Greenwich Country Day School is a co-educational independent day school in Greenwich, CT serving 1,445 students. In September 2019, the School finalized the acquisition of a nearby high school and became a nursery through grade 12 institution. They moved to Veracross in early 2021 as a solution to their growing needs. 

The Problem 

At the time of their acquisition, Greenwich Country Day School had been operating with their previous student information system (SIS) for five years. They had begun to experience some operational issues with their old system which were only amplified by their rapid growth. Along with a sudden increase in enrollment, they also added changes to their academic structure, new divisions, and adjustments to business operations that their previous SIS simply could not support due to its rigid and outdated structure. Greenwich Country Day desired to move to a new system that was flexible and could grow with the School as it evolved.  

“We needed a system that could adapt to our [new] circumstances,” says Evan Kanouse, Assistant Director of Academic Technology and Database Administrator.  

The Process 

Kanouse led the search for a new SIS. At the time, he had recently transitioned to his technology role and was able to approach the task with fresh eyes and strategic change management. 

First, he identified internal stakeholders that used or were impacted by the school’s SIS. He then interviewed the stakeholders to identify their challenges with the current system and wish list for a new solution.  

“I quickly learned that moving your student information system is perhaps the biggest change you can make at your school. It touches absolutely everybody; there were moments I came into work and that scared me, and there were moments I came into work and that excited me. As we got closer and closer to choosing Veracross, I got more excited and less scared.” 

The main criteria for internal stakeholders included:  

  • Single source of truth: Greenwich Country Day was operating with a “patchwork of systems and databases.” They wanted an SIS that could consolidate multiple systems and provide a master record for all constituents. 
  • Web-based: their previous SIS required on-premise access and VPNs. They wanted a cloud-based solution that could be accessible anytime, anywhere to authorized users. 
  • User experience: they were looking for a system that was simple yet complex. It needed to be easy for faculty to navigate while providing administrators with a heightened ability to run queries and analyze data.  
  • Adaptable: above all else, they needed an SIS that was flexible and could grow with the school’s changing needs. They wanted something that would set them up for success not just now, but in the future. 

After assessing various software options, Kanouse was convinced that Veracross was the right choice for Greenwich Country Day. “I truly was an advocate for Veracross because I knew it was going to be the right pick for us,” he recalls.  

He also knew that there can be a strong emotional attachment to software systems and wanted to thoughtfully appeal to stakeholders’ requests. Kanouse was intentional about not badmouthing prior systems and workflows; rather, focusing on the key aspects of Veracross that would make a positive change and enable a multi-faceted school-wide system.  

It’s not just a conversation about a piece of technology in isolation… but a piece of tech that is going to support what we’re already focusing on as a larger school. We’ve given [the old system] as much love as we can, but more complex processes necessitate more advanced tools!

Along with aligning the conversation around the school’s mission, Kanouse was intentional about showcasing how disjointed their current software practices were. He mapped out every separate system to show the places that didn’t speak to each other and then compared it to Veracross’ integrated platform. By emphasizing this distinction, Kanouse illustrated how adopting Veracross would help the school ultimately provide a higher level of student care through a cohesive, connected platform.  

There were budget benefits, too. 

“I was able to show that we’re going to be able to consolidate a variety of systems into one system, and that not only has workflow and process benefits but it also has budgetary benefits as well. That’s one less subscription fee we’re going to be paying to some random vendor, and that ultimately helped demonstrate the value in what we were providing with Veracross.” 

The Veracross Solution 

Greenwich Country Day adopted Veracross in early 2021. Faculty and staff have acclimated well to the change; now that they have a sense for what Veracross can do, they rely on it more and are excited to “get creative” with the platform’s capabilities. 

For example, the school has begun conducting institutional research using data from Veracross. Whereas information about attendance, health and wellness, grades, and analytical scores previously existed in separate systems, now it lives in a single-record database. The school can easily access this data and use it to holistically assess students in ways that weren’t possible before. “We know a lot more about our student population through institutional research,” says Kanouse.  

Veracross is excited to support Greenwich Country Day as they continue to grow. 

A Comprehensive Guide to SIS Change Management

We collaborated with Evan and numerous other tech leaders on a (free!) guide for strategic change management at private and independent schools.