British Columbia enterprise Student Information System
With the implementation of the British Columbia enterprise Student Information System
(BCeSIS) the Vancouver School Board is embarking on a large, intricate project, which will
impact most areas of the Board’s operations. Technically, BCeSIS is the computer system which
manages all of the demographics and student achievement data pertaining to our students and
allows us to report data to the Ministry of Education in order to obtain our funding; however, it is
also a system that will facilitate collaboration among teachers and improve service to students
and parents. Since BCeSIS is a province-wide computer system (thus ‘enterprise’ in the title) the
rules for operating within its environment are strict, and in some cases different from current
practices in our District.
Several years ago a group of data managers from various school boards met to discuss the
possibilities of having a province-wide student information system. The many different
computer systems found in the province were creating challenging problems for the maintenance
of student data, and more importantly the exchange of that data amongst school districts or with
the Ministry. The talks continued but nothing was put in place until the Ministry decided to take
a lead by supporting these representatives in their pursuit of a student information system, which
would meet the needs of British Columbia. After many years, and much consultation, these
districts, supported by the Ministry, signed a contract with AAL Systems of Ontario to supply
their product for British Columbia. Three years ago, the first schools started using BCeSIS, and
since that time over 50% of all students in British Columbia are registered on BCeSIS.
Vancouver School Board was one of the initiators to find a computer system that would permit
widespread use. Now that BCeSIS is a stable, fully functional student information system,
Vancouver is ready to adopt its use. The District has waited until now to ensure that the
functionality and stability of BCeSIS will meet the large and complex demands required by our
District. With three years of operating experience behind it, together with many improvements
and upgrades, Vancouver is ready to accept BCeSIS as one of the major components of its
The Implementation Plan described in this document is essentially a plan for change. The
Implementation Team has examined ways that the conversion to BCeSIS will impact various
routines and structures. Personnel who will be affected by change have been consulted, and their
suggestions have been incorporated into the plan when feasible. Every attempt has been made in
the design of this plan to reflect the reality of our circumstances in the Vancouver School Board.
Our District Management Team supports this plan with the full understanding that they will act
as ambassadors for this project, during not only its implementation phase, but also when it enters
the on-going stage.
Our Implementation Plan is a document that summarizes the ways we have thought about and
planned for the changes to routines and structures resulting from the implementation of the BC
enterprise Student Information System.
Table of Contents:
1. Timeline and Committee Structures …………………………....... 1
BCeSIS Implementation Timeline for 18 VSB Families of Schools ……... 3
BCeSIS Organization Structure………………………………………….... 5
2. Benefits …………………………………………………………….. 7
a) Benefits for the Vancouver District …………………………….. 7
b) Benefits for Administration …………………………………….. 7
c) Benefits for Educators …………………………………….. 8
d) Benefits for Students and Parent/Guardians …………………...... 8
e) Benefits for Technical Support …………………………….. 8
Education and Workflow Benefits of BCeSIS for School and District …. 9
Personnel by Role
3. Infrastructure and School Readiness ……………………………. 13
4. Practices and Procedures ……………………………………............. 13
a) Student Registration ……………………………………. 13
b) Student Demographics ……………………………………. 13
c) Attendance ……………………………………. 14
d) Incident and Discipline ……………………………………. 14
e) Master Timetable and Scheduling ……………………………. 14
f) Teacher Assistant ……………………………………………. 14
g) Medical Information ……………………………………………. 14
h) Graduation Verification ……………………………………. 15
i) Special Education ……………………………………………. 15
j) Historical Data ……………………………………………. 15
k) Fees Management ……………………………………………. 15
5. School, District and Ministry Reporting ……………………. 15
6. Security and Privacy ……………………………………………. 16
7. Training and Support ……………………………………………. 17
Implementation Support and Training Model ……………………. 18
8. Communications ……………………………………………………. 19
1. Timeline and Committee Structures
Determining the timeline for schools to join BCeSIS required an examination of the various
options available to the Vancouver School Board for sequencing the schools for implementing
BCeSIS. Through consultation with other districts, consultants, and VSB personnel it was
determined that the four most realistic and viable alternatives for implementing schools were the
• All elementary schools, then all secondary schools; or vice versa.
• Area (North, South, and Centre) Schools
• Family of Schools
• Entire District (all schools at the same time).
After considerable deliberation and discussion, it was decided that the family of schools model
was the preferred method to use for the Vancouver School Board. Utilizing the family of schools
model will build on existing structures and links with the expectation that increased
communication and contact amongst members of the “family” will provide a community for
support and improved service for our students.
