Iowa City Community district implements GuideK12 to support master plan

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Iowa City Community School District has implemented GuideK12’s geovisual analytics platform to support its 10-year, 258M master facility plan. The district currently serves 13,000 students, and is predicting rapid growth over the next ten years. Based on the growth forecast district administrators are implementing their first ten-year facility master plan that includes adding a third high school, three new elementary schools and renovations for two existing schools.

To support the massive growth expected in the Iowa City Community School district, COO David Dude, selected GuideK12 geovisual analytic software, naming ease of use and it’s ability to make boundary planning more streamlined and transparent. The fact that the platform was designed specifically to support school districts was a strong differentiator, along with the breadth and depth of the innovative technology.

“Many of these tasks could be done with other GIS-type tools, but would take us twice as long and would require multiple sources to gather the needed information. With GuideK12, we have the ability to view data instantly and mapped geographically,” said Dude. “Our facility master plan includes measures to ensure school populations are evenly distributed.”

To ensure that all stakeholders are kept informed, the district is rolling out a new Community Engagement Process to establish collaborative, transparent lines of communication within the community. Recently the board passed a new diversity policy detailing requirements with regard to free and reduced lunch status students. This policy will require ongoing school boundary analysis using GuideK12.

In the past this process would have been done utilizing a consultant who would be given the assignment, geocode students and run the stats. Using this old process, feedback could take weeks, where it was analyzed and then repeated. Considerable time and energy were lost in the interim. GuideK12 puts the data at the fingertips of those closest to the decisions and allows administrators to run scenarios in-house, providing them with real-time, consistent data from start to finish.

“The ability to run these scenarios, plug in options, build proposed boundaries and instantly see demographic reports will facilitate a much more efficient, flexible process. The last thing any district wants is to make a decision based on inaccurate data,” said Dude.

Iowa City Community Schools District is continually exploring and finding different ways to put GuideK12 to use. The ability to track open enrollment is one of those uses. “We can create a table of where students live versus what school they attend and visualize that on a map to see where we are losing students,” said Dude. “I see us being able to continue to expand how we use this functionality in the future along with mapping resource needs based on where certain student populations live.”

Being able to create custom layers over the top of the district map allows us to examine details like discretionary busing zones to help with transportation decisions. “ I feel this tool is so broad that we are only limited by our own ideas.”

About GuideK12:

Based in Eagan, MN, GuideK12LLC is a geovisual analytics software company, which enables education decision makers to instantly explore and analyze school district data by adding a geographic and visual dimension to their student and community information. By visualizing information spatially, decisions on everything from boundary analysis, to policy changes to resource planning and forecasting enrollments can be more insightful and faster. Named one of SIIA’s 2012 10 most innovative education technology products, GuideK12 serves large metro, suburban and rural school districts throughout the United States. It is owned by private investors and a private investment group based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.