Charles Wright Academy is an independent day school in Tacoma, WA. With a student population of 540, the school runs from preschool through grade 12. They transitioned to Veracross in 2017 as a solution for their disconnected software systems. 

The Challenge 

A school’s technology solutions are only as useful as they are utilized. Charles Wright Academy learned this the hard way with their previous student information system (SIS). Without proper guidance or training, faculty and staff struggled to use the system to its fullest extent and created complicated internal workflows. Attendance, for example, was a manual — and often inaccurate — process. 

On the academic side, report cards required training each semester. There was no transparency into what was happening in classrooms or how teachers were calculating grades. Educational leaders wanted access to this information to see a full picture of each students’ performance. 

Additionally, the school had a limited number of licenses which meant only certain people could access the platform. The school was using several different systems and didn’t have a primary database of record. Coupled with a clunky web interface, the SIS was hard to use and ultimately did not meet the needs of the Charles Wright community. In 2016 they decided to search for a better solution. 

We were looking for something that could bring disparate elements of our school together. We wanted one database to be the database that brought everything else together.Holly Gerla, Director of Technology, Charles Wright Academy

The Process 

The SIS search process was driven by the admissions team with input from the accounting, communications, registrar, and technology offices. Holly adds that, “It wouldn’t have happened without the support of the Head of School. The leadership team needed to be on board and understand why this was important.” 

After a year of evaluation, product demonstrations, and financial discussions, Charles Wright decided to adopt the Veracross solution. Data transition began in the spring with a full implementation by fall 2017. 

The Veracross Solution 

Today, Veracross is Charles Wright’s primary database of record and powers nearly every department at the school: 

  • Teachers use Veracross to take attendance, view calendars, and post assignments 
  • Students use Veracross to access homework and keep track of upcoming assignments 
  • Accounting uses Veracross for student billing and tuition management 
  • Admissions uses Veracross for enrollment, re-enrollment, and financial aid 
  • Divisional registrars use Veracross to manage academic information, create report cards, and schedule classes 
  • Communications staff use Veracross to send weekly newsletters, mass communications, and configure user portals for employees, parents, students, and board members 
  • After school and extended care programs use Veracross for registration and checking kids in 

With so much information in one central platform, Charles Wright has newfound visibility into department happenings and student progress. It’s easy for faculty, staff, and parents to see exactly where a student is throughout the day. Likewise, it’s great for students to have access to everything they need within one system instead of a disorganized paper planner.  

“It is so helpful to be able to have everything in one place and go back and find things when we need to. This is a really great platform! We should be using it as much as we can, to the best of our ability,” says Holly. 

Since adopting Veracross, Charles Wright has benefitted from the SIS in unexpected ways. Built-in communications tools enable teachers to easily email class parents or send a grade notification to advisors directly from the faculty portal or gradebook. The Advisory Dashboard gives academic advisors powerful insight into their students’ attendance, progress, and updates. Plus: Veracross’ reporting tools have helped the school query data in a faster, easier, and deeper way.  

Being able to structure a query and find what you’re looking for… it is so much easier now for us to get people what they want. I find that using other databases frustrates me because I can’t query things the same way; I can’t batch update data in other systems the same way I can in Veracross. It’s so wonderful… It’s a really quick, easy process rather than a manual process. It’s helped us really tighten up data.Holly Gerla, Director of Technology, Charles Wright Academy

To learn how Veracross can transform your institution with a primary database of record, contact us for a custom demo of our industry-leading SIS.