As we wrap up another school year, we're taking a moment to look back at the most impactful trends we spotted in private and independent schools over the past few years. Our 2023 Trends and Insights into the State of Schools Report and 2022 K-12 Trends Report lend us valuable insights into what to expect in the years to come and how schools can boost their visibility, efficiency, fundraising efforts, and retention rates.
BigSIS Features (aka 'modules')
Learn more about our flexible modular system
The features are components of functionality that can extend your BigSIS installation. You decide what you need and add more as you grow.
Filter the Features for User Groups
Investing in cloud-based, connected systems to improve efficiency is a top priority for schools, according to our 2023 State of Education Report. A modern student information system (SIS) is the perfect starting point to accomplish these goals; it lays the groundwork for all school functions and connects data between systems.
Technology changes quickly. At Community Brands, we keep a pulse on the latest K-12 technology trends—and implement them within our solutions—so that you can focus on building your school mission and community.
Get to Know BigSIS
Founder Ben Alexandra created BigSIS to provide an all-in-one, user-friendly experience for staff and families. As a parent, he saw the value in having a system that connected each step of the process. Plus, he recognized that staff and families are not always technology experts—nor should they be! He created BigSIS to be intuitive and easy to use for everyone.
Just like a well-worn pair of shoes, your admission process may have started off working well for your school—it fit perfectly and matched up well with your needs at the time. Over time, as your school has evolved, it has become clear that you are outgrowing your current process once again.
The Student Reports & Grades module is part of the teacher portal. Teachers may log in, view their courses and write narrative progress reports (alternatively, end-of-year reports, end-of-semester reports, or report cards) for each student, including an option to fill out a rubric-style matrix assessment.
The Attendance & Truancy Management tool allows you to track the attendance of the students enrolled in any given semester by the day and/or by their courses. Attendance can be taken via a computer or tablet in the classroom, or on paper and entered later. You set up the attendance groups (Present, Late, Absent, Suspended, Etc.) that you want, and then each group can have as many statuses as needed (Late – Excused, Late – Unexcused (no note), Late – Unexcused (has note), etc.).
Our Integrated Email system allows you to select any segment of people in your database (e.g., grandparents, alumni, parents of current 2nd graders, etc.) and send them all an email simultaneously. We’re not talking about a group email, but rather something far more powerful because each individual you email will receive a personalized email just for them. So if you are emailing parents of students in a certain course, for example, you can use what we call data markers that are replaced with the individual’s data (e.g., the parent’s name, the student’s name and current grade, the course, etc.) when the email is sent.
The Leads Management with Tasks tool is an admissions module that allows you to keep track of prospective students (“leads”) from the first inquiry through the application and visitation phases and on through enrollment. You can set up your own workflow that conforms to your school’s admissions process, creating and assigning tasks for each team member to complete in order to keep the admissions process flowing from beginning to end.
Our Volunteer Management module allows users to sign up for volunteer opportunities in the system and then submit the the hours they completed. If you require a minimum number of volunteer hours per year for your parents, you can use this tool to allow them to sign up for tasks and track their progress.
The Calendars & Events tool is a powerful and flexible calendar program that is built right into BigSIS. It allows for multiple sub-calendars, each with their own events. You will also have the option to make public and private sub-calendars by controlling the viewing permissions of your calendar users.
The DocumentCenter allows you to upload unlimited documents in any format (PDF, JPEG, MS Word, etc.), for parents or other users to download and view. It will also be where reports, such as transcripts and the student reports, are output in PDF format that are then automatically shared with the parents of the students (at your discretion) via the portal.
The Donations & Fundraising module is a development tool that allows you to track your gifts and pledges and their associated campaigns, funds and appeals. And because the majority of people who donate or are potential donors (parents, grandparents, alumni, etc.) will already be in BigSIS, it’s the perfect place to track your current donations and solicit new ones!
Online Applications is a seamless extension of the new Leads module (above). It builds on our “multi-page form” engine (read more under Free Features below) and allows you to create customized online applications that prospective families can fill out (and sign) via the portal.
Online Contracts is another seamless extension of the new Leads module. Like Online Applications, it also builds on our “multi-page form” engine (read more under Free Features below) and allows you to create an online contract that collects any information you need, and can list out a line-by-line contract that can be completely customized for each student.
The new Mail Merge functionality gives you an MS Word-style editor right in your browser. With a large array of merge fields, you can customize your mail merge documents with data from BigSIS, such as names, addresses, amounts, and much more.
With the Student Management module you can begin to track student details for any person in your database. This includes tracking admission details as well as every enrollment and registration. This module also allows you to set up courses and assign grades and/or written reports for each registration.