Beverly Public Schools

SIS integration and Apple School Manager for the win.




With Claris Connect for Apple School Manager, SIS data integration takes place digitally in minutes, rather than manual processes that take days.


Bringing data onto one platform made a significant impact during the pandemic, plus custom apps replaced paper processes and supported students' Apple devices while at learning from home.

Like every K-12 school around the world, Beverly Public Schools (BPS) has spent the last year navigating a whirlwind of change. In spring 2020, the school district — located in Beverly, Massachusetts — acted fast to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We had to flip a switch, and it was all remote learning,” recalls Steve Palomo, IT director at BPS.

Though the situation was challenging, BPS achieved a smooth transition — thanks to amazing collaboration, custom apps for schools, and seamless student information system (SIS) integration.

The journey started with Apple School Manager and a laptop for every student.

Judy Miller, director of digital learning at BPS, remembers the team’s early vision for digital transformation: “We wanted one platform. We wanted Apple School Manager. And we also wanted a program so that students could lease the laptop for four years and take it with them.”

However, for the program to succeed, BPS would need to move away from managing everything on paper. According to Steve, “When we launched the one-to-one laptop-to-student program, I noticed we were spending a ton of time on paper and doing things by hand, and I thought there had to be a better way.”

The better way started with Claris FileMaker, a product that helps K-12 districts build custom apps for schools. BPS created an app to manage and assign laptops — and that was just the beginning.

“From there, we really started connecting FileMaker with all our other systems, bringing in payments and all the information from our SIS,” says Steve. “At that point, FileMaker was our one-stop-shop for the laptop program and expanded to anything technology-related.”

The COVID-19 pandemic arrived, and Beverly Schools was ready to respond.

Bringing its data onto one platform made a big difference for Beverly Schools. Yet the district’s biggest challenge remained.

“When COVID-19 first showed up in the spring of 2020, I thought it would be about a week,” remembers BPS Principal Betty Taylor. “When it dawned on us that it would be longer than a week, there was a real scramble to create school again.”

As students quarantined at home, the district once again turned to its comprehensive custom app built using Claris FileMaker. To support remote learning, BPS distributed 1,800 additional devices for students and teachers in just three months.

Alice Williams, coordinator for the BPS Tech Center, notes, “In the past, with the old system, it was very archaic and everything was done by paper. What makes FileMaker so amazing is the fact that you can get all your information in one place, helping us support whatever situation we face.”

With easy SIS integration and Apple School Manager, BPS looks to a future of new learning opportunities.

Much has changed since the early days of adjusting to the pandemic. The district continues to succeed with a hybrid model of remote and in-person attendance. One way they handle this complexity is by using Claris Connect for direct SIS integration with Apple School Manager.

Claris Connect seamlessly integrates SIS roster data into Apple School Manager in minutes. Automatically having SIS data flow into Apple School Manager makes it drastically faster and easier for BPS stakeholders — administrators, teachers, students, and parents — to access a wide range of Apple services, apps, and technology in and out of the classroom.

“Anytime you evaluate new software, the first question is always, ‘does this integrate with our SIS, grade book, learning management system, active directory, and email?’ But with FileMaker and Claris Connect, that’s never our concern,” says Steve. “Because of the platform’s flexibility, we can use software like Apple School Manager that is perfect for us, even if it lacks an integration, because we can easily build that integration ourselves.”

For schools deploying Apple devices using Apple School Manager, Claris Connect provides SIS integrations for Aeries, Follet Aspen®, and Skyward® at no additional cost. To find out more, visit the Claris K-12 Education page.