Alma's mission is to help create the greatest generation of educators so that they can create the greatest generation of students.
The interface and design were well thought out with the end-user in mind. Running reports and editing the data are easy and intuitive - and those are the most important aspects of an SIS.
There are a bunch of interface elements like this that make interactions awkward or repetitive, which induces frustration and boredom, which leads to errors. It feels like evaluations are 90° off.
Filter reviews (273)
Glad we're using Alma
Unlike other SIS's, Alma actually looks and feels like it was made in the 2010's. The system is solid, and has essentially every feature a smaller school like ours would want (and many more that we don't need to use). The gradebook is excellent, and it's easy to transfer classes and students from year-to-year. Their customer service has been great (we accidentally deleted multiple report cards in different places the other day and they quickly and helpfully solved our issue by restoring to a backup), and they are continually adding features and improving the platform. And the cost has been at least 50% less than quotes we were getting from major competitors. Many reasons to switch to Alma.
The latest transcripts update was helpful - there are still a couple of features we'd like on the transcripts front, but that's mostly because our school has a unique curriculum. This is totally just a personal preference, but I'd also like to be able to search for classes in the search feature in addition to contacts.
3 years ago
What incredible feedback, James! Thank you so much and we look forward building on all of your school's successes!
Alma Software Review (SBG school)
Comments: Support has been very helpful, typically it seems we have questions that either haven't been asked before or are not implemented yet. Faculty/staff is able to access the reports tab which helps them track students and contacts quickly and has access to student records and class schedules.
Alma is easier than our former software and allows us to use our Standards Based Grading which is our priority. Parents were able to quickly learn how to use the system and the attendance feature is great. Students were also able to learn the system and although it doesn't have a comprehensive calendar with their schedules and our school activities, they were able to use the daily tab to track their classes.
The calendar is static and unable to be exported to phones/other calendars so we had to create an app for that. The reports are not as in-depth as needed and we aren't able to save our filters/criteria that we use often. They are still working on SBG reporting so many items we aren't able to track as we typically do through reports. The report card set up is limited for what we need in our report cards; we had to use every work-around to get a report card as we needed, but they do work now.
Reasons for Choosing Alma: K-12 was trying to start Standards Based Grading but didn't meet our deadline.
Switched From: Blackbaud K-12 Solutions
Reasons for Switching to Alma: It has what we needed for Standard Based Grading both in assignments and report cards for tracking.
Alma is a game changer for this school receptionist!
I love how easy it is to navigate through Alma. Doing attendance is quick and easy, using the robo attendance phone call to parents saves me so much time. Running reports is easy. Literally everything you need is at your fingertips!! Customer service is also amazing, they are polite, they respond quickly and resolve all issues.
I don't have one single thing about Alma that I don't like. It's just so easy to use and convenient.
Used for an elementary, has great services, could be improved.
I LOVE the customer service. They are always willing to work with us and help us adapt the program to what we need. I love the many different reporting features and how they each have a unique description that helps me find exactly what I need. I also like that I can star the reports I frequently use. I like that I am able to easily fill in grades in the "gradebook" tab, as well as having the opportunity to quickly report final grades at the end of the term. I am also happy with the ease in resetting a password for a user who has forgotten theirs as well as the quick ability to change a username. I appreciate that many users can have access to the same information (meaning a student and both of their parents can have their own accounts but access the same information on their child). I think overall I am mostly impressed with Alma's support team, how quickly and professionally they respond, how they will not let me leave the conversation until they are satisfied that all of my questions have been answered and my concerns resolved, and I love that they are constantly updating, making the website better, and then sending out an email with all of the updates and detailed instructions on how to utilize them.
I feel the website could be slightly more user friendly. There are often times it takes longer than I would like to access the information that I need (a lot of clicking through redundant tabs and not a lot of short cuts). I also wish it was easier for parents to understand the website. I don't like that there is no easy way for a parent to access a student's missing work, instead having to look through each class and assignment to see what has and has not been turned in. I also wish there was a way for us, as administrators and teachers, to see exactly what the parents see. It is hard to give advice and support to a parent when their screen looks different from mine; and I often don't know if they can see everything that I can, like all of the notes and assignment descriptions and what not. Otherwise, I am mostly happy with Alma.
Alma Makes My Job SOOOO Much Easier!
Overall, our experience has been very positive. The quick responses to questions and the help available is wonderful!
We do have some questions about standardized grading (we plan to tackle those questions this summer!!)
I LOVE the customer service, everyone is very personable and quick to respond. My questions are answered completely and I am always directed to where I can find answers to my questions. The program is very easy to use and, typically, I can figure out most issues I am having using the resource pages.
