Blackbaud: Friends Select’s New Academic Software for 2021-2022


All students are used to receiving countless notifications from Canvas, the online system that serves as Friends Select’s platform for homework, tests, grades, discussion boards, and communication from teachers. However, various mentions of Blackbaud, a new software (from the student perspective, at least) have come up recently in terms of report cards and schedule requests for the next school year. 

“Blackbaud is a software company that provides platforms for Student Information Systems (SIS), Learning Management Systems (LMS), Enrollment Management Systems (EMS), and more,” says Upper School Director Chris Singler. According to Chris, the faculty has already used Blackbaud for about 25 years for only SIS functions, including grading, report cards, and transcripts. Now, the LMS functions are being added so that the school can operate on one software.

Essentially, the functions of Canvas and Blackbaud are the same. Assignments and grades will be submitted similarly, and Blackbaud acts as a platform for posting class materials and videos. According to Chris, the school’s contract with Canvas ends this year, which was one of the reasons for making the switch. Additionally, “Blackbaud is a little more 9-12 focused,” rather than being applicable for all divisions of the school, adds Chris.

The switch away from Canvas has already taken place from an administrative standpoint, and “teachers are being trained in using the LMS right now. They will build out courses in Blackbaud this summer,” Chris explains. 

“Efficiency seems to be the driving force behind all of this. It is one system, rather than two,” summarizes Chris.