Interoperability Challenge Solved: How Lawrence Public Schools Improved LMS Adoption by 48%

Original Post from Tech & Learning

Many different school districts have the same data challenge. They have data, but it can’t be shared across systems. Educators are often dissatisfied with data management as it requires data to be input multiple times across both the SIS and LMS. For busy teachers this is inefficient and time consuming.

Lawrence (KS) Public Schools had this exact situation. Faculty and staff were frustrated by the inaccessibility and usability of the data to impact student learning. Initially, district leaders turned to their technology team to build an inhouse data integration platform that could connect their LMS to their SIS. After a year of effort, the task force wasn’t able to arrive at a solution.

Their LMS provider recommended the DataSense solution from BrightBytes and within days, the SIS and the gradebook were connected. Integration was seamless and data immediately started moving and updating in real time.

When teachers discovered that they only had to enter data once, LMS usage across the district increased by 48%. DataSense was able to track student movement in classrooms through nightly updates, making changes available to teachers each morning. As adoption rates improved, the district’s culture improved as well. Educators were happy to focus on teaching rather than manual data entry.

Dr. Terry McEwen, director of assessment, research, and accountability for Lawrence Public Schools, said that DataSense, solved multiple data management problems. “It’s more thatn a full-time job to complete the work that DataSense does,” he said. “So, it’s both a time-saver and a money-saver for us.”

In fact, DataSense has been so successful in changing data practices that district leaders have audited other data programs to identify additional areas where DataSense could improve efficiency and provide insights for instruction and student learning.

As they look to the future, district leaders hope to add additional systems onto the DataSense platform so they can decrease human interactions with data and minimize the potential for human error.

Watch this video to see the power of data interoperability in Lawrence (KS) Public Schools or read the case study here.

New Software Aims to Track Struggling SCS Students, Identify What Helps

By: Jennifer Pignolet
Original Post from The Memphis Commercial Appeal

As an assistant principal, Velvet Jeter knows the students who are struggling the most at Brownsville Road Elementary. 

The ones who are at a moderate risk of falling behind or developing disruptive behavioral issues, however, sometimes go unnoticed until there are major problems requiring time-consuming and expensive interventions.

A new software system Shelby County Schools is deploying throughout the district this fall aims to identify those students, and for all students receiving an intervention, identify what does and does not help them. 

Often, Jeter said, "we feel like we're giving them the right prescription, but we're not."

"I think it helps you know exactly what is in your building," she said. 

The SCS board approved a contract for nearly $2 million this spring with an education technology company called BrightBytes to implement the new data system for the next three school years. 

School leaders spent this week learning to use the software to identify children who may be at risk for dropping out of school or experiencing other academic delays. 

Chris Graves, the district's senior manager for decision analytics and information management, said the software combines data that teachers already report across the district and pulls it into one place, accessible to the leader of any school. 

In a high-poverty district like SCS, where students frequently change schools, the program allows a teacher to quickly learn about a new student, Graves said.

And instead of just seeing report cards and discipline records, the system rolls together additional data like how often that student was absent or tardy and how they performed on state tests to determine if they are at a low or high risk for falling behind. 

The program uses historical data from across SCS to compare current students' progress with those who have graduated and were considered ready for college.

Too often, Graves said, data across large school districts and even in school buildings is reviewed in silos, and the "whole child" is not considered. 

The system also tracks what interventions have been tried with each student. A child who has failing grades, for example, may struggle most in early classes because of issues with transportation.

The new system would identify that issue and explain what has been done in the past to try to mitigate the problem. 

The question the system ultimately tries to answer, he said, is "What is the support they need to be on track for graduation, to be ready for college?" 

The district has ambitious goals through Destination 2025 to have 80 percent of seniors ready for college or a career, a 90 percent graduation rate, and 100 percent of students who are ready for college or a career enrolled in a post-secondary opportunity. 

The new data system, Graves said, will help the district understand what works and does not work to reach those goals, and can identify common problems or issues that many students face.

For Craigmont High Principal Tisha Durrah, the program is a chance to be proactive about interventions, whether a student needs tutoring, behavioral coaching, emotional support, or weekly reminders about the importance of arriving to school on time. 

On Wednesday, during a training session at Bolton High, she was able to look up the students who will be walking into her building in three weeks. She was already planning how to address her students' needs.

"We can start looking at having parent meetings on the front end," Durrah said.

Second Year of School Financial Information Available on Website

By: Callie Jones, Journal-Advocate News Editor
Original Post from The Journal-Advocate News

Spending of schools and districts featured on easy-to-understand financial transparency web portal

A second full year of financial information is now available on the Financial Transparency for Colorado Schools Website that presents school and district financial information in an easy-to-understand format.

The web portal was launched last year populated with financial data from the 2015-16 school year, the latest available. Now, information has been added from the 2016-17 school year.

Data for RE-1 Valley School District shows the district spent $9,082 per student in 2016-17, slightly below the state average of $10,196 and down from $9,396 in 2015-16. Total spending was $32,475,822, while total funding was at $31,436,583.

