One place that is always in need of technology is our schools. The school systems today are starting to use more tech such as new computers and tablets. One thing they lack is electronic payment. With cash and checks becoming more and more obsolete, the demand for paying fees through the web is greatly increasing. To solve this problem, Intertech was hired to assist a leader in technology and information educational services in developing a comprehensive fee management system. This system would be used by parents, students, and districts. Intertech's team worked closely with the leadership and the internal software development team at the education technology collaborative to build a modern web application with clean bookmark-able URLs (MVC routing). It also has seamless integration between multiple applications including applications used to process activity fees, meals, and community education.
The client is an education technology collaborative of many Minnesota school districts and a partner to K-12 educators. They offer management software for school operations, instructional administration, and information technology operations, and other applications designed to help districts work more collaboratively with parents and students. Fees are required for a variety of activities within our schools including student trips, plays, athletics, transportation, meals, community education and more. These transactions can be a time consuming process; causing teachers to become bookkeepers and bill collectors, taking time away from what they do best... teach.
The application is an integrated product consisting of multiple applications. While Meals, Activities, and the shopping cart are built by the team within the client, it also integrated applications such as accounts, and community education that are built by a software vendor that is closely vested with the customer. The integration includes a unified shopping cart and authentication (login) with flexibility to use third party authentication stores such as Facebook, Google, and Twitter accounts. All of this was facilitated using a common co-branded toolbar (OAuth 2.0). The application also allows customizations per school district including school district specific URLs along with allowing fee payments for students from a family all with a simple to use and interactive web interface. Portions of the application are hosted in an Amazon EC2 cloud environment with ability to scale with new school districts onboarding and ever increasing users/students. Payment gateway is integrated using bankcard services, with shopping cart and payments executed from within an autonomous application that can be reused for similar other applications in the company. The application also integrates seamlessly with other company applications such as school view which is the source system for student records. Intertech worked closely with the leadership team and business analyst within the collaborative to understand the requirements, track work using JIRA (an issue tracking tool written in Java), and execute delivery using a customized process adopting the best of the practices of iterative and waterfall methodologies. This allowed a working and progressive relationship with external teams all focused on delivery of a good quality product.
The online payment system allows parents to pay for items easily online, eliminating sending cash or checks along with their children to school, providing a safe and secure method of payment. The system allows for single account login for all students in a family. It also allows parents to see what their child eats. An automatic email alert is sent to parents when balance hits user-determined level, and the account is automatically updated when the student moves from a grade or school. The system is also safe and easy to use from the perspective of school districts, saving thousands of dollars to the district while providing other benefits such as: • No installation, setup or software fees to the district • Start-up within one week • Teachers no longer have to be bookkeepers and bill collectors. • Fees can be defined for meals, student activities, transportation, spirit wear and more. • Unlimited number of optional fees to address district's unique needs • Magnetic card reader capability
From the day it was founded in 1991 by local entrepreneur Tom Salonek, Intertech has been a company with an important difference: unwavering commitment to customers, employees and the broader community through excellent work, smart workplace and financial management, and creative philanthropic involvement.