Adult and Community Learning Services (ACLS)

Update on Schoolbrains Contract

June 8, 2016 Dear ABE Program Directors, After careful consideration, the Department's Adult and Community Services Unit (ACLS) and the Information Technology Unit at the Executive Office of Education have decided to sever our contract with SchoolBrains, the vendor tasked with developing the new data management application for Adult Basic Education. Like you, we have been looking forward to next summer when we expected to move into a new, high performance system. Many of you have been involved in testing some of the new screens and have provided valuable feedback. However, after a year of working with SchoolBrains, ACLS and IT have concluded that the vendor underestimated the scale of the project and lacks the capacity to deliver the quality product that we were all expecting. We share your frustration and are disappointed with the outcome. We made the decision to terminate the contract with the best interest of the field in mind, concluding that, given what has been delivered so far, it would be much worse to continue with this vendor and have to live with an inadequate application. Instead, we plan to shift our resources and attention to updating SMARTT as much as possible in the short term, which will include all of FY17. During FY17, we will decide whether to keep and modernize SMARTT or migrate to a new system, and we will seek your input in order to inform the best decision possible. We understand that the SMARTT system has many shortcomings and, in the coming weeks, we will be asking for your help to prioritize areas for immediate improvement, such as browser compatibility, ad hoc reports, or smoother integration of waitlist and intake processes. ACLS will send you a survey to gather this information. We will review your feedback and share with you our plan to maximize the functionality of SMARTT while causing minimal disruption to your work. We apologize for any inconvenience this change may cause, but we believe that turning our focus to maintaining and improving SMARTT for FY17 is the best use of resources given the current circumstances. If you have any questions or concerns, or are interested in serving on an advisory group to inform future decisions regarding SMARTT, please contact Toby Maguire, ABE Assistant Director. Sincerely, Jolanta Conway
ABE State Director c:     Cliff Chuang, Senior Associate Commissioner for Educational Options

Last Updated: June 13, 2016

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