It might be lack of knowledge on our end, but the teachers are not happy with the standardized grading in Alma. I would also like to be able to allow more detailed access to only certain teachers with specified things.
Ivana B's Review
The software enables us to have all the data related to students, teachers, curriculum and assessment in one place. There are many things that are just "one click" tasks and things don't have to be re-done at the beginning of each school year. They can just be copied, transferred, modified... I also like that there is always a solution to everything, even if an option does not exist in the system, the support team helps find ways to make sure we get what we need.
There are some things that we would like to have. For example: the option to show attendance on the report card per class (as opposed to per day), or the option to include a digital signature on the cover. These are some tiny things that we have found ways to resolve, but we have communicated them with the support team and we feel confident that they take our feedback into consideration.
Excellent option for smaller schools
Easy to use and manage, it has multiple layers that allow students, parents, and educators to communicate and document work.
It took a long time to set up, but once it was active it was easy to navigate
Alma is very user-friendly and intuitive!
I like that Alma has so many reports that I can generate to look at different aspects of the school such as progress reports, attendance, missing assignments, and so on. I also love how easy it is to create your own report card templates and create your own grading systems and monitor everything from one platform. Parent communication is also very easy!
I wish it kept the history of group messages I send. Also, it would be very useful to be able to view messages that teachers send to track school-home communication. I would love to see a better lesson planning feature offered.
Comments: It is hard to navigate through unless you have worked with SIS in the past. The study guide is great but again only if you know where to find things.
It is easy on the eyes. Very organized for new users.
There are no straight forward reports. Alot of steps to take care of certain parts of the program.
It is very effective for education management and user familiar as well. Highly recommended to use.
A feature of weak and good students may be included.
Alma SIS in a small, rural, school district.
Comments: The staff at Alma are excellent. The transition was difficult because it needed to occur over a short timeframe. But the support was there and we pulled it off.
Alma integrated well with Google Apps and provided integrations with other third party software. The interface and design were well thought out with the end-user in mind. Running reports and editing the data are easy and intuitive - and those are the most important aspects of an SIS. The support was excellent, and always available through the Alma Academy.
We would like a module that would allow our cafeteria software to integrate so parents could see their child's lunch balance in the same place they view their child's schedule, teacher, and fees. There were also growing pains, as state-required data collections differ in every state and sometimes this meant there were duplicate or similar data fields that confused some of our clerical staff.
Great user interface
Comments: The transition from a different software was pretty smooth. Support has been helpful. Our teachers are happy with the system. Parents haven't complained. No real hidden fees (unless we want to have them add custom fields or custom reports). We are happy with Alma, and looking forward to ongoing development of additional functionality.
Alma has a great user interface! It is much more intuitive, FUN, and easy to use than the software we were using previously. It really shines in the LMS arena. Our registrar is very happy with how the class configuration, grades, report cards, etc. work in Alma. Our teachers appreciate the ease of use and the integration with Google Classroom. Our parents appreciate not having to pay for the app. We appreciate that so far there aren't a lot of extra add-ons that you have to pay for. The pricing tiers are very straightforward. They roll out new features/functionality regularly.
Because Alma started as an LMS and added SMS/SIS functionality, you can see that it shines the most in LMS functions. There have been quite a few data fields that we were accustomed to using in our old system that do not exist in Alma. You can pay extra to have them developed/added, but there is no way to do that yourself. As for reports, there are good default reports in the system, and you can do a fair amount of custom reports, but it is not as comprehensive as we had hoped. We wish Alma had a way to give parents access to directory information (of other parents in their grade or the whole school. We wish it had a way for parents to enter/track their volunteer hours. We wish it had more functionality in the emergency contact/ medical information. We wish it had a more robust lesson planning capability.
Alternatives Considered: FACTS
Reasons for Choosing Alma: Lower cost, better user interface
Switched From: FACTS
Reasons for Switching to Alma: Price, functionality, user interface
Powerful - 21st Century - Highly Recommended
Comments: When you have been with company for years is it hard to make a switch. From day one Alma made our transition to their software painless. Lets face it, people do not like change, especially a secretary that has been here for 30 years. Alma made it easy with their robust training and support our secretaries were smiling "like the butchers dog" The days of our principals spending all summer creating a master schedule are over. Alma's schedule builder is amazing! Overall I would highly recommend Alma and If they continue to stay on the cutting edge of innovation we will never need to make another switch.
