School Management System

Frequent Questions

When it comes to choosing the right software solution for your school we know you’ll have some questions. Take a look below to see answers to our most common questions.

 


 

How do I get started?

If you would like to begin your free 30-day trial of Sycamore School, or if you have questions, connect with our Sales Department by calling 866.757.4968 or click on the green “Start Free Trial” button in the left-hand menu.

How does your pricing work?

Sycamore’s pricing is designed to be simple and affordable. A one-time start-up fee of $1000 is paid initially, and thereafter your school will only pay a monthly subscription based on enrollment. Our pricing includes the full functionality of our system, meaning you will never be charged on a per-module basis. Similiarly, when new features and enhancements are added within Sycamore School, they are available to our users at no additional cost.

Why is Sycamore School so affordable?

Sycamore strives to keep our system affordable for any size school. That has been our mission from the beginning. We are not module-based which means that customers have access to every feature we have available, and there is never a fee for upgrades or enhancements made to the system.

Do you have any schools in my area?

Sycamore currently has schools across the country and around the world. If you are interested in knowing which schools are in your area or would like references, please contact the Sales Department by calling 866.757.4968.

Does customer support cost extra?

Customer support is provided to the two “Super Users” of your school free of charge. We recommend the Super Users to be two individuals who are familiar with general school procedures (such as school calendars, grading and report card procedures, grading scales, etc.), as the Super Users are the liasons between Sycamore Education and your school. Super Users are able to get in contact with our Support team by submitting tickets or via telephone. Because we serve thousands of school staff, we encourage them to contact their Super User if they are experiencing a problem or have a question. Then, if necessary, the Super User can contact Support.

Do you have software integrations with other companies?

Yes. Sycamore is fortunate to have partnered with some outstanding companies. Sycamore School currently has software integrations with Pay Junction, Rackspace, Clever, SchoolReach, PayPal, Google, QuickBooks, FACTS, and Scholastic Connections.

What resources are available to users to learn more about the system?

With over 300 features in Sycamore School, our users are bound to have questions from time to time. To answer those questions, or learn more about a particular topic or feature, there are many options including a detailed, searchable online manual, training videos, and free webinar training sessions. Teachers have an additional resource called Teacher Chat, which allows them to ask questions regarding the classroom areas directly to our Support team using live chat window. These resources are all free of charge. On-site trainings and one-on-one webinar trainings are also available for an additional fee.

Why should I choose a Web-Based school management system?

Basically, you have two choices when it comes to selecting a student information system: Web-based or Client-server.

 

Sycamore Education is 100% web-based. But what exactly does that mean for your school?

 

Cost

SE: Our clients don’t need to purchase and maintain servers, nor do they need any special equiment. Sycamore delivers a complete school administration and student information system for an affordable ongoing monthly fee that is based on enrollment. There are no additional fees beyond this.

 

Client-server: Schools must purchase servers and pay for the personnel to maintain the servers, as well as the internal network. Software is generally puchased up-front, and in many cases there is an annual renewal fee. Thus, the cost of getting started requires a significant intial investment.

 

Accessibility

SE: Our entire school administration system can be securely accessed from any computer with internet access. Administrators, teachers, parents, and students can access ALL of their information from virtually anywhere.

 

Client-server: Typically, users must be on the local network to access their student information system. Some companies offer remote access to parts of their systems.

 

Upgrades

SE: Upgrades, enhancements, and new features are constantly being added to Sycamore’s online student information system in response to feedback from clients, and in response to advances in technology. These improvements are added to the system automatically, with absolutely no effort required by our clients, and they are implemented with no additional fees. The entire system is upgraded globally, and there is no need for adjustments to individual computers. This saves schools a significant amount of time, resources, and frustration.

 

Client-server: Upgrades generally require a significany amount of labor from IT personnel. Servers must be upgraded, and each computer using the system must be upgraded, as well. Many companies charge additional fees for software upgrades.

