The Washington School Information Processing Cooperative (WSIPC) is a public non-profit cooperative that provides K-12 public and private schools with technology solutions, data management tools, services, training and support, purchasing and procurement services. WSIPC services schools throughout the northwest in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Alaska, providing benefits to 9 Educational Service Districts and more than 300 school districts, who represent over 1 million students.
WSIPC serves school districts with complete information management systems for fiscal, human resources as well as a full student information system (SIS) data. The main software package deployed by WSIPC is the Skyward School Management System.
Starting in 2009 WSIPC was given the sole responsibility to host WASWUG Spring and WASWUG Fall, two conferences that are in place for WSIPC members to learn more about the Skyward product suite and attend breakout sessions.
In 1967, ten Washington school districts formed a cooperative to share software development and hardware costs, and provide centralized technological support. The result of this collaboration was WSIPC, a public agency that continues to provide information services at a low cost to school districts in the northwest.
WSIPC registered the domain name WEDNET.EDU in 1992 in order to begin connecting all public schools in Washington state. This eventually became the nation’s first statewide high-speed, high-capacity network for schools, which was made possible by WSIPC joining the Washington K-20 Network in 2000. This linked colleges, universities, K-12 school districts and libraries statewide, resulting in more bandwidth and connectivity with schools. According to the K-20 Biennial Report of December 2006, joining the network “enabled WSIPC and the ESDs to serve local districts more effectively” because without it, each school district would have been left to find a locally delivered system.
Initially, WSIPC had developed their own Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) application in-house, called WISE, which not only provided a complete SIS, but also information management for both finance and student data. Starting in 2001 WSIPC collaborated with Skyward and, as a result, completely restructured the computing infrastructure at WSIPC, replacing the legacy application offerings with one integrated ERP application provided to WSIPC customers. WSIPC called its ERP application WESPaC (WSIPC Enhanced Skyward Point and Click) which included Skyward's software suite of student, human resources and financial management modules. WESPaC also included Citrix's MetaFrame which provided users with remote access. Skyward eventually converted its thick client student application into a web interface and part of its finance software to have a web front end. The other part of their finance software is still thick client. Therefore, WESPaC has now evolved into two applications, one being a web-based student application and the other being a finance application that is partly web-based and partly thick client. Both of these applications are currently provided by Skyward.
In 2003 WSIPC provided a case study for Citrix stating the revenue saved over 5 years, which amounted to almost $54 million. It stated that implementing Citrix has helped WSIPC “cut costs, rapidly deploy and centrally manage the Skyward application, roll out updates immediately, and provide for a more stable operating environment.” By the end of 2004, the entire WSIPC user base began using Citrix. This software company currently enables WSIPC to centrally deploy and manage their applications, also allowing their finance software (or PaC) to be accessed via a variety of client devices. This, in turn, offers a management infrastructure that requires little management on the school district’s part.
In 2014, WSIPC launched a web application it had developed called My School Data that provides access to student data and assessment information in a dashboard format.
In 2014, WSIPC launched a web application called My School Data that compiles Skyward data into a simple dashboard format. This provides access to student data and assessment information. Districts can control which schools and data that users of the application can have access to. There are multiple modules, one of them being Early Warning System, which identifies students that are at risk of dropping out of high school. There is also a module for viewing CEDARS (Comprehensive Education Data And Research System) educational data files that are required to be submitted to OSPI. The ability to view those files before submission is intended to help with troubleshooting and data validation.
In Washington State, it is a graduation requirement for high school students to complete a High School and Beyond Plan. The plan consists of written documents designed to help students think about their future and choose coursework accordingly. Another module of My School Data, called High School and Beyond, is an electronic version of that plan. It is based on graduation requirements of the district and post-secondary goals that the student has decided on.
This student management system gives school and district staff a variety of tools to manage classroom information including food service, gradebook and discipline from one place. Within this suite is a Family Engagement module, providing parents and guardians with their child's data, such as grades and attendance. Other modules are Classroom Tools, Office and Administration and Student Services.
The Skyward School Business Suite gives WSIPC members functionality for human resources, payroll and accounting, and staff and asset management. Putting all the information in one place is intended to prevent constant cross-referencing of data. There are five modules within the suite, Human Resources, Fiscal Management, Payroll and Timeclock, Employee Portal and Asset Management.
Over the years WSIPC has partnered with dozens of companies to provide their members with a variety of vendors and services for the school districts, such as Dell and Microsoft. WSIPC connects members to approved technology partners via their Purchasing Program. A full list of partners is available on WSIPC's website. The following are a few current partners that are particularly noteworthy due to their integration with Skyward and the unique benefits they bring to school districts.
One noteworthy partnership began in 2012 with K-12 Alerts, an award-winning provider of emergency and routine communications solutions established in 2002 to find an efficient way to communicate with large groups of people during a crisis. The partnership fully integrated the data transfer process between the WESPaC software suite data system and K-12 Alerts data base, which ensures that emergency phone, email, and texting numbers are up-to-date. Thus, school officials are able to send instant notifications to parents, students and staff when emergency situations arise, including inclement weather, school closing, campus incidents, etc. In February 2013, the two companies brought forth Anonymous Alerts Reporting Service, a communications tool, allowing individuals to anonymously report internet-enabled messages regarding bullying, family difficulties, drug and alcohol abuse, depression and other sensitive matters directly to school administrators.
Edsby is an innovative, cloud-based digital learning and analytics platform purpose-built for K-12 school districts. Its learning management, parent engagement and digital citizenship features are driven directly by native, two-way synchronization with Skyward. Edsby was an awarded vendor of WSIPC RFP 16-02 Learning Management Systems in 2016. Edsby is available to WSIPC members at a pre-negotiated cost, allowing districts to bypass the complex and time-consuming RFP process.
Founded in 1999, SchoolMessanger provides communication for education by means of a notification service in all 50 states. This service is integrated with Skyward, with a Family Access interface which allows parents to control how they are contacted through a single login.
The company Canvas is an educational technology company that provides a Learning Management System (LMS) to its customers. Canvas integrates with Skyward's SIS as well. This partnership means that WSIPC members have access to implementation, training, course migration and 24/7 support when they purchase Canvas.
D2L announced a partnership with WSIPC on March 23, 2017 to reach and engage almost three quarters of a million learners. WSIPC members can now choose D2L’s award-winning Brightspace learning management system (LMS) to deliver a modern learning experience that reaches, stimulates and engages every learner. The platform will be available to members at a pre-negotiated cost, allowing them to bypass the burden of a complex and time-consuming RFP. 
WASWUG is the biannual gathering of WSIPC members to learn more about the Skyward product suite, share insights and network. Throughout the three-day conference there are over 175 breakout sessions offered within the Student, HR and Fiscal Modules. These sessions are taught by the WSIPC Staff and power end users. The WASWUG Conference first began in 2005 with hosting duties being rotated among various Washington State Education Service District . The total attendance of the first conference was over 800. The attendance has increased to over 1400 attendees by 2014. From 2009 onward, WSIPC was given the sole responsibility to arrange and organize WASWUG.
WASWUG Fall is an additional yearly conference that was added in 2015. It is currently located in Spokane, WA in order to better reach districts in eastern Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Alaska and Montana. The original conference was rebranded as WASWUG Spring and is currently located in Bellevue, WA. It typically has a theme every year, for instance, WASWUG Spring 2016 was musical themed. The next WASWUG Fall in October 2016 will have a Dr. Seuss theme.