AIM General Information
The purpose of this page is to provide general information about the OPI AIM student information system, along with its purpose and processes.
At any time, should you have questions, suggestions or need further information, please call the OPI AIM Help-desk at 877-424-6881 or email the OPI AIM Help-desk at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AIM, THE MONTANA STATE STUDENT INFORMATION SYSTEM
The AIM system is designed to collect demographic, enrollment, program participation, and assessment data for each student. The program also tracks special education students IEP data and all students’ movement from school to school and district to district within Montana. It allows for timely reporting and data accuracy through standardized reporting capabilities. This system allows school districts to submit the required student information electronically. The AIM system provides the OPI, the State of Montana, federal entities, and the education community timely and accurate data about the progress of our students, schools, school districts and the state.
Please see the AIM Policy References webpage (buttons listed on the main AIM web page) for pertinent State and Federal laws that apply to AIM.
INFINITE CAMPUS, THE COMPANY AND SOFTWARE
The state of Montana Office of Public Instruction (OPI) adopted the Infinite Campus software application as its statewide student information system (SIS) in 2006 through an RFP process. The OPI calls the state level SIS ‘Achievement In Montana’ (AIM). The name of the company who owns the Infinite Campus software is also called Infinite Campus. The company is located in Minnesota, has been in business for over 22 years and is one of the largest student information systems in the country. There are multiple editions of the software based on the use of the application. The ’State Edition’ of Infinite Campus is used by the OPI staff and contains the state-reported student data from all Montana districts. The OPI pays an annual fee for this system that is based on a ‘per student’ cost. The current contract between the OPI and Infinite Campus runs through June 30, 2021.
In order to accommodate all the various SIS’ throughout Montana, the OPI built, along with our State Edition of Infinite Campus, a Montana Edition. This Montana Edition is provided to the districts at no cost, so that the schools who didn’t use Infinite Campus as their local SIS could submit their data into our Infinite Campus statewide system for state reporting. It contains the same basic student data as the state edition, including the Special Education student data.
The ‘Montana Edition – Valued Added’ is typically used by small districts as their main local student information system. Districts use it to maintain their basic set of enrollment, demographic, programs and special education IEP data. The ‘value added’ feature of this edition also allows districts to maintain students’ daily attendance and marks data.
The ‘District Edition’ of Infinite Campus is the edition that can be used by the districts as their complete local SIS with a wide range of features. Districts that use this ‘District Edition of Infinite Campus as their local SIS receive a discount on the cost of their annual contract. Because the OPI chose Infinite Campus State Edition for the statewide student data collection and management system, the OPI was able to negotiate a lower cost for any district that opts to use the full ‘District Edition’ of Infinite Campus with cloud hosting. This cost negotiation provides a significant savings to the districts and taxpayers of Montana. Currently, approximately a third of the districts in Montana use this edition.
DISTRICT ADVANTAGES TO USING INFINITE CAMPUS AS A LOCAL STUDENT INFORMATION SYSTEM (SIS)
Reduce financial cost: It is more cost effective with the discount allowed through the negotiations between the OPI and Infinite Campus. Also, for smaller districts, there is no minimum pricing associated with enrollment counts on the district's license and support fees.
Reduce verification time: One of the main advantages for a district who uses Infinite Campus as a local SIS is less time involved with verifying data in multiple systems.
Eliminate programmer scripting time: For larger districts, another advantage is eliminating the time/work it takes to create and maintain the programming scripts to export the data and match file upload templates.
Eliminate upload time: It eliminates the wait time for the data to upload and get copied to the state.
Eliminate dual entry: For some districts it eliminates duplicate entry into two systems (local SIS and Infinite Campus Montana Edition).
THE MOVEMENT OF THE AIM DATA
The data originates at the district level and gets copied to the state level of Infinite Campus by a syncing process. The syncing process happens automatically when data is manually entered and ‘saved’ in Infinite Campus or when the district executes a mass syncing process to get the data copied to the state level.
If the local district data is housed in a different local student information system (other than Infinite Campus), for larger districts it goes through a mass export and then an upload process to get into the Montana Edition of AIM. The smaller districts can choose to hand enter their data into the Montana Edition. It then goes through a final nightly syncing process to get copied into the State Edition of AIM.
Once the data is at the state level it is ready to be reviewed and validated by the OPI staff for reporting purposes. The OPI utilizes state level data snapshots processes for some of the federal reporting which affects district funding. The districts utilize import processes to copy their district’s state level data into other OPI subsystems that also affect school funding (such as MAEFAIRS and Special Education). There are multiple other systems that pull data from the State level AIM system data such as (Child Nutrition Program) CNP for Free and Reduced lunch funding.