Blackbaud to Whipple Hill and back again.
Updated February 17, 2022

Blackbaud to Whipple Hill and back again.

JT Amirault | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Blackbaud Education Management Solutions

Blackbaud Education Management Solutions is used campus-wide as our primary solution for managing student information, learning management, admission/enrollment, public website, and athletics/extra-curricular, advancement, conduct, and accounting. Teachers post and students access class materials, assignments, assessments, grades, and schedules; teachers record class attendance, communicate with students and parents, view student progress and permissions/clearances for extracurricular activities; parents view student info, progress/report cards, and submit online forms. Grades and attendance data fuel program to determine and support at-risk students and eligibility for extra-curricular activities. Data also drives review of gender-based performance differences and classroom space utilization. Off-campus tutors access course information to keep in sync with on-campus classes. Resources are posted such as information sheets, how-to videos, school and area resource links, calendars, etc. Athletic teams, games and practice schedules, and results are managed. A school store sells logo'd products. Event registration and online giving is utilized. Parents, students, and employees access the authenticated area of the site while all the public-at-large access the front-face website. Tight integration with G-Suite augments Blackbaud and enhances collaboration.

Pros

  • Classroom management of rosters, assignments/assessment, and grading at a class grade book level and grades for report cards. The grading function is flexible in terms of how a teacher might manage their class grade book and support consistency for rolling up grades for report cards.
  • "Pushpage" communications to constituents is a powerful tool for targeted messages and for tracking results of messages read, bounced, opt-out, and clicked through.

Cons

  • In attendance management, there is a nice feature to alert parents and staff when a student reaches a threshold for number of times tardy. It is difficult to do the same for absences ... we have a policy that when a student reaches a threshold of number of classes absent, their grade starts getting reduced for each additional absence. This is hard to track at a class level ... 5 absences could be 1 day out missing 5 different classes or it could be across multiple days and be 5 misses of the same class.
  • Online forms have good basic functions, however, additional formatting control and ability to include/merge more data from student records would greatly add value.
  • easier integration with other SIS / LMS ... like CANVAS and google classroom
  • All teachers use the grade book and report card grading functions. This is a big positive for teacher time as well as for administration.
  • Online course materials, assignments, and assessments have help reduced paper usage.
I am generally quite pleased with support so I give it a 8 - really hard to get a a top score from me. I find the support online chat to be most useful ... generally short queue times and always good support reps. This rating is for the support operation. Expanding beyond the support operations and reps, I am somewhat less satisfied with the responses ... "... not supported ...". The support department organization often completely resolves my issue and/or answers my question. But, despite quick and professional support, I may still have an unmet destire/need.

Do you think Blackbaud Education Management Solutions delivers good value for the price?

Yes

Are you happy with Blackbaud Education Management Solutions's feature set?

Yes

Did Blackbaud Education Management Solutions live up to sales and marketing promises?

I wasn't involved with the selection/purchase process

Did implementation of Blackbaud Education Management Solutions go as expected?

I wasn't involved with the implementation phase

Would you buy Blackbaud Education Management Solutions again?

Yes

Tough question ... direct experience at two schools demonstrate this is well suited to private prep schools. It is not clear to me in which schools it would be less appropriate. Perhaps, a school without a 1-1 tech program would find less value as this is all about the online experience.

Integrating Blackbaud Education Management Solutions

  • RUVNA
  • Pick A Time
  • GSuite
  • CANVAS
Blackbaud offers various approaches to integration including a full API. Some integrations were simple, like RUVNA and Pick A Time. Some a bit more complex, like GSuite. While others, like CANVAS, was a full coding / development effort.
  • File import/export
  • Single Signon
  • API (e.g. SOAP or REST)
Go searching in forums. There is a rich community of users sharing questions, ideas, challenges, and solutions.

Using Blackbaud Education Management Solutions

2100 - Students = 760 Teachers = 78 Staff = 50 (primarily: business office = 3, advancement = 6, enrollment = 4, counseling = 7, admin = 10) Parents = 1200
2 - Beyond the obvious strong general computer skills ... A strong data skillset is valuable for integration support and for extracting / reporting beyond canned reports and lists. People skills ... have to work with the users. Big picture skills ... support often comes at an individual level, but, a view of the big picture and interdependencies of process and information is valuable.
  • Support for CARS (Care for At Risk Students) helping to highlight students with low academic performance to target additional student services.
  • Extra curricular eligibility ... gradebook data feeds a dashboard highlighting students at risk of becoming ineligible due to poor grades.
  • Space (buildings/rooms) utilization data is being used to inform planning for a new facility design.
  • Learning management, report cards, transcripts
  • Sharing of specialized student support plans (IEP, 504) with teachers.
  • Website public/frontend
  • Expand to include alumni
  • Take advantage of admission event scheduling (prospects self help to available visit schedule slots)
  • Expand to use proficiency based model
Meeting our needs. No gaping holes motivating need for change.

Evaluating Blackbaud Education Management Solutions and Competitors

Yes - Rediker - not sure direct reasons for replacement as it was before my time here
  • Product Features
  • Prior Experience with the Product
prior experience demonstrated the value
a better organized cross-discipline "team"

Blackbaud Education Management Solutions Support

ProsCons
Quick Resolution
Good followup
Knowledgeable team
Problems get solved
Kept well informed
Immediate help available
Support understands my problem
Support cares about my success
Quick Initial Response
None
not sure of our specific support agreement
Yes - I have seen some bugs that I reported get fixed very quickly, other longer time and others still on a queue
Would have to look back at details, but, a particular case was causing difficulty for teachers to view assignment information. I felt my case was the first one to report the issue and there was a fix posted the same day. But, may times, I a strong and quick answers that help me over hurdles in my path.

Using Blackbaud Education Management Solutions

Blackbaud EMS is very usable from my perspective. I am a power user and get lots of valuable functionality. It is, however, a complex system. Sometimes necessarily complex to accommodate flexibility for diverse customer needs. Some complexity seems unnecessary and/or hold-over functionality from earlier versions; nice to see this type being evolved away from over time. It is valuable to receive regular updates to the system along with good release notes of what changed and notices of significant changes in advance.
ProsCons
Like to use
Easy to use
Well integrated
Consistent
Quick to learn
Convenient
Feel confident using
Familiar
Requires technical support
  • lists (student, users, courses, etc)
  • some nice integrations, for example, with Pick-a-time and RUVNA
  • view student progress (as student, parent, advisor, etc)
  • Forms (applications and school forms): I always want more control over forms such as conditional logic, better validation controls, cleaner handling of households (with both physical and mailing address) and separate households.
  • programmatic access to form submission info (via API or Advance Lists).
  • producing mailing labels (in general and specifically for various addresses for a given student/family)
Yes - many users access via the mobile interface, works fine when I do, no negative feedback from users on the mobile interface.

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