Announcing School Data Sync general availability

Today’s post was written by Tim Richardson, lead program manager for School Data Sync.

We are excited to announce that School Data Sync (SDS), our online classroom automation solution, is moving from preview to general availability! Please fill out this request form to sign up, and we’ll help you to deploy it—for free.

SDS helps schools automatically create online classrooms in Office 365 from their Student Information System (SIS or MIS). SDS supports virtually every SIS on the market, and hundreds of customers in over 20 countries have already used it to sync over 100,000 teachers and 2 million students.

SDS imports user profiles and rosters from a SIS into Office 365 and automatically keeps them up to date. Schools often find it can be costly and time-consuming to maintain the online classrooms because rosters naturally change throughout the year. With SDS, IT admins can save time creating online classrooms, and teachers can enjoy online classrooms that are up and running with students on the first day of the term.

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SDS also helps SIS and app partners to save time and money by integrating with each other through a single platform—Office 365. Customers with SDS enjoy the benefits of using Office 365 Education with partner applications Microsoft Classroom Preview, OneNote Class Notebooks and Office 365 Groups and Sites.

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Global availability

SDS and Microsoft Classroom Preview can be used in nearly every country where Office 365 Education is available.* Both SDS and Microsoft Classroom Preview are now localized for dozens of languages, with more coming soon.

Regional data storage—Many customers, especially customers in the United States and the European Union, have requirements for where cloud services can store student data. School districts in the U.S. and EU can rest assured that both SDS and Microsoft Classroom Preview now store data in their respective regions.

Supports your SIS—SDS is compatible with nearly every SIS. Customers have already deployed SDS with nearly 50 SIS/MIS vendors worldwide—including PowerSchool SIS, Capita SIMS, Infinite Campus, SunGard eSchoolPlus, Skyward, Trillium and more. Here is a list of some of the SISes that have been used with SDS.

A solution for customers AND partners

Schools save time—SDS was designed to make life easier for the entire Office 365 ecosystem. SDS saves time for IT admins and teachers, who get more time back for classroom instruction. For example, Riverview School District in western Washington wanted to deploy ClassPolicy—an app from our partner AssistX. Riverview and AssistX decided to integrate Riverview’s SIS with ClassPolicy through SDS rather than develop their own software to make the connection.

Christopher Collins, IT operations manager at Riverview School District, said, With Microsoft School Data Sync, teachers have more time to develop a one-to-one relationship with a student and customize learning. What took 16 hours of manual data mining was reduced to four initial hours of working with ClassPolicy and getting SDS running—after that everything was synchronized and ready, taking no time at all… The fact that ClassPolicy and Microsoft Classroom work so well together is a testament to the effectiveness of both.

App partners save time and money—Bob Chung, president of AssistX, said, “Being able to integrate SDS with the school’s Student Information System is huge for us. We wanted accurate roster data, and SDS does the heavy lifting. Now teachers at Riverview don’t have to spend hours manually creating rosters, and with SDS, they get automatic rosters and nightly updates.”

Read this case study to learn more about how School Data Sync helped Riverview SD and AssistX ClassPolicy save time and money.

Commitment to industry standards—SDS now also supports the IMS Global OneRoster 1.0 standard for roster data in CSV format. Customers and SIS vendors that generate files in the OneRoster format can easily import them into SDS.

Dr. Rob Abel, chief executive of IMS Global, said, “A large number of IMS school districts and suppliers have been absolutely thrilled with Microsoft’s leadership in helping to develop and adopt the IMS OneRosterTM standard. The leadership of Microsoft in open standards is having a profound impact on making it easier for teachers and students to easily access innovative apps, content and tools from a wide range of suppliers around the world.”

Keeping students safe—Students with Office 365 Education can use Microsoft Classroom Preview and email to communicate with each other. Although most of our customers give students email access, some customers prefer not to give email accounts to students (especially young students). For these customers, we created a new deployment process that lets admins restrict students’ email access so they can only email their teachers and peer students. With this new process, customers can get the best of both worlds: students get the power of Microsoft Classroom Preview, mail and calendaring—but remain protected from outside influences.

Andrew Phillips, supervisor of technology for Cleveland City School District (CCSD) in Tennessee, said, “We wanted to control email for the students but still give teachers the technology tools to accomplish their goals. School Data Sync makes life easier for them.”

Read this case study to learn more about how SDS and Microsoft Classroom Preview helped CCSD to protect students using email.

Get started now

Here’s how to get started using SDS and Microsoft Classroom Preview:

School IT admins:

School IT admins—additional resources:

App and LMS Partners:

SIS/MIS and System Integration Partners:

  • Sign up to learn more about SDS integration and co-marketing opportunities.


—Tim Richardson

*School Data Sync and Microsoft Classroom Preview may not be available to all customers in China or Germany.

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