 

IT Support

SE: Sycamore Education dramatically reduces the overall cost of IT labor. IT personnel do not need to participate in system upgrades, backup of data, security, or system maintenance. Sycamore takes care of all of this.

 

Client-server: Specialized IT labor is required to maintain the servers and the network, for upgrades, software installation, and to solve network configuration problems.

 

Security

SE: We’ve partnered with RackSpace to provide the unbeatable security and reliability offered by a Class A data center. This includes: integrated firewall, VPN, Intruder Detection System, antivirus and antispyware, SSL Certificates, secure login, and much more.

 

Client-server: Institutions depend on the competency of their IT personnel for the security of their servers.

 

Reliability

SE: Sycamore Education offers 99% uptime.

 

Client-server: Uptime is dependent upon IT personnel, and the stability of the purchased equipment.

Why should I choose a Cloud-Based school management system?

Sycamore Education is a cloud-based school management and student information system, and that’s important. Here are a few reasons why Cloud computing, also known as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), is the best solution.

 

No Software

Unlike traditional client-server systems, in a Cloud (also known as SaaS) deployment isn’t necessary to install software on each user’s computer. Thus, IT departments don’t need to install, patch, upgrade, or maintain multiple software configurations. This saves a great deal of time, money, labor, and frustration.

 

Low Up-Front Technology Costs

When using a Cloud system, the customer does not have to make large upfront investments in fardware, operating systems, databases, software licenses, IT staff, and ongoing overhead costs. It requires no client-owned or managed infrastructure other than Internet access, and can be entirely supported on an infrastructure provided by the SaaS supplier.

 

Rapid Implementation

Since no installation of on-site hardware or software is required, implementation can start immediately, meaning customers can start realizing the benefits right away with limited upfront costs, rather than spending months deploying a client-server solution.

 

Continual Upgrades

 

Cloud computing makes upgrades a thing of the past. Upgrades are automatic and free using the Cloud model. Since Cloud suppliers’ development resources are not wasted on maintaining many different software versions across many unique platform configurations, they can focus their development efforts on continually adding new innovations to the software. And new features and functionality can be added to the system and made available to all users with no downtime.

 

Cloud Supplier Does the Heavy Lifting

Software success used to be the sole responsibility of the customer. In the Cloud world, the supplier is responsible for deployment, maintenance, infrastructure, security, etc. Because Cloud providers generate revenue based on a user subscription model, they are very motivated to get customers up and running quickly and ensure ongoing value and usage.

 

Security

In a Cloud deployment, all critical data is stored in a secure, off-site data center. Most IT departments are typically pulled in many directions, and are typically challenged to keep up with the latest in network and physical security strategies. In a Cloud deployment, data security is core to the SaaS providers’ offerings, meaning that customers can rest assured that their data is almost certainly much more secure in a Cloud deployment than in a client server environment.

 

Adaptability

The needs of clients are constantly changing, so you need a system that is adaptable to meet future needs. Cloud systems can efficiently adapt to changing environments by adding new technologies, and new functionalities, and instantly making them available to clients.

 

Ideal for Small IT Departments

Since users don’t need servers, or any special equipment, Cloud is suitable for small or departmental level deployments, and does not impact other IT resources.

 

IT Expense Predictability

The total cost of using a Cloud system is very predictable since the majority of expenses are the responsibility of the Cloud provider. This is much different than in a client-server environment where once the system is accepted, ongoing maintenance, operation and support is the burden of the end user, and is often unpredictable. In a Cloud deployment, the provider assumes all of the risk and is therefore motivated to perform.

 

Accessibility

Cloud is ideal for users who are mobile, and need to work and access information from different locations. Cloud software can be securely accessed from any computer (office, home, etc) that has access to the Internet.

 

Scalability

Cloud-based solutions are designed to scale seamlessly for large numbers of simultaneous users. As such, they are able to easily maintain performance levels and uptime as your organization grows and the volume of data stored expands over time. With an on-premise, client-based solution, managing performance and uptime are burdens the customer must handle, and can involve additional costs in database licenses, skilled personnel, hardware and infrastructure.