Pinellas County Schools, Florida


As the seventh largest district in Florida and the twenty-first largest district in the nation, Pinellas County Schools requires a fast-paced Student Information System (SIS) that uses the latest features available on the market today. And John Just, who leads technology initiatives for Pinellas County Schools, knew that his district would need an SIS that could meet their demanding data management requirements while adapting to both their highly fluctuating enrollment levels and their ever-changing student mobility. Just knew that the system Pinellas County was going to implement would have to be flexible and scalable enough to meet the various needs of their end-users, and that those needs would change over time.

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And these were the very reasons that Just knew Focus would be the right fit. What he appreciated about the Focus SIS was its ability to be custom-fitted and scaled to each client’s needs. The system can be added to or altered from its very source code; Focus provides a progressive SIS that further includes an option to make it one of a kind, too. Pinellas County even rebranded the Focus SIS with the “Pinellas Portal,” and added a number of self-service programs to their users’ welcome screen.

“I believe in partner sourcing,” Just says. “[Partner sourcing] is an approach to the design development and distribution of software. It offers the source code at a reasonable cost, with the burden of change control shared by both the vendor and the user. When you look around Florida, the mainframe systems are most successful.”

The size of Pinellas County Schools also required rigorous scalability testing in the SIS before it could be implemented district-wide. When Dell Computers tested the Focus SIS, they were very impressed.

“There are very few people [in the SIS industry] who we think know what they are doing. Everybody who we have worked with at Focus is highly competent, and that has given [Dell Computers] good faith in this partnership.”

In addition to flexibility and scalability, Pinellas County Schools would require a system that could pull data from many disparate sources and conveniently display them in one accessible location. Since partnering with Focus, PCS has made their Student Information System their central location for many different kinds of data, specifically integrating information from their ConnectED calling system, Active Directory, Moodle, Microsoft Exchange, their district HR/Finance system TERMS, and a number of SQL databases.


“I’ve been impressed with the ability of Focus to communicate important information to all of its stakeholders. The Focus SIS is excellent for capturing, translating, displaying, and communicating information to all stakeholders in real-time. The teachers like Focus a lot and the parent portal is a great thing for us,” says Just.

Pinellas County Schools is pleased with the bounds and leaps that Focus has helped to implement into their school district. And Focus is pleased to have earned the respect of their first 100,000+ student client, and continues to make client satisfaction a top priority.

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