Mountain View new web links get high marks

BY TOM FONTANA
Correspondent

Mt. View directors heard an update of its new internal technical systems at their meeting Monday night, Jan 27.

James Soya and Matthew Georgetti, who have been overseeing the transfer of data from Skyward (the electronic communications system used by administrators, faculty and students for several years) to Sapphire, the system. The board approved the switch last year.

Soya told the directors that many of the problems experienced with the Skyward system have diminished with the Sapphire program.

“It’s nice to come in in the morning and find everything working,” stated Soya. “The need to call for service on the system is way down compared to what we had with Skyward.”

His presentation highlighted other benefits of the new system, such as a more efficient reporting of disciplinary incidents to administrators, improved access to individual education programs (IEP) for teachers, and increased quality of personal information on students.

Soya indicated that some problems were encountered when transferring data from HealthMaster, the district’s system for tracking student medical information, to Sapphire.

“Student identification numbers were not required for HealthMaster,” he explained, “so only student information with correct ID numbers got transferred successfully to the new system. We spent weeks identifying correct ID numbers.”

He said a second, more successful transfer of data occurred in November after school nurse Melody Haley took “a significant amount of time” to make corrections on student health records. Another data transfer is scheduled for February 6.

According to Soya, Meal Magic (the cafeteria program transferred to Sapphire) has been “well-received” by cashiers and students. “Younger students are entering their pin number themselves,” he said, “instead of the cashier having to scan it for them or look up their number. This speeds up the process of going through the cafeteria line, and results in students having more time to eat.”

He said parents will eventually have the ability to add money to their students’ cafeteria account using the Meal Magic website.

The board ratified a contract with MVESPA, the union for non-education personnel, such as cafeteria and custodial employees, following months of negotiations. The contract covers the period from July 1, 2013, to June 30, 2016.

“It was a long road, but a very positive experience,” stated board president Thomas Stoddard, who chairs the district’s labor relations committee. “And we did it without a mediator, which is unusual for such an extended negotiation period.”

Members of the MVESPA present at the meeting expressed their agreement with Stoddard’s assessment of the process.

In other business, the board approved the following appointments: Anthony Borgia as junior varsity baseball coach; Jonathan Rogan as long term high school art substitute; and George Paterno as long term elementary music substitute.