Edsby at St. Andrew’s College

Helping shape bright minds of the future at a leading private boys’ school

Edsby is the killer app on the network of one of the leading private all boys’ boarding schools in North America.

“Edsby is the most important application at our school for teaching and learning,” acknowledged St. Andrew’s College IT Director Steve Rush.

St. Andrew’s, established in 1899, has a beautiful 110-acre campus on which sits a collection of Georgian-style brick and modern buildings just north of Toronto, Canada. It’s known worldwide for its cutting edge use of information technology. In the 1990s, it installed desktop PCs and labs before most public and private schools. In 2002, it put laptops in the hands of all teachers. All students received laptops the following year. In 2009, the school moved to tablet PCs. Edsby was introduced in late 2012.

St. Andrew’s has long believed that technology has a role to play in helping students and teachers see their daily work, and for parents to be able to see what students are doing on a daily basis.

To facilitate this, the school initially looked at systems such as Net Community from Blackbaud, Desire2Learn, WebCT (later absorbed by Blackboard) and Angel. But none were appropriate. “None of them focused on reporting back what students do by day, what homework they have,” said Rush. So the school developed its own system using FrontPage HTML editor and an online gradebook program.

“We had essentially 100% teacher, student and parent uptake, but unfortunately FrontPage became unsupported, and much of the work was manual and time-consuming, and so we needed a sustainable replacement,” said former St. Andrews IT Integration Committee Chair Jon Butcher.

School IT staff set itself a three to five-year goal to build a parent/student/teacher portal that would provide access to all course, student, and parent related data. Then staff learned about Edsby—which was able to provide much of what the school wanted almost immediately.

“It was impressive to see 80% of our five-year plan implemented in about five months,” said Butcher.

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