There are so many GREAT features about Alma, to list just one is hard to do. I love the feed back that I receive from parents, teachers and administrators stating what they love about Alma. As an technology administrator you only hear when something is not working. Alma provides so many easy to use features everyone loves it. From the administration scheduling, it's seamless integration with Google Classroom, easy custom reports, on-line student registration and the awesome communication link with parents and students.
Well there really isn't anything I do not like about Alma, they continually update and add new designs and innovation to it's all inclusive student accounting system. Understandably some suggested features take longer to add then others.
Moving in good directions
Comments: Far better than any other software I’ve used to manage classes, but still approaches the problem from an administrative, quantitative standpoint, rather than a student development standpoint.
There are concessions made to narrative evaluation, which is great for an alternative school. Each block, the system gets cleaner and easier to handle as we write our evaluations for the kids, and, since our output is so much more complex than a single letter grade, it’s really important that the cognitive overhead for each evaluation be as small as possible. I’m really gratified that Alma continually improves this aspect.
Touchscreen integration is clunky but getting less so. It’s often hard to see what I’m doing, as column headers disappear as I scroll. There are a bunch of interface elements like this that make interactions awkward or repetitive, which induces frustration and boredom, which leads to errors. It feels like evaluations are 90° off. I want to be able to evaluate a student, but it’s easiest to evaluate not only one class at a time, but one skill for the whole class at a time. It discourages thinking holistically about individual students and encourages comparing them in each skill. I think this makes it harder to do evaluations and makes them less accurate. Daily evaluation notes go nowhere. We take attendance each day, which is dutifully reported, but any qualitative expression we have is thrown away. This does a great disservice to students because it means that, in the course of a day, it’s harder to make qualitative assessments of a student, leaving us only with their attendance data — a quantification that’s easy on a database designer but is hostile to learning.
Great Customer Support
Comments: We have really enjoyed the experience with ALMA. The support staff are very friendly, and if they don't have a solution to an issue, they work hard to find one. They are open to requesting additional options or features they may not currently have available. This makes me feel that they truly want to improve their product. We are very new to using ALMA, but they have proved so far that we made a good choice.
I don't have a lot to compare ALMA to, but I feel that the user interface is very intuitive. After light training, I felt that I was able to navigate the software with ease, and perform many of the functions without having to struggle to do so. The resources for questions called the "study guide" has really good searchable articles and videos that addressed almost every issue I had. If I couldn't find the answer, the support staff was quick to respond and help with a solution.
Education is so vastly different from one school to the next. On the similar needs of schools I think ALMA performs great, but for specific needs or differences they struggle to meet all our needs. Many times we have to find a work-around for issues we are having. I will add that this is very rare. A specific example is that we can search students by grade. We can search specific classes, but not the whole grade. There are times it would be beneficial to see all the students in one grade.
Reasons for Choosing Alma: It was very difficult to use. We had to pay for help every time we had an issue. The reports never looked the way we wanted. It did not handle standards based grading well, and trying to have both standards base with traditional grading was practically impossible without some major programing knowledge. The list goes on, but these were some of our main concerns.
Reasons for Switching to Alma: - I think the look was more updated - parent perception of quality - Standard or Traditional grading supported - Communication from the console - I'm not sure if the others did this, but it has been very helpful - Customer Support - the reviews on this was a big reason for choosing ALMA
Easy to Use and Functional
Comments: Alma has allowed us to improve our communications within the school and with parents and students. Parents and students can see middle school students' grades and assignments. We also use it to broadcast emergency messages such as snow day closings.
Alma is very easy to learn and to use. It has a lot of great features that make it flexible for the needs of different schools. Most importantly, the customer service is fantastic. They get back to you quickly, are helpful, even pleasant with some of my "stupid" questions to which I should know the answer and are open to ideas for improvements and new features.
Some may wish for an "all-in-one" SIS/LMS system. Alma is more an SIS+ with some features that would allow a school to get away without an LMS, but certainly not all the features one would find in a combined SIS/LMS system. However, I think this is a good thing, as it provides flexibility to meet the needs of particular schools. For example, we are a Google Classroom school and don't currently use a full featured LMS such as Schoology or Canvas.
Reasons for Choosing Alma: Easy Grade Pro, our gradebook for years, was no longer being supported and we needed a new SIS system to replace Rediker, which was not meeting our needs.
Switched From: Administrator's Plus
Reasons for Switching to Alma: Alma was easier to implement then many of the bigger options and had a more up-to-date interface them some of the other smaller options.
Excellent, Comprehensive, and EASY TO USE
Comments: This has made running our school so much easier. I am so glad we switched from the old software.
