Increase Parent Engagement with Blackbaud's Education Management Solution
Updated May 29, 2021

Increase Parent Engagement with Blackbaud's Education Management Solution

Rick Geyer | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Blackbaud Education Management Solutions

Blackbaud's Education Management Solution is used across our entire organization. It is the main database that drives our organizational activities. Admissions, Registrar, Billing Office, Teachers, Administrators, everyone uses the system is some way to help carry out their job functions. The main problem this system solves is providing access to key stakeholder data without the need to duplicate data or update data in multiple locations. It also acts as our primary communication tool to our families.
  • The Enrollment Management solution works well in providing a user friendly experience for potential students, and also does a good job of tracking candidates through the various phases of the application process.
  • The parent portal and the use of community groups works well for getting accurate communications out to the appropriates constituents. As a larger school, it was challenging making sure everyone was informed about the upcoming events and information that was pertinent to them. With the use of the various groups in Blackbaud's solution, we have been able to tailor our communication so that everyone gets the right communication without having to send everything to everybody.
  • Blackbaud has several modules, but they all connect back to a Core database, that way common biographical information is shared between the various modules, and if it is updated, it updates everywhere.
  • Their system has an Open API and is OneRoster and LTI compliant. This allows their system to easily connect to other learning tools and systems to share information without having to perform numerous exports and imports to keep information in sync.
  • I would like to see a wider array of fields available to their User Lists and Insight Designer. Currently, some information is only available through Advanced Lists, which is an older platform for querying data and is much more difficult for standard users to work with. Making more fields available to the User Lists would make it easier for standard users to gain access to the data they need without having to involve a data administrator or power user. Making all the fields available to the insight designer would allow me to build custom Dashboard for Administrators, which would make KPI data very accessible to those individuals and reduce my overhead to provide it.
  • I would like to see some workflow changes and enhancements made to their attendance module. While there are many great features, some of the workflows put in place make the use of this module hard to manage for larger schools.
  • I would like to see the user roles/permission module revamped to allow for more granularity when granting access to parts of the system. I know they are actively working on revamping this, but it is still currently an opportunity for improvement.
  • It has allowed our teachers to more easily integrate technology into their classroom lessons.
  • It has given us a clear communication channel with our families and a singular landing spot to find out information about the school
  • We would not have been as successful as we were during the COVID stay at home order if it were not for the Blackbaud Platform. We were successfully able to continue doing school and were able to make the transition fairly smoothly.
Over the years they have worked hard to provide competent, well trained support staff. While I may not have always rated them this high, they have been performing at a pretty consistent level for a while now. Between using the knowledgebase, chat, or phone call options, I feel well supported when I need assistance.
If you want to provide a more tailored user experience for your families, then I would recommend the Blackbaud solution. It is flexible enough to allow you to use the system in a way that best suits your school, and the seamless integration between the various modules provides a cohesive user experience. If you are a smaller school that does not have anyone with advanced technical expertise on your campus, it could be a challenge to get the system set up to meet your needs, but this can also be overcome with user training that Blackbaud can provide.

Integrating Blackbaud Education Management Solutions

Blackbaud's solution is LTI compliant which should make it easy to interconnect with other LTI-compliant solutions, however some of the ones we would like to connect with do not currently have a partnership with Blackbaud. I would like to see them expand their network of connected 3rd party applications so that their customers had more flexibility with who they could partner with for additional solutions or enhancements.
  • VisitU
  • CrisisGo
  • TurnitIn
  • GSuite Course Kit
Both VisitU and CrisisGo pull student data from Blackbaud to populate their solutions. This data is synced regularly to ensure it is accurate and up to date. CrisisGo also syncs faculty data and class roster data. In both cases, the integration is a one way push from Blackbaud to the 3rd party product.

For Turnitin and GSuite Couse Kit, there is two way integration. Student Roster data is pushed to both and then the grades are pushed back into the teacher's gradebook from the assignments that leverage these two solutions.

None of these integrations were terribly difficult to set up, however documentation is sometimes hard to find to get it set up initially. Once it is set up, you really do not have to mess with it again after that.
  • SchoolPass
SchoolPass does have a very tight integration with Blackbaud's SIS. We are looking forward to using them so that we can pass student sign in/sign out data back into the SIS so that we can get away from a lot of manual data entry.
  • File import/export
  • Single Signon
  • API (e.g. SOAP or REST)
Not to my knowledge.
Always make sure to ask any thirds party vendor what exactly their integration includes. Many companies claim to have an "integration," but when you get into how tight of an integration it is, it can be very superficial. Make sure you know exactly what you are getting and what you are paying for with an integration.