Data & Analytics

2 School Systems Opt for Database Management Tools To Analyze Performance

Two school systems, one in Arizona and the other in Alabama, are adopting new database management software to improve areas of performance. Balsz School District #31 in Phoenix and Dothan City Schools in Dothan, AL are both using technology from DecisionEd for different purposes.

The company sells a performance management application specifically for K-12 that provides data dashboards, reports, alerts, scorecards, metrics and analytic tools to allow departments to view, analyze and share data across multiple data sources.

Balsz, which has four elementary schools and one early childhood school, will be implementing a data warehouse to perform data management, analytics and reports. A selling point for the district was DecisionEd's licensing approach.

"We didn't have to worry about pricing based on 'modules' or 'connectors' and what future costs may be," said Julie Morganthal, director of technology services, in a prepared statement. "With DecisionEd, all of our data is included. Since the K-12 data landscape is ever changing, should we decide to change or add source systems (assessments, SIS and so forth), DecisionEd proved that they have the most flexible, robust platform that can incorporate any K-12 data, all at no additional cost."

The vendor will be working with the 9,500-student Alabama district and its foundation to assess the effectiveness of a three-year pilot program in three area schools. The school system teamed up with Dothan-based Wiregrass Foundation to analyze data from "Bright Key," which was introduced in three of Dothan's elementary schools, to engage community stakeholders — teachers, parents and others — in the identification and implementation of programs and services at each of the schools. For example, one initiative identified by all three groups of stakeholders is the addition of "academic dream rooms" at each school, to serve as tutoring and enrichment centers.

DecisionEd software will provide the data and analytics to help the district and foundation understand program effectiveness during the pilot and help staff make data-informed decisions. The company also expects deployment to go district-wide to obtain baselines for other programs within Dothan schools.

"A public-private partnership as important as Bright Key needs to be able to demonstrate a positive impact," said Barbara Alford, president of Wiregrass, in a press release. "For foundations investing in education, a critical question almost always is, 'Has this project had an impact over and above what would have happened without our investment?' DecisionEd gives us, for the first time, a powerful, user-defined data management tool to be able to answer this question."

"In this era of data-driven instruction, our abilities to effectively help students and efficiently target resources are dependent on quality data collection and analysis," added Superintendent C.L. Ledbetter. "The use of DecisionEd will allow for a greater level of analysis than we have ever been able to accomplish in the past so that we can make better instructional decisions for our students."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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