"How do I automate my government-compliant school reports?" 5 Critical Factors St. John's School Discovered

Executive Summary: When schools are submitting data and reports to their district or government, they can't afford mistakes that could result in losing out on funding or preventing a student from advancing or graduating. That’s why St. John's School in Vancouver turned to Launchpad for help with their education management software automation.

Client Story
Client Story
6 min read

Executive Summary

Client: St. John's School, Vancouver, Canada

Blackbaud School Information System (SIS)
PaasportTM Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS)

Summary: When schools are submitting data and reports to their district or government, they can't afford mistakes that could result in losing out on funding or preventing a student from advancing or graduating. That’s why St. John's School in Vancouver turned to Launchpad for help with their education management software automation.

  • The Solution: 1-click, foolproof and secure report preparation process with built-in error handling

  • The Outcome: peace of mind for St. John's

  • The 5 Critical Factors: automated, reliable, predictable, secure, future proof

About St. John's School

St. John's School is a proud member of ISABC (Independent Schools Association, BC) and an exceptional independent K-12 IB World Continuum School that's been a leader in Canada's education community for over 30 years. They consistently inspire academic excellence while nurturing confident learners, with a full 100% of their graduates attending the university of their choice. They're also committed to embracing an innovative and forward-thinking approach for the technology they rely on to store and manage the school's mission critical information.


St. John's was facing a serious challenge shared by schools across North America.

Each school district has its own requirements and protocols for submitting data. If a school is late to submit, or their reports don't match the government's requirements exactly, they can lose out on vital funding dollars while their students can miss out on anything from advancing to higher grades or even receiving their diploma.

"Our team was afraid to make a data management mistake or miss a reporting deadline,"
said Michael LeBlanc, Director of IT at St. John's School.

With thousands of school districts each having their own protocols, top School Information System (SIS) providers, like Blackbaud or MySchool, can't be expected to create unique integration solutions that map onto each district's requirements...especially when governments often change their protocols.

Instead, individual schools have to find their own solutions for data automation and integration. For St. John's, it was important to have a professional solution they could rely on and that could grow with their school information system automation needs over time.

That's why they turned to Launchpad.

"I'd already talked to our teams about the need for systems integration to protect our data integrity and reduce manual work processes. So this work process was the perfect first step. Now we have peace of mind thanks to reliable and easy data export."
– Michael LeBlanc, Director of IT at St. John's School

The Challenge

St. John's School, like all schools in the province of British Columbia, must generate and submit regular TRAX and 1701 data reports to the government.

"We wanted to automate so we'd be assured our reports would be prepared the correct way from the start," said LeBlanc. As the former Manager of Services and Solutions for Communication and Collaboration at the University of British Columbia, he knew how vital it is to have predictable systems and integration.

But like many schools, St. John's initially tried an internal fix when it came to their education management software automation.

"We had an internal resource create a reporting tool for us," LeBlanc explained. "It worked, but it required a lot of in-house effort and all the expertise rested with one person. Then COVID-19 showed up and he needed to return home, which was outside of Canada. Suddenly we didn't have any way to effectively troubleshoot our system if something broke."

The Solution

The vulnerability of that internal experience made it clear to LeBlanc that St. John's needed:

  • a systems automation and integration solution that could be relied on to always work

  • timely system updates whenever external or internal protocol changes required it

In other words, a solution that's more robust and future-proof than a simple drag-and-drop integration platform offers. They needed an actual team of experts in their corner. That's when LeBlanc reached out to Launchpad.

"The cost of a professionally packaged integration suddenly looked low compared to the upside we'd gain in peace of mind."

St. John's solution centered around Lauchpad's Paasport platform and managed services. Now the school could finally have the flexibility of a truly scalable cloud-hosted integration platform, the ease of done-for-you configuration, and the reliability of a fully managed solution.

Blackbaud SIS Integration Diagram
Blackbaud SIS Integration Diagram

Data security was a major consideration because we were dealing with minors' information. But Paasport was more than up to the task, with everything running on Amazon AWS and leveraging Amazon's world-class security services. We also made sure St. John's data is encrypted whenever it's in our integration center.

Thanks to the automation we created, report preparation is now a 1-click, foolproof process with built-in error handling.

The Outcome

With their new system in place, St. John's could see the 5 critical factors behind the peace of mind it gave them:

  1. Automated: easy 1-click process to aggregate data and generate reports for submission

  2. Reliable: cloud hosted, industry standard best practice integration and automation approach

  3. Predictable: 24/7 professional support, ongoing maintenance and upgrades of the solution

  4. Secure: data encrypted during transfer & leverages Amazon's world-class security services

  5. Future Proof: solution is easily and quickly updated to meet inevitable tech and process changes

The factor of future proofing goes even further. St. John's now has a foundational infrastructure that can integrate all their current apps while scaling to add in any future apps and work processes.

Paasport Education Management Software Integration Diagram
Paasport Education Management Software Integration Diagram

LeBlanc's advice to other schools facing this challenge?

"You're probably spending enough manual time on this issue to justify the cost of development," he said. "So first get clear on your data goals. Then make sure to get all your stakeholders engaged."

"You're probably spending enough manual time on this issue to justify the cost of development."

And his advice on letting Launchpad's team of experts handle a school's data and reporting automation and integration?

"Once we'd nailed down the specs, Launchpad built it without much need for input from us. Even if you don't have a lot of software development experience, Launchpad can guide you through the process."

That's what Blackbaud says, too. Blackbaud partnered with Launchpad so they could recommend us to their own clients that need education management software automation and apps integration done right, that's scalable going forward, and that's managed 24/7.

Our future school clients will also benefit from the insights we gained and the processes we developed when building the St John's solution. Each school still needs its own unique data mapping, testing and configuration, but the overall process is similar in nature. So, instead of a school thinking this is about a solution that takes months to pull together, they should know we can do it in weeks.

After all, these are the kinds of solutions our team of experts build every day.

"Usually there's more angst when you launch, there's something that doesn't work or that you didn't expect. But the Launchpad team kept the process on track and we got exactly what we were expecting. It was all good. To have a smooth software implementation process is pretty rare."
– Michael LeBlanc, Director of IT at St. John's School

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