Five families will be our ‘lead’ group of schools implementing BCeSIS. This group, along with
the District Reception and Placement Centre, and the District Learning Services personnel
associated with Special Education, will ‘lead’ the District into the use of BCeSIS. The following
year the balance of thirteen families of schools will join the project. The third year of our
implementation will see our Adult Education Centres along with Vancouver Learning Network
Our ‘lead’ group consists of the families associated with: King George, Magee, Templeton,
University Hill, and Windermere. These schools (18 elementary and 5 secondary) will begin
implementation into BCeSIS early in February 2008. From February until June all of these
schools will be operating in BCeSIS as well as in their existing system (Turbo for elementary,
and SIS for secondary), and will be supported by district personnel. As of February, the
elementary schools will be responsible for registering any new students who will start in
September 2008. They will have until the end of June to complete this task.
The secondary schools, on the other hand, are going to do much more work in BCeSIS over this
same time period. Their active students will do their course planning for next year using the on-
line features of BCeSIS. Then the administrative staff will schedule the school for next year
using the School Master Timetable function in BCeSIS. Again, this will be done before the end
When the staff and students of all five families of schools return from summer vacation in
September, they will be fully functional in BCeSIS and will not be using any portion of their
legacy system. The balance of our families of schools will follow the same sequence of
implementation starting February 2009. When school starts in September 2009 all of our
schools will be operational in BCeSIS. The table on the following page shows in greater detail
the sequencing of schools into BCeSIS, and what is required to get them operational.
During the time that our schools are being implemented into BCeSIS, our district LIT staff will
be supporting the implementation processes by maintaining two student information systems at
the elementary and secondary levels. This group will be required to continue with data and
reporting support for the existing systems, as well as know and understand the same processes
which take place in the BCeSIS environment. Since new and greater demands will be placed on
the infrastructure, the support staff in LIT will be taxed in their ability to offer additional
services. DMT and Trustees will take priority for access to information. Outside agencies,
research groups, etc. may experience delays for their requests of student or district information.
The day-to-day implementation routines of this project are organized through Working Groups.
These groups will be responsible for developing detailed plans for their area of responsibility
then putting the plans into action. Guiding these groups is the Implementation Team, which
provides guidance and support in the areas of budget, timelines, and resources. The
Implementation Team will review, approve, and facilitate significant operational changes that
may be required throughout the BCeSIS project. Providing advice and direction to the
Implementation Team is the Advisory Committee: a group representing all of the personnel who
will be associated with BCeSIS.
The Implementation Team meets weekly, and the Advisory Committee monthly. After
consultations with school-based personnel about matters of readiness and process, there will be
times when various ad-hoc committees will be invited to provide the Implementation Team with
additional advice concerning very specific issues related to the implementation process.
Overseeing the project at a district level is the District Management Team (DMT) Technology
Steering Committee. This group ensures that there is executive level sponsorship for the project
and that the major issues are being considered within the context of other pressures and demands.
BCeSIS, being a provincial resource, has an organizational structure which has the capacity to
involve each school district. The BCeSIS Steering Committee is charged with the task of
defining how the system will work. Alongside this high-level committee is another committee
called the Service Management Council, whose mandate is to define what the system will do.
Under these committees are various working groups which support the goals and directives
eminating from the Steering Committee and SMC. A graph of the organizational structure is
presented on the following page.
DMT Technology Steering Committee
Team Role Name
Superintendent Chris Kelly
Secretary Treasurer Brenda Ng
Associate Superintendent, Human Paul Wlodarczak
Director, Learning and Information Judy Dallas
BCeSIS Advisory Committee
Team Role Name
Chair Judy Dallas
Learning and Information Technology Tony Doyle, Yvan Ah-Yu
Finance Representative Rick Krowchuk
DRPC Representative William Wong
Special Education Representative Catherine Remedios
VESTA Elementary Teacher (2) Sylvia Zubke, TBA
VSTA Secondary Teacher (2) Sue Gallpen, Shaun van der Hoop
VEPVPA Representatives (2) Stephanie Sellars, Darren Mitzel
VASSA Representatives (2) Russ Klein, Robert Moro
CUPE 15 Representatives (2) Donna Peterson, TBA
BCeSIS Implementation Team
Team Role Name
LIT, Director Judy Dallas (Chair)
Project Manager John Hunter (Seconded)
Secondary Teacher Consultant Brian Kerr (Seconded)
Elementary Administrator Michael Northy (Seconded)
Project Support Larry Hoe
Information Systems Manager Tony Doyle
Infrastructure Manager Yvan Ah-Yu
Security Support Peter Powell
Records Support Musica Chiang (Seconded)
The people who access and utilize the features found in BCeSIS will be the ‘generators’ of the
benefits for our students. Initially, our staffs will be given only the basic functionality of this
large, complex, and powerful computing system. This very purposeful decision comes at the
recommendation of many existing users who represent various districts already using BCeSIS.
