We noticed that a few of our Montessori school administrators are curious about effective student information systems (SIS), so we planned a session with some of the top AMI/USA Member School recommended SIS vendors to demonstrate their services. Additionally, we will explore the possibility of group-buying for our membership, if there is enough interest.
Meet The SIS Vendors
Transparent Classroom is an online record keeping and lesson planning platform for Montessori schools. We began our journey in 2012 and now have the pleasure of working with over 1250 schools. Transparent Classroom is proud to collaborate with guides, school admins and researchers in our ongoing work of furthering the Montessori experiment.Click here to set up a demo!
Brightwheel is a complete child care management software solution that allows users to manage attendance, billing, enrollment, learning plans, and parent communication – all from one easy-to-use child care app, with a mission to transform early education for every educator, parent, and child – by giving teachers meaningfully more time with students each day, engaging parents in the development of their kids, and supporting the small businesses that make up the backbone of the early education market.
SchoolCues is a low-cost all-in-one school management software for Montessori schools that helps simplify school administration. We offer several modules to help schools stay organized including Admissions and Enrollment, Online Payments, Student Information System, Donations/Fundraising, COVID-19 Screening, Communications, Picture Gallery, and Alumni Management. We also have a mobile app for both IOS and Android. It’s time to go paperless and mobile! Click here to learn what customers are saying on Capterra. SchoolCues offers live demos scheduled every Tuesday and Friday at 8.00 am PST / 11.00 am EST, which run about 60 to 75 minutes in duration. If you are interested in attending, please include your mobile # in your reply to help us show you how text messages work from our system. We will send you the meeting invite for the demo.
Follow Up Questions For Vendors
Transparent Classroom = TC
Brightwheel = BW
SchoolCues = SC
Is there a publishable directory offered?
TC: Yes, parents and staff can opt-into sharing contact information through the Directory page. This can also be printed out if your school would like to share a paper copy.
BW: There is no publishable directory feature offered for parent users at this time. However, we create new features and add updates to existing features at least a couple of times a month – so it is absolutely something we may offer in the future.
SC: Yes, we have two publishable directories, a Staff Directory and a School Directory
Are parents able to sign up for parents conferences?
TC: Yes, you can connect a Google Sheet to your account’s School Info area, so parents can sign-up in real-time.
BW: There is not a specific parent-teacher conference feature however you can include links in messages/newsletters and there is the functionality to send forms or request documents from families. Many of our customers utilize those features to organize parent-teacher conferences.
SC: Yes, we have a separate Conference Scheduling module and we offer a comprehensive Easy Sign-Up module to replace Signup Genius.
Do you have an app and if so, what functionality is available on it?
TC: Our mobile app is available for parents and staff. Parents who want to receive notifications to their phone or tablet about their child’s work with lessons and photos will definitely want to download the Transparent Classroom app. Parents can also upload photos of their children working at home, which are only visible to them and staff members.
Staff using the app will also find limited functionality at this time. The mobile app is the fastest way to get photos onto your Transparent Classroom account, and when you take a photo through the app it will not be saved to your device. The photos will automatically appear on the [Activity] > [Untagged Photos] page, accessed through a web browser.
We plan to add Attendance, Daily Tracking, and other features in the future!
BW: We absolutely have an app! It is supported on iOS and android. You can learn more about the specifics of that here.
SC: Yes, we have a Parent App and an Administrators/Teachers app for both iOS and Android.
Are there any plans for an alumni database and fund development?
TC: Not at this time, but we always appreciate hearing from our schools about what they would like to see added to the platform. This helps us prioritize what to build next as we work to make Transparent Classroom better for everyone!
SC: Yes, we are releasing our first version of the Alumni module and the Donations module for the coming school year.
Do you have daily (COVID) health screen functionality?
TC: Yes, parents and approved adults can scan a QR code with their mobile device to sign children in and respond to health screening questions at that time. Staff can also sign children in from [Attendance] and respond to screening questions for the children, depending on your school and regional requirements.
BW: Yes! We have daily COVID health screen functionality. You can learn more about that featurehere.
SC: Yes, we have a mobile COVID-19 Screening App and we have exceeded 4 million submissions in the last 12 months since COVID-19 broke out.
What safeguards are there to protect participants’ information? (a link to your privacy page would be helpful here)
BW: I will include a couple of links to our privacy and security information:
SchoolCues uses HTTPS/SSL to secure the site –
Data sent using HTTPS is secured via Transport Layer Security protocol (TLS), which provides three key layers of protection:
Encryption—encrypting the exchanged data to keep it secure from eavesdroppers. That means that while the user is browsing a website, nobody can “listen” to their conversations, track their activities across multiple pages, or steal their information.
