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Articles: Data

Source: 2016-17 Digital School District Survey

School districts use data dashboards for student performance, student information system administration view, IT systems and services, break/fix support, mid-course assessments, and financials/budgeting.

Trish Rubin is a marketing instructor at Baruch College in New York and is the author of BrandED: Tell Your Story, Build Relationships, and Empower Learning.

How two schools gathered data to help build their brands and more effectively tell their stories. 

From left to right: Kay Benning, Director of Library Services, Elmbrook Schools (Wis.); Edwin Tucker, Account Manager, OverDrive Education.

Digital reading platforms can enable more personalized learning by providing engaging, interactive and customizable digital content to both students and educators in all subject areas, as well as supplemental curriculum materials, professional development resources, ELL and special education titles, and more.

When securing edtech infrastructure, district leaders must concentrate on six layers of security—physical, network, applications, content, endpoint and cloud/data centers—to build a comprehensive defense against increasing and evolving cyberattacks.

Eileen Belastock is chief technology officer for Mount Greylock Regional School District in Massachusetts.

Voice-activated tools can create more immersive learning experiences, but school leaders need to consider the potential privacy risks and to safeguard student data.

When Rio Grande City Consolidated ISD introduced a digital reading program two years ago, some teachers balked at student assessments being performed by a computer. Those concerns abated as teachers saw increased proficiency for the 4,100 students using Istation Reading and Istation Español, says Serapio Trillayes, executive director for curriculum and instruction for the district, which is located in South Texas, near the Mexican border.

What does the routing process look like at First Student?

During Noel Petrosky’s 12 years at different Saint Marys Area School District elementary schools, she saw assessment data accurately predict student performance on state tests and inform instruction that led to student growth. That wasn’t the case at Saint Marys Area Middle School when she became principal two years ago.

“I thought, ‘I can’t go into a system not knowing what my students are capable of,’ ” recalls Petrosky, who wanted to establish a multi-tier system of supports (MTSS) framework at her middle school in rural northwestern Pennsylvania.

Why is personalized learning so important?

Marcy: It leverages a student’s interests, their strengths, then tailors instruction to their specific needs and goals.

Rich: It gets into predictive analytics. Traditionally the analytics type of reporting is a look at what has been happening. Personalized learning is looking at what is going to happen.

Twenty-six states have digital learning repositories where vetted, curated instructional content and material is available to all educators in the state.

Robert Sexton has worked with school-based tech for more than 15 years, so there’s not much he hasn’t seen. “Kids are pretty ingenious; keeping up with them is a challenge,” says Sexton, currently the director of technology for Olentangy Local School District, just north of Columbus, Ohio.

That challenge is mitigated by the district’s secret weapon—AristotleInsight::K12by Sergeant Laboratories, which tracks every digital move students make and alerts the district of potential problems.

What are the top transportation challenges at school startup?

The biggest challenges are routes, drivers and buses. School bus routing is more complex than other routing. District routes can be affected by ongoing school enrollment and by families moving. During the summer, districts experience higher turnover in bus drivers, which can impact startup. Lastly, readying vehicles for service after sitting through the summer and preparing new incoming vehicles for service presents additional challenges.

These district solutions serve as models for other districts, and cover the K12 spectrum, from English language learners to dropout prevention to data-driven decision-making to water conservation.

The 45 schools and systems recognized by this year’s District of Distinction program have created homegrown initiatives to support students’ social-emotional development, to provide powerful new opportunities for career-focused STEM learning and to improve the skills of educators.

A student's “hidden digital tattoo” is the information collected surreptitiously through browsers or social media profiles that may impact the ads and information they see online. (Gettyimages.com: altmodern).

As privacy concerns surge ever higher, some educators are pushing to replace the concept of “digital footprints”—the trail of data created by internet use—with “digital tattoos.”

From left to right: Debra Walker Smith and the Hoover City Title I Team, Director of Federal Programs and Testing, Hoover City Schools (Ala.); Mitchelle Kelley, National Consultant, Istation

Holistic intervention strategies for Title I schools that coordinate efforts between all educators and stakeholders are crucial to improving achievement. Through focused professional development, incorporating research-based approaches and utilizing technology, intervention efforts at Title I schools can be the most effective.

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