Over time, additional functionality will be offered to staff as they gain a better understanding of
the features of BCeSIS, and how they can be utilized to support the improvement of student
achievement. As with any new implementation there is a delay until the benefits are realized,
and we expect that until schools have been operating in the BCeSIS environment for at least one
full school year few of the ‘powerful’ benefits this system offers will be realized.
Over time, BCeSIS will offer its various users benefits not available through the present student
information systems. The commentary, which follows, identifies the various areas receiving
benefit from the implementation of BCeSIS along with a brief description of the ‘broad’
implications that benefits have for each particular area. A more detailed analysis of the benefits
is found in the four-page table immediately following the commentary.
a. Benefits for the Vancouver District
Our school district will be able to collaborate with others on best educational practice. As
well, BCeSIS will support collaboration across the district. The system aligns with other
districts in the province also using BCeSIS giving them a voice in making
recommendations for future needs in education. The District will have in place a system
that complies with two provincial statutes that are involved with information security:
School Act, section 79; and, Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act
(FOIPPA) sections 30 and 32. BCeSIS facilitates the inclusion of comprehensive
demographic data for the purposes of analysis and development of educational practices
and student achievement within a safe, secure environment.
b. Benefits for Administration
Training on BCeSIS will permit administrative, clerical, and teaching staff to work on a
common system throughout the district, or the province. This means that personnel
transferring from one school or district to another will not require significant retraining.
The online nature of the system will permit staff to access student information from any
computer that meets hardware requirements and has internet access; including access
from home. Administrators will also have access to the complete student record in its
most current form.
c. Benefits for Educators
One of the modules in BCeSIS is the Teacher Assistant which provides educators
(counsellors, teachers, Special Student Staff Workers) with “role specified access” to
student information. BCeSIS complies with FOIPPA and as such helps to reduce the
requests for confidential information from the main office. Counsellors and teachers will
be able to share student information while preserving professional autonomy and
Current grade calculation and recording programs (InteGrade, Remark, Sillouette, and
Scan sheets) will be replaced with an online Grade Book, which will eliminate the need
for teachers to go through a myriad of current processes. BCeSIS will reduce several
discrete tasks and integrate them into a seamless and secure process. Newly appointed
teachers, Teachers on Call (TOC’s) and teachers who transfer within the District will be
given their own access to this system in a timely and meaningful way.
d. Benefits for Students and Parent/Guardians
Student progress and attendance information will be available for students and
parent/guardians once the Parent Assistant module is implemented. Through this module,
BCeSIS will facilitate both parents and students who both seek appropriate support
enabling an improvement in academic achievement. This access should change the type
of conversation between a teacher and a parent/guardian; the focus will shift to how they,
as a team, can support their student, rather than just talking about what progress the
student is making.
e. Benefits for Technical Support
The role of the LIT programming staff will change significantly with BCeSIS. Currently,
staff program the changes required for SIS. As BCeSIS is a web-based application that is
managed by others, our staff will change their service to one of managing the data. The
elimination of third party systems that link to our current student information systems
will leave only core products to support.
The role of the LIT technical support staff will also change significantly. We will be
adding 2,600 “acceptable” computers to the network over a two-year period. This means
that it will be critical that all modern, functioning computers are put onto the Active
Directory Network which will allow remote technical support for workstations.
The role of the Help Desk staff will also change. We will be adding more than 4,000
people that currently do not use our student information systems. There will be a number
of ways that users will be able to access training and support: web-based training
modules, webinars, peer-to-peer support, family of schools support, face-to-face training
events, and Help Desk telephone and e-mail support.
3. Infrastructure and School Readiness
BCeSIS requires a minimum level of infrastructure and computer readiness. As part of the
Implementation Plan, every classroom will be provided with a computer that meets BCeSIS
standards. The LIT division will be conducting on-site surveys to determine the school’s state-
of-readiness, and what portions of the infrastructure need upgrading. The focus of these
evaluations and upgrades will be on the classroom where the needs for immediate teacher access
to BCeSIS are paramount. Teacher resource rooms, counselling offices, and administrative
offices, generally have infrastructure sufficient for the needs of BCeSIS.
