Monday 30 May 2011

Area Schools Conference

I was fortunate enough to be at the Area Schools Conference last week held at the James Cook in Wellington - MUSAC being a key sponsor. We offered two free workshops this year: one hosted by Cheryl from Solutions and Services on the topic of MUSAC Accounts (Financial Manager) and the second hosted by Mal (again Solutions and Services) with the focus on student achievement and in particular data management, analysis and reporting to parents.

It is great sometimes to just sit back and enjoy the ride - Cheryl making things easier for administration staff with tips and tricks around the use of the package, backed by sound accounting practice.  And then listen to Mal as he simplified ClassRoom Manager, but again spoke in relation to real information that teachers and managers want to know about students and their progress and achievement. We're in a very fortunate niche situation in that we are the only vendor formally recognised as catering for junior, middle and senior school needs - particularly around achievement. What I'm also saying here is that it wasn't the software features or just the people, it was the two working in combination to provide people in schools with ways to make their jobs easier.

As we do, we also joined in some of the social side of the conference and got to meet an array of great people doing a tough job in often remote areas, on a small scale with all the high expectations of community and Ministry. I take my hat off to them.

Tuesday 17 May 2011

Recruitment drive

Some of you may have seen MUSAC has been undertaking a major recruitment drive in the recent months. At the end of this drive our staff numbers will be around 30 - a major contrast from the early days of Rory and Doug in one of the Massey University windowless offices in the early 90's.

We're conscious that we've not got our new web application to the level you want it so we've put a bit more weight behind that project. We're also working harder on better support and so in order to free people up to make improvements we've added more resource in support also. All this as well as keeping up with all the demands of the Ministry and NZQA around NCEA, National Standards and interoperability.

If you've missed our advertisements we're looking for developers and business analysts on a fixed term and permanent basis. Development is Agile, so experience there is a must. Find us on Seek or

First step complete

It is no secret that MUSAC is developing an online educational management system. There is mixed understanding when this was initiatied and when it will be "finished". What is clear is that last year we completed a first step, albeit a baby step - we've got a number of schools using the functions we've built. It is not a finished all singing and all dancing student management system - there is a lot of work to do yet. But we have achieved a major milestone. It is in the cloud and it is live.

Those who have been in and around MUSAC for some time have probably heard of the historic false starts, the great promise of what will come - much of which did not. This product has achieved what the previous ones didn't - it is real and being used. It has a way to go to be what we envision it to be - affordbale for all schools, easy to use and strongly supported - but it is a real step in a direction that will underpin the very future of education in many, many New Zealand schools.

I'll be updating you with more about our progress, vision and points of difference as the year unfolds.