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Aspire Charter Schools Cuts Data Tech Schoolzilla Loose
- By Dian Schaffhauser
An online data collection and reporting application "incubated" in a set of public charter schools has been launched as an independent entity. Schoolzilla, developed with teacher input for use at Aspire Public Schools, enables users to monitor student performance and make data-informed decisions. The newly formed company has also released a new Web app for California schools.
Aspire is a non-profit organization that runs 34 charter schools serving 12,500 students in multiple cities throughout California. Using the tagline, "college for certain," Aspire promotes itself as running one of the highest-performing public school systems in the state. In fall 2013 it expected to open its first school in Memphis, TN.
The school system developed Schoolzilla in 2009 specifically to help its educators make better decisions in the classroom. Schoolzilla consists of a data warehouse that pulls data from multiple sources and allows the user to create interactive reports. The first Web app to come out of the development work was Assessment Explorer, a program to help teachers specifically analyze California state assessment data on their students. That component was made available in 2011 to other public schools. It has expanded to accommodate other forms of assessment data and is now in use in 10 states, the company said in a statement.
The online software is available in multiple versions, including a free "starter" set that specifically provides for state data. A "super user reporting" edition pulls in data from student information systems, human resources, and surveys and provides a fixed set of "starter reports." That version is priced at $4 per student per year for "average sized" districts.
A "data hungry plan" includes those components, as well as Schoolzilla hosting of the data and the ability for users to build and edit custom reports.
Aspire CEO James Willcox said Schoolzilla was "unleashed" as an independent organization in order to allow it to take "what we developed at Aspire even further.” Aspire will retain a minority interest but will have no involvement in its ongoing operation.
The company recently released CST Explorer, an app that consumes California Standards Test (CST) data and converts it into more user-friendly visualizations and sharable reports.
Noted Harris Ferrell, CIO for customer Achievement First in Tennessee, "Schoolzilla puts actionable data at the fingertips of our teachers and school leaders, enabling them to use the data to drive the instructional and managerial decisions that lead to strong outcomes for more than 7,000...students."
Schoolzilla customers also include: Green Dot Public Schools in Los Angeles; Summit Public Schools in New Jersey; High Tech High in San Diego, CA; and the Alameda and Oakland Unified School Districts in Northern California.
Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @schaffhauser.