The BCeSIS project will cover the costs of any infrastructure upgrading required for teachers to
have ready and immediate access to BCeSIS. Similarly, the BCeSIS project will cover the cost
of providing a desktop computer in each regular teaching space (eg. classrooms, learning
assistance centres, resource centres, libraries, gymnasia, etc)– one that meets the minimum
requirements needed to provide access to BCeSIS. When any upgrading is done in a school, the
school administration will be given the opportunity to realize any cost savings by having school-
requested, school-funded upgrading done at the same time as that being done under the BCeSIS
4. Practices and Procedures
This section outlines the regular functions, which the District intends to deploy with the schools,
DRPC and DLS. These functions are required to maintain student records. Not all of the
functions listed in this section will be available immediately as a school begins in BCeSIS, but
as the District ‘matures’ in its use of BCeSIS, more functionality will be added so that the
educational benefits of using the system will be realized amongst those who desire to explore the
ways BCeSIS will support student achievement.
a. Student Registration
Student registration will be very straightforward in BCeSIS. All students transferring
from VSB schools or any other provincial school using BCeSIS will be already in the
system. Only changes to demographic information will be required. Students new to
school or to the province will have a new record created. Students may also be enrolled
in more than one school in the District or Province. Registration verification data gives
up-to-date and accurate student population totals that can be used when compiling official
counts for budgeting and Ministry reporting purposes.
b. Student Demographics
Student demographics include such basic information as the student’s: name, age, grade
level, address and parent or guardian information. School information includes student
numbers, program assignments, awards, school teams and clubs, homerooms, and locker
assignments. In addition, the student demographics function is able to capture
information pertinent to the names of siblings, as well as medical information. Student
and parent alerts are generated and will appear on key student information screens.
The attendance feature contains functions for tracking student attendance on a day-to-day
orlass-by-class basis. There are also functions for recording attendance by class,
homeroom, teams and field trips. Given the on-line nature of BCeSIS, this data will be
available immediately as it is entered.
d. Incident and Discipline
The incidence and discipline tracking function allows schools to report and track single
or multiple incidents. BCeSIS allows the school to keep a standardized record of who
was involved with incidents. The results of such record-keeping can be tracked by the
school and the district to demonstrate trends which could be addressed in school or
e. Master Timetable and Scheduling
School Administrators will construct the school’s timetable using the School Master
Timetable function. This scheduling function allows schools to manage courses and
course groups on an individual and school-wide basis. Course catalogue maintenance and
student course selection will be done on-line! Schools have the ability to manage and
schedule courses for students enrolled in multiple tracks within a single school even
though the start and end dates for the school’s multiple tracks are different. The
scheduling feature allows simulation of a student schedule to assist in creating an optimal
f. Teacher Assistant
The Teacher Assistant Module is available from any desktop with internet access. This
module provides teachers with parent/guardian contact information, student grades,
attendance, notes, alerts, health issues and special programs. Teachers will use the
Gradebook functions to record student progress, compute marks, store comments about
student achievement and prepare for classroom instruction. This module will be
introduced with basic functionality, and as staff request additional funtionality, it will be
made available to them. The collaborative possibilities available through this module are
where the major benefits of the system reside.
g. Medical Information
Student medical information will be stored and where there is a critical or life threatening
medical condition a medical alert will appear. This is a very significant change in
existing practice where such crucial medical information may not be provided to a
student’s teacher or counsellor until several weeks after school starts.
h. Graduation Verification
The Diploma Management feature will provide graduation verification as specified by the
British Columbia Ministry of Education. Multiple Provincial graduation rules are stored
and will be applied to a student’s historical, current and future course information.
i. Special Education
The Student Services module provides the ability to record and convey information
relative to the needs of special education students. This full-featured module will provide
many people, both district- and school-based, with access to pertinent and timely
information concerning matters of support and needs for students who require additional
j. Historical Data
Historical Data will be retained in BCeSIS and in a ‘data warehouse’ operated by the
Vancouver School Board. Keeping existing historical data will permit users to honour
future student requests for their data, and it will permit users to begin the examination of
longitudinal patterns of the student data.
k. Fees Management
The Fees Management module offers functions that categorize and track various student
fee, deposit, or rental payments. This function will work alongside existing school-based
accounting software – accountants will have to maintain both databases, as there is no
provision, at present, for data exchange. However, this function should prove to be a
useful tool for sports team and club sponsors who need to keep track of uniforms,
registration fees, equipment loans, etc.
5. School, District, and Ministry Reporting
There are many reports built into BCeSIS. There is also an ad-hoc reporting function to allow
districts and schools the ability to create specific reports. Over time the selection of reports will
grow as BCeSIS matures.
