Finding our “Compass”

The 57 schools in the Diocese, in partnership with the Catholic Education Network, are busily implementing a new student information system called Compass.

The comprehensive new system, part of the Catholic Schools Office’s commitment to the renewal of ICT systems, offers a range of services for students, staff and parents that will improve communication and information delivery between families and the school. It will also ensure teachers have a common platform to use across the Diocese.

The project began in 2012 with a business architecture team comprising of representatives from 16 dioceses to investigate the market for a product that met the needs of our organisation. That initial investigation has turned into a full-scale implementation of Compass, which started in July 2017.

A pilot at St Clare’s High School, Taree saw it become the first to launch Compass in July 2017. The success pilot and launch was thanks to the efforts of a fantastic school implementation team led by Assistant Principal, Phil Gibney and assisted by Clerical Administrator, Anne Havard. The secret of their successful implementation of the platform was thorough planning and the willingness to trial and test drive many different elements of the software. 

St Clare’s was soon followed by three other pilots – at St Patrick’s Primary School, Lochinvar; St Michael’s Primary School, Nelson Bay and St Joseph’s College, Lochinvar.

Each pilot offered enabled the schools to trial Compass in the context of the many complexities of school life – this was to ensure that the Compass software solution met the schools’ needs. 

To date, 40 schools have launched Compass and the aim is to have 50 schools using the system by December 2018. This rapid rollout of the software is aimed at meeting the administrative and communication needs of the schools. The speed of the rollout is also the result of the many school implementation teams whose members have worked tireless to ensure a smooth transition from their previous systems. 

More than 10,000 parents across all out schools have already accessed Compass to view key information such as the attendance records and academic reports of their children. They are also able to receive communications from schools and access the school calendar.

While recording attendance is one of the core components of Compass, there are many other functions that are now in use ranging from the including of academic reports to parent-teacher conference bookings.

The Compass project is now moving into the next phase with the inclusion of the finance component taking shape. This is being led by Project Manager for the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle, Andrew Swadling and the Maitland-Newcastle Student Information System (MNSIS) team.


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