Likelihood to Recommend
We often had students who came and took a class or completed a program, left, and then came back for something else at a later time. It was nice to be able to have someone in Jenzabar SONIS with multiple statuses. They could be in as a Student for the current class while still being in as an Alumni for the program they had graduated from. Most of our programs are set up so the students within that program are all taking the same courses at the same time. The bulk registration feature made it easy to enroll one student and then use that student's enrollment to quickly enroll all of the others in the program. That was a huge time saver. We had letters and emails that we wanted to send out at specific times in the application process. The Activity tool in Jenzabar SONIS made it easy for us to have some things that were automatically added to a person's record and others that we could add as needed. We could then run timed letters or emails and get our communication sent out. We had some challenges with Jenzabar SONIS because we have a number of certificate programs that are only one semester in length. We often had students who would complete one certificate (program) in the fall and then complete another one in the spring. Many of the reports pulled data only for the active enrollment so we had to go back and manually pull the data for the enrollment from the other semester if we needed something for the full school year.
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Specifically speaking, SchoolSpeak is best used and only really utilized in education. From K-12 it serves a great purpose in terms of parent interaction and direct communication with parents about child performance, attendance, and scores in school. At younger ages, I think it will be even more appropriate for it to be used to create strictly parent platforms for helping them enroll in things they can do at home for their kids, teach their own children, and monitor their own children—especially if they are stay-at-home parents, homeschooling, or the children are not enrolled in school yet. I think a great idea would be creating a parent portal for newborns with daily activities to do from birth through age three, when they may go to pre-school. This is the only additional option I think that SchoolSpeak could serve.
Read full review Pros Great value Built in reports are great, but it also has add on reporting that is fantastic. Hosting they offer is phenomenal nearly no downtime, ever! Read full review One thing it does well is one of the tools it incorporation, volunteer forms. These forms work for parents, teachers, and students. One of the hardest things to do is to get confirmation sign-ups and support. This streamlines the process of organizing events. The gradebook interface is easy to use and understand. In order to take attendance, complete grades and give assignments, SchoolSpeak actually is an easy platform to learn and is smoothly integrated. Archiving of past classes is easy to do and important because schools need to retain records for a long time after students have moved on. The platform lets you organize students and find them quickly by graduation. Read full review Cons SONIS sorts my advisees by class and then by name. This is NOT useful. There should be an option for sorting by name only. I advise almost fifty students. It wastes my time looking for them in the sophomore listing, then the junior listing...... When registration of a student for semester courses is complete, there should be an option to print out only the courses scheduled, NOT the entire page which shows available courses at the bottom. SONIS sometimes kicks me out for no reason. Read full review It can definitely have room for improvement in the design and template options. Using a more appealing layout like WIX or WEEBLY offer, but integrating the school speak platform into it would be a wonderful layout and great functionality. I would love to see social media integration. For business courses and media courses, there should be the ability to have social platforms connect directly and load within ShcoolSpeak. Social Media is the newest marketing strategy and it is left out of functionality here. Custom font downloads would make the design much easier and more attractive. The fonts they allow you to use are basic and overly common. Read full review Alternatives Considered
We changed databases in 2011 because the company we were with was going to quit supporting our software. We evaluated a number of different SISs available at the time and felt Jenzabar SONIS provided the best tools for our school. Most of the others were either geared more for adult education, individual course offerings or for schools that primarily had degree-seeking students. We needed something that could address both needs.We felt Jenzabar SONIS did that best of the ones we reviewed.
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Moodle Rooms is a free platform but involves the need to be computer savvy. It is easy to use as well as SchoolSpeak. However, SchoolSpeak does have a direct communication platform with parents something that Moodle does not currently offer. This itself is a huge competitive advantage. The comparison then becomes, would you like to do less work but purchase SchoolSpeak, or do more work using multiple platforms but they are free. The SchoolSpeak platform does offer much more for the investment. Longer term and with full school integration, the investment is worth it. If you were to mandate using a platform, it should be SchoolSpeak because there are fewer risks associated with having to coach and education teachers, and less risk of complaints.
Read full review Return on Investment Facilitates grade input by faculty. Facilitates course enrollment by students. Facilitates viewing student records and determining progress to program completion. Read full review Positively speaking, it has a positive ROI. Although expensive, the platform does solve issues that we as educators have in giving parents daily information about their child in school. It is difficult to email all parents or call all parents, but a one-click platform really saves time and is worth the investment. Negatively, there is a cost associated, and therefore, sometimes teachers can be given more work instead of buying a platform like this. Using other free tools could be more time consuming but cheaper. Using School Speak we have seen parent involvement increase. Read full review ScreenShots