“During our evaluation process, we found that there are many viable student information systems in the market that met many of our requirements,” said Rich Allen, manager of database services for Hunterdon Central. “Aspen, however, differentiated itself from the others not only by providing excellent solutions to today’s needs, but by demonstrating excellent anticipation of upcoming demands.”
Late last year, the district embarked on an extensive search to replace its existing SIS, with school officials seeking a system providing maximum usability and functionality. Not only did the 19-member evaluation team find a SIS that performed nearly 100 percent of the some 1,800 functional requirements it was seeking, but, in Aspen, it found a system that performed tasks the district wasn’t aware it needed.
“In hockey, they say you need to skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been,” Allen said. “Follett Software has proven that they are skating to where the puck will be with their Aspen platform.”
Follett Software is confident that its new Aspen Curriculum and Learning, which will formally launch later this month, is proof of Allen’s analysis and represents a new way to think of Aspen. The addition of curriculum and learning to the SIS creates a more expansive and collaborative environment for districts, teachers, students and parents. “Aspen’s new Curriculum and Learning, Teacher Portal and Family Portal complete the learning life cycle in a way that I have never seen, let alone from a single product,” Allen observed.
Hunterdon Central Superintendent Christina Steffner said the pursuit of a new SIS is testimony to the district operating with the mindset of that of a traditional business. “With 3,200 students and more than 300 teachers, we needed to increase efficiency, and increase the level of interaction between the students and parents,” Steffner said. “We operate with the philosophy that the students are our business and the community is our client base.”
Hunterdon Central is the first district in New Jersey to adopt Aspen, and Allen said he is fully confident that the SIS also will meet the challenges of important state reporting issues. Aspen has recently seamlessly debuted in other states, such as Illinois, Virginia, Michigan and Washington.
While new to Aspen, Hunterdon Central is very familiar with Follett Software as it has been a longtime Destiny Library Manager customer. “Our consistently positive experiences with the Destiny support team added to our confidence in Follett Software,” Allen said.
One of New Jersey’s largest high school districts, Hunterdon Central serves five municipalities: Delaware Township, East Amwell Township, Flemington Borough, Raritan Township, and Readington Township.