I have two kids who started school late last year in San Francisco. I've been getting more involved with the school and their education and have been noticing the lack of open source software in most of the school operations. In the great open source tradition of scratching your own itch, this summer i'm looking at building a few modules. These seem applicable to a lot of schools and figured it might make more sense to do some research into whats available out there.
To clarify some terminology:
CMS - Content Management System like Drupal or Joomla
CRM - Contact / Constituent Relationship Management System like CiviCRM
SIS - Student Information System like SchoolTool or Open Admin
LMS - Learning Management System like Moodle
Parts of this post have been extracted from the discussion Drupal/CiviCRM as a SIS (student information system). I also chatted with Tom Hoffman about SchoolTool and SIS on the schooltool irc channel.
So all 4 areas independently have good open source options. However the integration between the CMS, CRM and SIS is non-existent. I do not know a lot about LMS's and will omit them for now. Wikipedia's definition of an SIS can be found here. Basically an SIS handles all information about a Student: from the classes a student takes, to grades, scores, attendance and discipline records. An SIS system typically does not store information on parents and families and how students are related.
Some needs of schools that are more related to a CMS/CRM rather than an SIS include:
In addition there are quite a few applications/form that can be built on top of a CMS/CRM to assist with school administration:
Some other things that can potentially be done with this combination of tools:
I'll blog about this in more detail as i make progress on it. Zack Rosen blogged about why this should happen a long time ago (feb 2006): Moodle, Elgg, CivicSpace, CiviCRM and Drupal should join forces.