A Fresh Start

How the Middletown City School District Re-evaluated an Existing Program to Promote Success

For a midsized school district with several schools in need of improvement, using FileMaker Pro 7 to create customized databases is proving monumental in enhancing the quality of the district's schools.

Although the Middletown City School District, which serves 23 square miles of Butler County in southwestern Ohio, has used FileMaker Pro for 10 years, it was not until recently that the district made strides to use the program to create effective, customized databases.

The urban school district, home to 7,100 students, has struggled academically. Three of the district's schools have been identified as "schools in need of improvement" under the No Child Left Behind Act, which aims to ensure that all students perform at grade level regardless of ethnicity, family background or disability.

"Being identified as a school in need of improvement is not necessarily bad, because it helps us better identify the groups of students we're not reaching," says Patricia Reilly, acting superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

Teachers and administrators have been assigned the task of developing long-range improvement plans for each identified school. One plan of action is to use FileMaker Pro 7 to recognize and tailor data to meet the district's needs. The first step in this process was the appointment of Gary Canterbury as director of technology for the district.

"I was recruited to develop databases in order for the district to get its hands around the myriad of data sources that might help us better track the 'health of the district' using key variables from disparate data as measurement," says Canter-bury. "My purpose will be to write an enterprise integration 'front end' to the current antiquated student information software."

Former director of technology for the Lakota Local Schools in Butler County, Ohio, Canterbury used FileMaker Pro in the district to improve numerous systems by creating more than 200 integrated databases drawing seamlessly from the student information system, including a discipline tracker, detention tracker, HR interface, facilities usage, clinic management, and work-order management. Most notably, Canterbury and his Database Administrator Craig Campbell created computerized Individual Education Plans (IEPs).

"If a child is having problems, or is handicapped or has issues that need solutions, [he or she] needs an IEP," says Canterbury. "It was a huge effort until FileMaker Pro came along. Now, teachers can create individualized programs and track the level at which they are being addressed."

Recruited from the Lakota school district to the Middletown City School District last August, Canterbury is in the beginning stages of implementing an online system for developing IEPs for special education students in Middletown City. Once the digital IEPs are created, teachers will be able to access a centralized database to manage the records.

"[FileMaker Pro] is fast, flexible, scalable and limited only to one's imagination and skill set," says Canterbury. "So many districts spend so much more for so much less in performance and customization. It is a great product with great support; I would match it against any product in its class and many that are supposedly above its class."

FileMaker Pro 7 can be purchased for a special educational price that starts at $149 for a single copy, with substantial discounts available through FileMaker education licensing programs. For more information on how your school or district can benefit from FileMaker Pro, call (800) 325-2747 or visit the company online at www.filemaker.com/k-12 for K-12 solutions or www.filemaker.com/hied for higher education solutions.

See FileMaker 7 in action at NECC in Booth #2000!

Top 10 Educational Uses for FileMaker Pro 7

1. Track and report grades.

2. Develop lesson plans.

3. Track student portfolios.

4. Maintain attendance records.

5. Track fund raising and volunteers.

6. Manage admissions and registrations.

7. Manage resources, including equipment and facilities.

8. Track requisitions and purchase orders, and link them to requesters.

9. Share and collect information via the Web.

10. Convert paper forms to electronic forms.

This article originally appeared in the 06/01/2004 issue of THE Journal.

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