In Arizona district, better data is leading to more informed decisions
With 18,000 students in 25 schools, and with data spread across 25 separate databases, the Kyrene School District in Tempe, AZ, had a data management nightmare.
District administrators knew they needed a better system for managing student information.
"Moving students from school to school was very difficult," says Mark Share, the district’s director of technology. "Reporting on district- wide trends was near impossible."
The district addressed these and similar frustrations with Genesis, a Web-based student information system from Edupoint. Moving to Genesis gave Kyrene an integrated database, a full-featured set of user tools and expansion capabilities that have helped district administrators make strong educational decisions.
Many factors went into the selection of Genesis, but a major consideration was the intuitive interface, which translated into a shorter learning curve for the 1000 staff members who use the system daily. "It was much easier to learn this system," he notes. "It was easy to set up and there was consistency with the interface and database."
One of the best uses of Genesis is related to the compilation of state-mandated reports. Arizona requires weekly uploads of student data to its Student Accountability Information System (SAIS). The data is used to determine average daily attendance—the critical measure on which state funding is based. "Before we began using Genesis, a lot of this information had to be gathered manually and compiled by IT personnel," says Share, who adds that this and other similar tasks are now fully automated.
The depth of reporting helps the Kyrene district identify issues, make educational decisions, determine effectiveness and track results. "Everyone is working to improve student achievement," says Share. "The information we’re getting from Genesis helps us make the right decisions."
This year Kyrene rolled out the Genesis parent portal and gradebook, and administrators quickly saw that parent involvement is an additional significant benefit of the Genesis system.
Teachers who already keep attendance in the Genesis system have now started using Genesis to maintain their gradebooks. This puts a great deal of information in the hands of parents, who can see, in a secure Web interface, information on their child’s attendance and academic performance. The system can even provide parents with email notifications such as absences, or grades above or below a certain level.
"Teachers historically have been reticent to share their gradebooks online," says Share. "But now they see that parents can use the information to become advocates for the teacher and most importantly for their child’s education."
The Genesis implementation was so successful that the district subsequently added Genesea, Edupoint’s special education component. The Genesea system replaced the rudimentary system the district used previously and enables teachers, parents and administrators to collaborate on development of the Individualized Education Plan required for each student in the special education program. "This is a huge step forward," Share says. "The whole process of developing, managing, evaluating and renewing the IEPs is all managed in the program. This makes it very easy to track and involve parents every step of the way."
"Genesis has not only solved Kyrene’s existing data management problems," notes Share, "but more importantly has provided the District with a modern student information system—ensuring the validity of data for the future."
For more information about Genesis, please visit www.edupoint.com.