BCeSIS is configured to meet the Ministry of Education reporting requirements including the
current requirements for student enrolment and course selection. The Ministry of Education will
continue to work with the governance board to ensure Ministry information requirements are up-
The process of sending student achievement data to the Ministry will be simplified. At present
most of this data is collected from our schools, assembled into the LIT Division, processed, and
then forwarded to the Ministry. Once BCeSIS is implemented, schools will monitor, maintain,
and transfer their own data to the Ministry.
BCeSIS has many reports that can be used at the District level for extracting the type of data
needed for a system-wide analysis. However, not all of the reports needed by the Vancouver
School Board are presently available in BCeSIS, a situation that will be reviewed and taken to
the governance board once requirement shortfalls are known.
As teaching staff utilize the full features of the Gradebook in the Teacher Assistant, schools will
be able to share data with school-based personnel in meaningful and creative ways. The power
of this sharing and collaboration will only become evident when all the features of this module
are implemented and utilized. In the meantime, BCeSIS will continue to provide teachers and
administrators with the type of reports, which they presently utilize to fulfill their mandate of
reporting student progress to parents on a regular basis.
Communications between home and school through some of the features in the Teacher
Assistant will provide both parent and teacher with direct evidence of student performance. The
ability for teachers to permit parents to view their child’s record of attendance and achievement
is one of the features in BCeSIS which holds much potential for improving communications
between the teacher and the parent.
6. Security and Privacy
The Vancouver School Board is a public body under FOIPPA and therefore has the same
responsibilities and obligations as other public bodies. The Vancouver School Board must
assume mutual responsibility with the Ministry of Education to protect personal information
under School Act and the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA).
The Vancouver School Board is responsible for ensuring that our privacy practices and
procedures recognize that we are now part of a Province-wide system. A review of privacy
policies will be undertaken to ensure that our policies and procedures are current and robust. As
well, a new set of processes and guidelines for initiating and managing user accounts will be
established prior to the implementation of our ‘lead’ schools.
Establishing security routines and procedures will be one of the biggest challenges facing the
Implementation Team. As the ‘team’ goes from school to school noting and understanding
present operating practice, it will suggest ways to adjust practices so that no one is in breach of
FOIPPA legislation. These guidelines will be in place prior to the full implementation of our
Currently, teachers and support staff requiring student information must ask either an office
assistant or administrator for such information. With the implementation of BCeSIS, these staff
members will have ready access to this type of information – provided that it meets the ‘need to
know’ criteria. Teachers and other support staff who utilize the features found in the Teacher
Assistant module will be able to obtain and view most of the information they presently request
The School Act defines the content, timing, and requirements for district release of student
information to the Ministry of Education. Employees of the Ministry of Education will not
have direct access to district, school, or student information.
7. Training and Support
A strong training program is critical to the successful implementation of BCeSIS. A District
team of trainers will develop a training program that meets the requirements of District staff,
administrators, counsellors, clerical staff/computer operators, human resources personnel,
teachers and parents. The focus of the training program will support the ‘family of schools’ by
utilizing the ‘train-the-trainer’ concept while continuing to develop and build relationships
amongst the various constituents of the ‘family.’ The Vancouver School Board will explore
opportunities to work with other Districts who are already utilizing BCeSIS and which have well
established training programs.
As BCeSIS is implemented school-by-school, a new set of procedures will be established to
continue the support of our “end users.” These processes and procedures will be in place prior to
the full implementation of our “lead” schools.
At the heart of this project is the commitment to supporting a common SIS that meets the needs
of all schools as they relate to reporting and improving student performance. To that end, a
structured process is in place to allow districts to request changes to the BCeSIS software that
will help resolve their specific need(s) and offer improvements to the entire community.
Districts with unique requirements may contract directly with the vendor for additional
Positive communications with all stakeholders opens the door for constructive dialogue and is
essential to a smooth implementation. The BCeSIS Implementation Team will utilize the
following information sharing strategies:
• Advisory Committee and Standing Board Committees – Formal information sharing
and input from Trustees and key stakeholder groups.
• Information meetings with various stakeholder groups including Administrators, District
and School Staff, and Parents when the opportunities allow, eg. Area Meetings
• Regular BCeSIS and VSB Newsletters / Bulletins
• Web content accessible via the Vancouver School Board website
• Web content accessible via VSB web portal “myVSB” to employees via a secure site
Members of the District Management Team will support communications from the
Implementation Team as they convey key messages during their regular meetings with school-
based personnel. School-based administration, in turn, will pass along key messages to their
staff in a timely and supportive manner.