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Published on September 29th, 2011 | by EIC

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Illuminate system not working as planned

Illuminate. It’s the new, web-based system implemented this year by the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) that will replace the systems previously in place.

According to O-House adviser Laura Simone, Illuminate is a system that will streamline three programs: Pinnacle grade access, Data Director, and Reflections attendance into one system.

“It’s supposed to be an update,” Simone said. “Illuminate is supposed to be one system that encompasses it all. As soon as all the bugs are worked out, it should be great.”

O-House adviser Maricela Gonzalez says that this system will now provide separate portals for parents and students. Teachers will now be able to see a student’s whole profile, which includes academic history, test scores and their performance in other classes.

“I personally think it can become a good system,” Gonzalez said. “It was just very complicated to get into different systems to gain access to all student information, this way it is in one system with the all the information we need. It’s new and with anything that’s new, it takes time getting used to it. I think eventually it’s going to build up to be a really great program, once the kinks are all taken care of.”

Since the systems release to parents and students during Back to School Night, when parents were given access codes, the system has been rife with problems.

“The number one problem is parents not being able to access their students grades,” Jason Kurtenbach, S-House principal, in charge of the Illuminate system, said. “Things such as case sensitivity and how to register [were all problems]. A lot of [the problems] came from the transfer of information from the old system to the new one.”

There has also been a lot of confusion about this new system among the student population, creating problems especially for those applying to college.

“Since we’ve changed systems we can’t send our transcripts online because [the school] is afraid of messing it up,” Senior Perry Kumagai said.

However, the school is working towards fixing these problems as well as others.

“We cleared up a lot of those [problems],” Kurtenbach said. “We’ve tried to make it much more user friendly – more like what [students and parents] were used to with Pinnacle. We have thus far had a very good response from Illuminate. They have committed to making the changes that we see fit. Version 3.2 should come out in about a week, and it should address many of the problems we are currently seeing.”

Even with the many improvements, Illuminate has made, there are still issues on the horizon.

“Our next focus is going to be on the first grade report next week,” Kurtenbach said. “I’m anticipating there will be some problems because there always are.”

Though the school is still trying to work out a few last kinks in this system, their belief is that this switch to Illuminate will benefit students, teachers and administration alike in the long run.

“I think we’re all creatures of habit,” English teacher Chon Lee said. “We get used to using certain systems really well. In the long run, I think this will be better once [Illuminate] has implemented our feedback.”

Alison Guh
Staff Writer
aguh@thesamohi.com


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