Ed Tech Explainer

7 Questions about SchoolStatus with CEO Russ Davis

Keeping up with the thousands of ed tech solutions available to K–12 schools is challenging; startups and well-established providers alike are frequently announcing new features and integrations, expanding into new lanes, or contracting to focus on the areas in which they see the biggest impact for students.

SchoolStatus CEO Russ Davis answers 7 questions about how the K-12 ed tech solution worksTHE Journal’s “7 Questions: Ed Tech Explainer” series gives ed tech leaders an opportunity to summarize their solution(s), explain how their product helps educators and schools, and give a quick overview for K–12 decision-makers — sort of an extended (but not too extended) elevator pitch.

For this week’s “7 Questions” article, THE Journal visited with SchoolStatus Founder and CEO Russ Davis. Find more info at SchoolStatus.com.

THE Journal: How does SchoolStatus’ data analytics function work with a district's other systems?

RUSS DAVIS: The SchoolStatus platform is application-agnostic, enabling schools and districts to leverage current technology investments. The platform pulls relevant qualitative and quantitative data from siloed systems into a comprehensive and insightful view at the student, classroom, school and district level.

School districts utilizing SchoolStatus have visualizations and actionable insight with data drawn from their:

  • Student Information System
  • Attendance and Disciple programs
  • Learning Management System
  • State & Local Assessments
  • Benchmarks
  • Communication metrics from the text, call, and email tools embedded in SchoolStatus’ engagement module

Simple diagrams combine all data to offer a true holistic view of each student (attachments include IEP, 504, RTI Plans, etc.). Grade, class, cohort, and individual student metrics available for teacher use. Custom cohort tracking over time allows educators to monitor progress, trends and outcomes.

The platform delivers a customized experience for each user and SchoolStatus works with each school individually on training and customization. Schools can use standard dashboards or create their own custom dashboards.

Moreover, the SchoolStatus platform enables administrators to change or update current technology choices without data loss or disruption, providing greater flexibility and the option to update technology choices as needed. SchoolStatus includes 24/7/365 customer support, ensuring a successful implementation and full leverage of data.

Our proprietary software integrates through a variety of methods, but the cleanest is via API key. No one from the district has to manually import or export the data, it’s done nightly and automatically.

THE Journal: How can a data analytics and school-home communications solution like SchoolStatus lessen administrative workloads for classroom teachers and/or district leaders?

DAVIS: SchoolStatus enables teachers to get to know their students before they even reach the classroom. By integrating all student data behind one screen and placing it on a digital student card, teachers are learning about historical assessment and benchmark data, past disciplinary issues, and other characteristics that provide a more comprehensive view of each individual. Parent communication is also easier with automatic record-keeping.

Additionally, using communication platforms like SchoolStatus that offer translation and multiple modes of communication for families with different levels of access to technology can help teachers reach families through different methods (email, text, video, or phone) all in one place. In the absence of a platform like ours, having teachers manually keep track of contact information or keep time-consuming manual call logs puts unnecessary burdens on teachers for school-home communication.

SchoolStatus also recently acquired Operoo, a privately held, Australia-based company that provides one of the most widely used cloud-based solutions for online school forms, medical data, and trip management. This software supplements the SchoolStatus platform with digitized operations management. The addition of Operoo’s software into the SchoolStatus platform will enable schools to further streamline communications between school and home, saving time and resources by automating operational tasks and workflows.

THE Journal: What are some of the newer features within SchoolStatus that educators have said they really needed?

DAVIS: In the past year, SchoolStatus has acquired two major education software companies, adding capabilities to our platform, and launched our own new feature:

  1. In March, SchoolStatus acquired Teachboost, a privately held software company that builds tools to support educator observations, evaluations, and coaching. This has allowed districts to create personalized professional development opportunities for educators and ultimately supports student success.
  2. In January, SchoolStatus launched its new Video Chat feature, providing a 1:1 platform for visual learning or conversations between educators and parents or students.
  3. In October 2021, SchoolStatus acquired Operoo, the company referenced above; this has helped further streamline communications between school and home.

THE Journal: How does a platform like SchoolStatus increase family engagement/support, and why does that matter for student outcomes?

DAVIS: Through the SchoolStatus platform, teachers can send out mass text messages or individual text messages, or they can call or video chat with a family member. This allows teachers to keep their personal phone number private while developing deeper connections with families.

Research shows that students with engaged families earn higher grades and test scores, adapt more quickly, attend school more regularly, have better behavior and social skills, and go on to graduate.

THE Journal: One concern among some K–12 leaders when it comes to data analytics is that teachers might feel "overwhelmed with data points" or don't have time to use all the data that ed tech solutions generate. How does SchoolStatus avoid overwhelming teachers with data points?

DAVIS: The platform integrates siloed data sets from multiple sources into a single, customizable, and intuitive view of student, classroom, school, and district data with easy-to-use reporting tools. Simple diagrams combine all data to offer a true holistic view of each student (Student Card attachments include IEP, 504, RTI Plans, etc.), classroom, school or district. Accessing all of the information in one place helps educators visualize the high level trends and, when needed, see granular details for each individual.

THE Journal: How does SchoolStatus' two-way, parent-teacher communications service differ from other school-home communications solutions?

DAVIS: Other solutions do not address the technology-equity barrier many families face across the US. One in four U.S. families do not have access to the internet, which can cause a significant decrease in parent-teacher communication as many schools lean on email or text messaging to communicate with families. Parent-teacher communication has been proven to have a direct correlation to student success. We designed the platform to be easily accessible for everyone, to ensure all students and their families feel connected and have the opportunity to succeed.

THE Journal: What are some other ways that SchoolStatus stands apart from other K–12 providers in its lane?

DAVIS: The SchoolStatus platform is the only tool that combines real-time student data and parent-teacher communication to improve student outcomes and success. The product acts as a hub for student data that is accessible to teachers and administrators. They can track student trends — such as academic, behavioral, attendance, disciplinary data, and more — and communicate with families within the tool, which improves privacy for school leaders and increases access to parents. Parents do not need to download an app or even have internet access to access the tool — they can receive communication as a text on their mobile phone.