Solutions

Large K–12 school district carries out a wide range of internal support functions with FileMaker Pro databases

Albuquerque Public Schools, Manzano Cluster

Covering a geographical area roughly the size of Rhode Island, the Albuquerque Public School District is the 25th largest educational jurisdiction in the United States. With more than 11,000 employees, it is one of the largest individual employers in the state of New Mexico. For such a far–ranging operation, efficient management is necessary, and with the arrival of the new FileMaker Pro 8, those needs will be met even more effectively.

Overview

  • 25th largest school district in the United States, encompassing approximately 130 K–12 schools.
  • Based in Albuquerque, NM
  • More than 11,000 employees

Industry

  • K–12 Education

Solutions

  • FileMaker Pro databases provide custom–developed solutions for a variety of functions, including discipline and visitor tracking, payments for services, warehouse cataloguing, and extensive internal program planning.

Benefits

  • Tabbed layouts in FileMaker Pro 8 simplify presentation of multiple levels of information in each record.
  • Excel Maker feature enhances sharing of data with Excel–dependent departments within district
  • Calculation databases improve accountability in dealing with mandatory tabulations.

Business Challenge

For every school district, there are basic information management issues, facts and figures which must be collected, collated, documented, and reported, from data on individual students to details of daily administrative functions. That is even more so for a vast operation like the Albuquerque Public School District. "Our needs are the same, only magnified," comments Instructional Cluster Assistant Ken Tuley. "We have many more uses for a quality database." Some of those uses include tracking student discipline reports, documenting visitors to the various schools, cataloguing items stocked in the district warehouse, and bus scheduling, which requires detailed tabulations of class schedules to ensure each educational day meets state requirements, and preparing Educational Plans for Student Success, a school's roadmap to improved instruction.

The district turned to FileMaker Pro nearly a decade ago, and has implemented each successive update of the software to the present. "The need for a cross–platform solution led us to FileMaker Pro," Ken continues. "A tremendous bonus was the ability to web–publish these databases, thus making information available to the more casual users in the district, those who just needed to look up information."

Successful Solution

The district maintains individualized FileMaker Pro databases for each function. "Each solution is unique to the challenge," Ken states. "Some are web–enabled, allowing staff to input or retrieve appropriate data, but as our solutions get more involved and complicated, we're doing less web publishing and more pure FileMaker Pro solutions. But I expect we'll move back toward the web due to the improvements in security and Instant Web Publishing that are now available."

The feature I'm most excited about is the tab feature. In my current solutions it took multiple layouts to get all the information on the screen. Now, with tabs, I can do it in one layout. Talk about simplifying things!

— Ken Tuley, Instructional Cluster Assistant, Albuquerque Public Schools — Manzano Cluster

Today the district's FileMaker Pro server handles a total of 70 files, covering over 40 individual solutions, Other solutions operate locally, meeting the needs of specific schools in the district, but are not distributed system–wide. FileMaker Pro developer Marcus Silving of Phoenix–based Waves In Motion provides valuable development assistance.

Customer Benefits

The introduction of the new FileMaker Pro 8 means even greater day–to–day efficiency for the district, and Ken is enthusiastic about the software's new development tools. "The feature I'm most excited about is the tab feature," he enthuses. "In my current solutions it took multiple layouts to get all the information on the screen. Now, with tabs, I can do it in one layout. Talk about simplifying things!" Ken also gives high marks to its capacity for handling elaborate calculations. "I believe some of the calculations we are now implementing in databases provide a level of accountability that was previously non–existent," he stresses. "Where there were direct violations of state law regarding instructional time that were ignored, the accurate calculation of class minutes means the law is now enforced."

End users also benefit. The new PDF Maker and Excel Maker functions will greatly expedite the distribution of essential inter–departmental data. "I'm excited about adding PDFs to my solutions," Ken continues, "and with many of our business departments dependent on Excel, the Excel Maker feature will also come in handy."

Ken expects database users will find a smooth transition to FileMaker Pro 8. "Now that we're used to the new engine (of FileMaker Pro 7)," he concludes, "things are easier to use, and certainly easier to develop. I can't wait until we can move all our old solutions to FileMaker Pro 8!"

For FileMaker:

Kevin Mallon
Public Relations Manager
FileMaker Inc.
408-987-7227
kevin_mallon@filemaker.com
http://www.filemaker.com

For Albuquerque Public Schools, Manzano Cluster:

Ken Tuley
Instructional Cluster Assistant
Albuquerque Public Schools, Manzano Cluster
505-881-0840
ktuley@mac.com