Data integrity—data cannot be modified or corrupted during transfer, intentionally or otherwise, without being detected.
Authentication—proves that your users communicate with the intended website. It protects against man-in-the-middle attacks and builds user trust, which translates into other business benefits.
The SSL certificate we use is Certificate #1: RSA 2048 bits (SHA256withRSA) with TLS 1.3/1.2 compatible.
Is there a report like the one that AMI asks for when a student teacher comes? Child’s name, age and years in program?
TC: You can find this information by going to [Children] and using the dropdown labeled “Parents” by default to select “Grade” or “Program” depending on how your school is using those fields. This page can then be saved as a PDF or printed out by typing control + ‘p’ (Windows) or command + ‘p’ (Mac). Your school could also create a Conference Report Template specifically for student teachers where all information can be included per child.
BW: There are many different forms of reporting offered within brightwheel. You can absolutely pull a report using our roster tool and pick and choose which information you would like to include. Here is a bit more on the different types of reporting offered.
SC: We do offer reports for the child’s name and age. We have not encountered a request for Years in Program, but that request can easily be added.
What type of file downloads when you download a report? An excel file?
TC: Many reports on Transparent Classroom can be saved as a PDF, rather than downloaded. Other information, such as contact info or Attendance data, is downloaded as a CSV spreadsheet, which can be opened in Excel.
BW: When you download a report it will be emailed to you (or an email of your choice) as a CSV format (this is compatible with excel)
SC: All reports in the Student Information System can be downloaded in Excel, PDF, and Word.
Do you have an admissions/enrollment portal?
TC: Schools using Transparent Classroom’s Online Applications can embed it right into their website, or share it via clickable link. Once the child and parents have been added to your school’s account, you can use Normal Forms to collect Enrollment information. Parents will receive an email notification, and fill out the form in Transparent Classroom by following the link or logging in and looking under “Todo” on the Home page.
BW: We do offer an admissions/enrollment dashboard. This includes the capability to send enrollment forms and manage them while having a holistic view of your entire admission pipeline. You can see/learn more here.
SC: Yes, we offer Admissions Enquiry / Form Builder / Enrollment to easily manage the Admissions process.
Can late fees be added to invoices automatically?
TC: Transparent Classroom does not offer tuition management at this time.
BW: Late fees are not automatically added by brightwheel but you can always easily add one-time charges and have late fee options saved so it can quickly be added to any student’s account.
SC: Yes. We also offer the ability to include sibling discounts.
How easy is it for a front office type person to use the billing functions?
TC: Transparent Classroom does not offer tuition management at this time.
BW: Our platform was built with accessibility and ease of use in mind plus we will provide training! Additionally, we have a suite of videos and help center articles that are updated frequently so brightwheel users can always refer back to them if needed.
SC: We have schools with as little as 15 students, with one person managing the entire system including billing and payments.
Do you generate conference reports?
TC: Yes, and we offer several customizable templates designed by our Montessori-trained staff to get you started. Other schools have also shared templates with our community, which can be copied to your account and customized as well. Guides and Admin can generate reports for the children, using the record-keeping data guides have been entering throughout the year.
BW: You can pull reports on how students are progressing against learning standards along with other activity reports!
Link to any pricing information
TC: Transparent Classroom offers a monthly subscription rate of $1.50 per child per month. Changes in enrollment are pro-rated, and all features and support are included. All new accounts start with 30 days free – click here to start an account for your school.
BW: We craft custom quotes for each of our programs – someone from our team would be more than happy to learn more about your needs and then provide more information on pricing. You can fill out a form to get the conversation started here. Once completed someone from our team will reach out to you directly!
SC: Our pricing is determined by the number of modules a school will use and the number of students, so we do not have a fixed price. We set up a call with a school to go over the pricing options, tailored to each school’s needs since every school’s needs and requirements are different.
Can teachers track lessons given?
TC: Transparent Classroom offers default lesson sets for Nido, Toddler, Primary, Elementary, and Adolescent levels. Guides can add, remove, and change lessons to better match their training background and environment. Lesson Planning and Record-keeping can take many forms on Transparent Classroom, allowing each guide to find the workflow that is best for them. All lesson plans can also be printed out for guides who prefer using a paper copy in the classroom.
BW: Yes! We have an entire lesson/lesson planning portal that is accessible to staff. Individual lessons can even be shared with parents/families as well. You can learn more here
SC: No, we do not play in the Montessori classroom management space. Transparent Classrooms does a really good job of this requirement.