We moved from PowerSchool to ALMA and it is sooooo much better! Everything is intuitive. No paying for extra training for everything. No extra modules being hawked to you every month. No need to pay for someone to "maintain" the software. It isn't some old Database software that you need to learn equations for. It looks wonderful, is easy to use, and super adaptable. All of the new additions that you get charged for with other software are free updates with ALMA. If you do have a problem, ALMA *wants* to hear from you! It's an entirely different relationship. And it has more features. Because it is a modern piece of software and not something based off of antiquated 90's era software, there are more bells and whistles. New options are being added every couple of months. Often based on what the users have asked for. This makes my job 100% easier!
Some things are still a little complicated but it comes with online instructions to help you along.
ALMA is what we were looking for....
Comments: This program has helped our students, staff, and parents utilize one student management system and use it to it's fullest potential. Each people group is able to pull from the system the vital information they need; some need more than others and the program has addressed all levels of information and all levels of user. That was important to us as we needed something that our staff could use to keep track of vital demographics, our teachers could use to track student grades and assignments and yet parents and students could log on and keep track of grades, test assessments and missing assignments. It meets the needs of every level.
This product is very easy to use, in real time and easy to understand. Novel users can open up this SIS program and navigate in order to find the information they are looking for.
We were one of the first public schools to sign on with ALMA, therefore we have evolved with the company. There have been some growing pains as we have evolved. The tech support teams have been gracious and very helpful in keeping us up to speed and rolling.
Alternatives Considered: Vision SIS
Reasons for Choosing Alma: SchoolMaster seemed to complicated for our small district. Parents and students seemed to struggle to find the information they needed within the program and often times just wouldn't bother to look as it was frustrating to them.
Reasons for Switching to Alma: It seemed very straight forward, easy to use, real-time, easy for our parents, students and staff to use.
A solid Student SIS
Comments: They are a fantastic company with a bright future ahead of them. I'm happy to support them, enjoy using their product, and appreciate their customer service.
The main selling point from Alma was the ease of use. Out of all of the systems I've demoed and tried, it was easily the easiest to log in, poke around, and figure out how to do what I needed to do with minimal training. The second selling point is their customer service. Absolutely top notch. Their people are friendly, very responsive, and (most importantly) humans. I enjoy talking to them! I can usually get a response from a rep within minutes and even our teachers are welcome to message them with questions. The third selling point is that they are new system with a considerably active development cycle. We knew, going into it, that they wouldn't be as fully fleshed out as competitors like PowerSchool. That also means that it's easier for newer and fresher ideas to be implemented. It's not built on some old archaic database. Many of the features they do have that I use regularly such as the Report Card Builder and the Spreadsheet Data Editor/Report builder are very well done. We regularly get emails about new features being added and they listen to their customers when new features are requested. They've given us a lot of new toys since we first signed on with them. The final selling point is narwhals.
Probably the biggest issue that I face regularly is that their district level stuff isn't as fleshed out as I would like it to be. Many of the cool features that are available at each of the schools I manage can't be done in the district portion, aggregating all data and whatnot. I've been told they are working on that stuff though!
Alternatives Considered: PowerSchool
Reasons for Choosing Alma: TylerSIS was horrible.
Reasons for Switching to Alma: PowerSchool had just released a new HTML5 interface. When asking for a sandbox demo, they couldn't even be bothered to show off their shiny new product. They gave us an old dinosaur of a sandbox that was not appealing at all. Alma whipped us up a sandbox no problem. Some of the fake names of students, teachers, and were hilarious references as well! Also, during the review process, we were using a Powerschool product known as Haiku. One day it went down. The page just wasn't loading. We emailed Powerschool for information and, just as a test, emailed Alma as well. Alma got back to us within 15 minutes. Powerschool got back to us about 2-3 days later. There were a number of other little things like that that swayed our decision.
Great value, excellent support
Comments: Our biggest benefit with Alma in the last two years was when they implemented their online enrollment process. At the time, we were considering moving from Alma to PowerSchool to gain this function as we were still doing paper application and enrollment. PowerSchool was quoting $20,000 to provide this, and that was a discounted price! Alma's online enrollment was brand new, but I spent a month going through their Study Guide to create our first process. The online support was a huge help! At the end of that 30 days, I was able to confidently recommend to our Head of School that we say "no" to PowerSchool and stick with Alma. This feature and many others have only improved since then. We appreciate that Alma charges us less and lets us create this and other processes for ourself.
