Kansas City Schools Project Ramps Up District-Nonprofit Collaboration
- By Dian Schaffhauser
The schools of Kansas City are the first as a district to participate in a new project to develop an integrated data collection system to track, monitor and report on outcomes related to behavior, academics and security. Kansas City Public Schools said the goal was to improve how schools and local nonprofits work together in advancing student success.
New software from Social Solutions Global will use data pulled from the district's student information system and data culled from various outside support programs to help both sides gain insights that could lead to more effective activities. In the case of Kansas City, for example, data on grades and attendance and participation in after-school programs could be analyzed by Social Solutions' Apricot 360 program, to generate real-time analysis and insights, push program referrals at the point of need and help the schools and nonprofits work better together.
The project is being supported by the Ballmer Group, a nonprofit that works on improving economic mobility of families seemingly mired in poverty. Last year, the Ballmer Group invested in Social Solutions to accelerate its product development and supplement access to the software to make it more affordable for the organizations that could benefit from its use.
"Our mission is to provide a better education for all of our students, and we're making solid progress, as evidenced by our improved scores in this year's state annual progress report — our highest ever," said KCPS Superintendent, Mark Bedell, in a statement. "This partnership, which will connect our schools with local nonprofits, will help us continue down the path to success, and we look forward to collaborating with organizations and programs in our community."
"This partnership ... will enhance community-wide collaboration, allowing nonprofits to evolve our programs as we gain a true understanding of each child and their specific needs," added Mike English, executive director of Turn the Page KC, which works to improve reading proficiency for children in grade three. "This is a breakthrough moment for creating the most positive future for our Kansas City students."
Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.