Report Eviscerates Los Angeles Unified’s MISIS Data System

Superintendent_Ramon_Cortines

There may be a delay in the release of report cards for Los Angeles Unified elementary school students, as another glitch was discovered in the district’s new record keeping system.

Since its launch at the beginning of the school year, the district’s My Integrated Student Information System (MISIS) has been bogged down with issues, from being unable to schedule classes to producing faulty student transcripts.

The latest issue, according to LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines, was an “unexpected outage” for two hours last Wednesday.  All data that had not been saved in that time, such as student grades and attendance records, were lost and need to be re-entered.

That loss of data will not only delay the release of report cards, but also end up pushing back parent-teacher conferences.  In an effort to keep the conferences on track, forms needed were posted to a website for educators to print and hard copies sent to campuses.

“I understand that these setbacks require more effort and time from our employees,” Cortines said. “I am committed to providing compensation for any time that is spent addressing this issue above and beyond the regular work day.”

In order to avoid this situation happening again, Cortines is suggesting to all employees that they regularly save any new data every 15 minutes.

In addition, the district has asked federal and state education officials for help, as well as hired some of the top executives of Microsoft, the company that had been contracted to help build MiSiS, to help identify and resolve any other issues with the program.  Recently an “elite specialist” was sent out help fix the glitches.

A team of independent analysts discovered that there had been issues from the beginning, which included a “lack of communication or understanding of application stability,” prohibiting the success of the program.  Outside expert Arnold Viramontes found that several “red conditions” had risen early on in the rollout and should have signified a “no go.”  Yet, these conditions were ignored by the management team.

In its seven-page Oversight Report, shared with the district board members this morning, Viramontes found: “There are many reasons why the current project plan is not feasible unless it is modified to reflect the dynamics of the implementation.”

A number of fixes have already been completed.  Grades are now showing correctly in the “Gradebook,” and truancy letters show student names.

A hiring freeze was imposed in the district this week in order to help pay to fix MiSiS.  The latest problem could double the estimated cost of $29 million needed to fix the system.  In the meantime, plans to send out paper report cards are being put into action.

In the midst of all the issues with MiSiS, LAUSD CIO Ron Chancellor resigned after five years of service.  It is unclear exactly what led to his resignation.