. According to Kurth, PowerSchool had an annual cost of $207,161.55. For the first 18 months of Infinite Campus it was $337,383 because implementation started in the middle of a fiscal year, but beginning in the 2022-2023 school year, Infinite Campus will cost $187,687 annually. 

On April 2, 2021, the district announced it would be switching to Infinite Campus. People thought nothing of it until August rolled around and classes were back in session. The first major thing kids noticed was the GPA change. When you first opened the PowerSchool app it would show your current GPA; in infinite Campus, it only shows your cumulative high school GPA. You can simply use a GPA calculator online, it’s just one more unnecessary extra step for students. Students enjoyed seeing how they were doing.  Graham Beckman, sophomore says “Cumulative GPA and your grades aren’t on the home page. On the PowerSchool home screen you could see attendance, grades, and current GPA. Will Tompson, sophomore added that “it’s too complex.”  Finishing the first trimester one thing students noticed was their percentage. With PowerSchool,  your grade was a whole number. On Infinite Campus, your grade can be a decimal i.e. 89.78% leaving students upset being so close to the next letter grade.

Teachers aren’t satisfied with the switch either. They say they did not receive any significant training on Infinite Campus. Teachers also note it’s hard to grade and there’s excessive clicking. That being said, on November 8 the district announced that on November 23 at 11:00 P.M. it will be doing a major update on Infinite Campus. Some of the new features include simplified navigation, a user-created menu favorite tools, quick access to frequently used tools. We have yet to find out if there will be a fluctuation GPA feature.  As with anything brand new, it’s a work in progress and I believe that Infinite Campus could be exponentially better than PowerSchool with some updates and changes. People should be open-minded about the switch and not expect it to stay the same.