Park City Day School is a preschool through eighth grade independent day school in Park City, Utah. They implemented the Veracross student information system in 2023 after a decade with Blackbaud. 

The Challenge 

After relying on Blackbaud as their student information system (SIS) and primary database for years, Park City Day School began to experience several frustrations with the system.  

Lack of communication and poor customer support topped the list of complaints at Park City Day School. “You had to mentally prepare if you ran into a problem: how are we going to handle this? Who are we going to get on the phone? Will it be one phone call or five? It wasn’t consistent,” says Julia Farnes, Content & Technology Manager. 

Additionally, the database was a mess. “Our system had become so clogged with multiple identities and people having security roles that had been gone for five years… it felt like a very clunky and clogged system,” says Farnes. “We were at the point where it was so bad, we needed to start over, and we weren’t getting the service that we felt was our money’s worth.” 

Every staff meeting eventually circled back to the school’s frustrations with the SIS, leading Farnes to spearhead the search for a new software partner. 

The Process 

Park City Day School’s search for a new SIS began with market research and word-of-mouth recommendations from peer schools. Farnes learned about Veracross through a friend at another school and was “immediately amazed at how much better the interface was.” 

She booked a demo to preview the Veracross SIS with the larger administration team. “Everyone who sat on the demo was very impressed by what they saw,” says Farnes. “It was a breath of fresh air from what we had been dealing with.” 

The school also spoke with parents who were familiar with Veracross from other schools in the area. “Every person we knew that was familiar with Veracross gave us positive feedback,” says Farnes. “It gave us the green light to move forward.” 

The timing worked out well as Park City Day School’s contract with Blackbaud was winding down. Veracross implementation began in January 2023 with Academics, Admissions & Enrollment, and Student Billing. They were up and running with everything in time to launch tuition payments in July. The Development module was implemented soon after. 

Everyone we’ve worked with through the implementation process has been so kind and helpful.Julia Farnes, Content & Technology Manager

Once the major modules were implemented, the school provided hands-on training for faculty and staff prior to the start of the academic year.  

The Impact 

The school quickly began to benefit from their new SIS. One of the biggest improvements with Veracross is customer support and communication. “When we come into a problem, the support case dynamic is so user-friendly,” says Farnes. “You can get an answer in an hour… I’ve never waited more than twelve hours or so for a low priority item.”  

Teachers and parents also benefit from an interface that’s both easy to manage and easy to use. In the past, teachers had trouble accessing things like report cards and were constantly asking Farnes for assistance. With Veracross, faculty and staff are equipped and empowered to find what they need on their own.  

Our teachers were very nervous for this move. Blackbaud was frustrating to use so they brought a lot of baggage to the table. Everyone feels a lot more comfortable now.Julia Farnes, Content & Technology Manager

Communication with families has also improved. Teachers were so frustrated with Blackbaud that they often sent school communications directly through Gmail instead of the SIS. This led to a large communication gap between the school and their community. Since the switch, teachers have quickly embraced Veracross’s communication tools like the built-in email builder and Parent Portal for weekly newsletters and classroom updates. 

“It has been a 180… We’ve gotten so many compliments that we’re on the ball with our communication,” says Farnes. “Everything looks in sync and similar.”  

Veracross and Park City Day School 

Today, Park City Day School is fully acclimated to the Veracross SIS with plans to expand their use in the future. Farnes’s goal is to help administrators become self-sufficient with the platform and further maximize the benefits of the system. To learn more about their journey to Veracross, catch up on our on-demand webinar