What do you like best?
This is a very complex school management system that can accommodate almost any requirement you might have. It allows for setting terms the way you need them and it has excellent mass and individual communication tools. It also comes with an app for students and parents, and can generate various reports, report cards, transcripts etc. It has a discipline system and attendance taking, all of these (including grades) with real time alerts for parents that they can customize (e.g. you get a notification any time a discipline mark is entered, or a tardy is recorded, or when the average for a subjects either drops bellow or goes above some preset customizable levels). the service and support is great and the price is not back breaking.It has some optional but very attractive features, like mass/individual sms, and on-line enrollment/re-enrollment. You can open several instances of gradelink, even under different user names in the same browser, and that is a plus for me as an admin.The system provides a lot of visual helps and mini-videos to explain the features, and if you call in the service is fast and knowledgeable. You can send messages in any kind of type of group you want, very flexible, and you can allow people to respond or not. You can post a newsletter on the opening page. You can easily conclude old term/create new terms in bulk, and promote/graduate students. All profiles allow you to post if you want a picture, for easy facial recognition of the student/faculty.
What do you dislike?
It has a few minuses that, once addressed, could make this product even more attractive. The app is very rudimentary and has almost no customization available. Also, it lacks some essential functionalities that have parents always complain about it, e.g. it CAN"T access the calendar, the MAIN place where teachers post homework assignments and upcoming events! This is a glaring omission, and forces parents to log via a browser, which seems to defeat the purpose of having the app. Another frequent complaint I have from teachers is that on the web version (main version) you cannot customize colors of backgrounds and/or fonts, columns, etc. Some teachers are having color sensing impairments and the overall look of the product is dull, grayish and low contrast, making it harder for some of the teachers to properly see the details on page.
Also, some of the settings in various places of the software are buggy and counter-intuitive. The settings on terms and periods is very confusing and not well explained in the instructionals. The calculations used for the subject averages are confusing and not straightforward. Also, we would like to give some teachers limited access (view only) to some classes, but that is not possible. In the text messaging tool for communications, the amount of words allowed is way too small (150 characters). Also, the system keeps you logged in or not as the computer goes in standby or screen saver in a mysterious way (sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't). For security reasons it should log you out by default any time one of these events happens. There is no way to give access to a teachers to the discipline system for all students.
Recommendations to others considering the product
If you are switching from another system or even if you are completely new, make sure you have as much info exported/entered in a .csv or excel type file as possible, to minimize the amount of initial work you will be required to put in to have the system up and running. Splitting the tasks between two or three admins helps a lot! Everything you want in (addresses, bios, demographics, phone and emails, grading scale, discipline marks, attendance marks, etc, I mean everything) should be at hand in a .csv or excel file. The company will require a special formatting/structure of these files, but once you have it in any structure, you can work with it easily to rearrange. A good, solid sytem overall.
What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?
Keeping grades accurately, communicating effectively with parents and students, Taking attendance, keeping tabs on discipline, good reporting, enrollment/re-enrollment via web, etc. Posting the newsletter online (visible in the app too). Midterm reports, report cards, GPA calculation in real time, transcripts, archive of alumni. You can keep in touch with the alumni too. Easy creating of new terms from old ones.