The support for Alma is exceptional! As I am learning to use different features the Help guides & live support answer all my needs in a timely manner. I brag on the Alma support to other companies who are not as helpful. I also appreciate how Alma listens to my suggestions for improvements. In the almost two years I have used the product, I have seen many of the features I have asked for being implemented. I get a regular email (weekly or bi monthly) that updates me on new features and almost every time, there is something there that I have been wanting. You've got to love a company that listens to and responds to its customers.
Alma has added many features that I didn't even know I wanted - thank you! The only feature they do not yet have is a way to accept and charge for payments. We can track financial info on Alma, but cannot have it accept funds. That would be a huge thing for us because we could eliminate using a separate program for this feature - we actually use two: MySchool and TADS.
A flexible and responsive product. Unbelievably effective and efficient.
Comments: We have reduced our printing costs, improved communication with parents, and successfully submitted our PIMS state reports. Communication with Alma has been great! The online resources and chat feature are very effective. Chat is answered within 10 minutes, often in less time. They have been responsive to our needs. Feedback from the teachers about their use of Alma has been very positive.
The user interface is very intuitive. Everything is where one would expect it to be within the program. Migration to Alma from our previous SIS was so straight forward and seamless that I was not sure the SIS was going to be ready on schedule. It was ready on schedule and very few issues have been encountered. Issuing digital report cards is very easy and our parents love it. We also communicate with our parents on a regular basis by using the email feature in Alma. Parents also have expressed satisfaction with the parent portal for checking their student's grades. Teachers find it very easy to use the gradebook.
Any concerns/needs we have expressed to Alma have resulted in instant inquiry and potential solutions.
Review for Teachers
Comments: I have had a good overall experience with Alma. They have focused on having good customer service and it has worked out well from my perspective as a teacher.
This is a pretty good product, not perfect, but good. The most useful part here is the link to google classroom for grading. This helps me be able to give feedback in one place and have it connected to my students and their parents. The parts that would be nicer for our specific use would be if Alma would be able to be linked to Atlas, Inc. this is what our school uses for different organizational goals.
There have been a few glitches in the system that our administration has run into. First dealing with the report cards for 6th grade did not work out with the Semester 1 Reports. So we had to give the parents the Nine weeks report cards for our school. The one part that is disappointing is the link does not work with standards based grading. This problem does not stem from Alama, but is from Google not doing standards based grades. Other than that it has worked much better than the Power School System we had in place before.
Comments: We have always had great success with Alma. They are supportive, friendly, and responsive.
The customer service reps are always kind and supportive. They are quick to respond and ready to help out. They even change their software based on suggestions.
There is nothing that I find to be the least liked about this software. They are always willing to help and update.
Alternatives Considered: Grade Book
Reasons for Choosing Alma: Alma was more user-friendly and more cost-effective.
Switched From: PowerSchool SIS
Reasons for Switching to Alma: Alma was more user-friendly and more cost-effective.
GETALMA for International Schools
Comments: I’m very satisfied with the overall performance of GetAlma, and I highly recommend it!
1) The features that where the most impactful: -Attendance and Report Cards 2.) Is the product easy to use? -The learning curve was a little steep in the beginning, but because of fantastic customer support, all concerns were quickly answered and solutions were given/suggested that solved the problems. 3.) Was the integration with your existing business processes easy? -Teachers found it easy to use overall.
1.) Are there features you feel are missing or could be improved? a.) Finer granular control over the lay-outing of the templates. b.) Ability to add drop-down dates in some places. c.) Manual inputting of each teacher’s class schedules for all grade levels is tedious. Alma should have a built-in feature of uploading .CSV files for creating and updating class schedules instead of using an optional 3rd party service. d.) The sandboxed sites for testing the look and feel of creating classes and report cards are geared for US school systems and not for international school systems, and which I did not find very useful. e.) There should be a feature during the initial set-up of the school year to allow certain weekends that can be ticked-off as part of the school year. 2.) Are there aspects of the product that are difficult to use? -ALMA Start (for creating online school enrollment forms, online parent info access, etc.) is a little complicated to learn and implement without a sandboxed testing environment when the school year has already started.
Great SIS For Small Schools
Alma is the most user-friendly SIS I've ever used. It's intuitive for admin, teachers, students, and families. The simplicity of it makes it very easy to navigate. Still, it's functionality is complete, especially for a small school. I have experience with some of the larger, more well-known systems, and they always felt clunky and hard to figure out if you didn't have a deep tech background. Amplify is easy to use out of the box.
My biggest complaint is that I wish the student ID was on every report available. I sometimes have to do a v-lookup to populate this info, which is an extra step. Also, I love that their support staff is readily available on chat. They sometimes even reply at night and on weekends! Sometimes though, I wish I could pick up the phone and call them for a more complicated question.