Buffalo RE-4J (Merino) School District spent $11,543 per student in 2016-17, its total spending for the year was $3,684,531 and total funding was $3,846,183; Frenchman RE-3 (Fleming) spent $13,130 per student, its total spending was $2,709,095 and total funding was $2,794,981; and Plateau RE-5 (Peetz), spent $18,319 per student, its total spending was $3,117,260 and its total funding was $3,072,908.

The website, https://coloradok12financialtransparency.com, was created in response to legislation that required the state to present financial information for every school district, BOCES and most schools in Colorado. Lawmakers sought a way to provide the public with a deeper understanding of how education dollars are spent in schools, districts and BOCES.

In 2010, House Bill 1036 required districts to post financial information online, including budgets, financial audits, check registers and credit card statements. In 2014, the legislature enhanced that legislation with House Bill 1292 that required each district and BOCES to post financial data so it can be displayed in an easy-to-understand way.

The Colorado Department of Education partnered with BrightBytes®, a San Francisco education analytics firm, to build the website.

In 2017, every district and BOCES in Colorado provided their own data to populate the site. Districts identified as small/rural with fewer than 1,000 students and that had no charter schools were required to post district-level financial information only.

The data is presented in two domains, spending and funding:

• The spending domains show investments classified by three key categories: learning, operations and construction - making it easy to understand how dollars are being allocated.

• The funding domains enable visitors to see funding by local, state and federal sources.

Visitors to the site can compare information at the school-, district- or BOCES-level through a side-by-side view of up to four schools or education organizations at a time. Since its launch on June 30, 2017, the website has garnered 93,818 page visits from a total of 11,656 visitors.

BrightBytes Named ISTE 2018 Best of Show Winner for Two Solutions

T & L Announces ISTE Best of Show Winners
 

For the fifth year, Tech & Learning is presenting its prestigious awards program that honors great products at ISTE 2018. The products below were selected by an anonymous panel of educator judges, who scoured the exhibit hall floor during the conference in Chicago.

The judges rated their impressions on a sliding scale, evaluating areas such as quality and effectiveness, ease of use and creative use of technology. They then met in person to decide which technologies will have the most impact in the classroom and deserved to be named Best of Show.

"Once again, the ISTE show floor was inundated with edtech—from the latest in makerspace gear to sophisticated upgrades of district-wide enterprise assessment software,” said Tech & Learning’s Managing Director of Content, Kevin Hogan. “And once again, our expert panel of judges kicked the tires. It's a yeoman's task and the winner's should know that the honors are legitimate."

BrightBytes' Early Insights suite and Learning Outcomes module were among the winners, and will be featured in the August issue of Tech & Learning. 

See the full list of winners here!

 

BrightBytes Recognized as Finalist for 2018 Microsoft Education Partner of the Year Award

BrightBytes Recognized as Finalist for 2018 Microsoft Education Partner of the Year Award

San Francisco, Calif. June 11, 2018 BrightBytes, today, announced it has been named a finalist in the 2018 Microsoft Education Partner of the Year Award. The company was honored among a global field of top Microsoft partners for demonstrating excellence in innovation and implementation of customer solutions based on Microsoft technology.  

“We are honored to be recognized as finalists for the Microsoft Education Partner of the Year Award. The BrightBytes DataSense integration platform provides an easy way for school systems to unify and utilize all purposeful data among software applications. With DataSense driving Azure Consumption, our aligned efforts drive a powerful solution that embeds our K-12 education expertise into Microsoft technologies, and creates innovative solutions that significantly impact the successful outcomes for students. For more than three years, Microsoft has been instrumental in many of our largest co-sell opportunities, and we look forward to continuing to work together to deliver effective solutions to improve the way the world learns.” Said Traci Burgess, CEO of BrightBytes.

Awards were presented in several categories, with winners chosen from a set of more than 2,600 entrants from 115 countries worldwide. BrightBytes was recognized for providing outstanding solutions and services in Education.

“Our ecosystem of partners is crucial to delivering transformative solutions, and this year’s winners have proven to be some of the finest among their peers,” said Gavriella Schuster corporate vice president, One Commercial Partner, Microsoft Corp. “We are pleased to recognize BrightBytes for being selected as Finalist of the 2018 Microsoft  Education Partner of the Year award.”

The Microsoft Partner of the Year Awards recognize Microsoft partners that have developed and delivered exceptional Microsoft-based solutions during the past year.

About BrightBytes: BrightBytes®, the leading end-to-end data management through analytics  solution for education organizations, provides educators with the power to turn big data into big benefits for students. With the data integration platform, DataSense™, BrightBytes enables educators to cleanse, integrate, and bi-directionally manage complex data from multiple systems. The decision support platform, Clarity®, then employs advanced analytics, including machine learning, psychometrics, and predictive analytics to organize and visualize actionable data across research-based frameworks to drive student learning.

For additional information:
BrightBytes Communications Contact: Adam Davy, 720.341.3938, adam@brightbytes.net
Learn more about winners and finalists: https://news.microsoft.com
 

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Districts’ Increasingly Sophisticated Use of Data Powers Demand for Company Expertise

As K-12 Schools Look to 2018-19, Data Priorities for the Future Coming Into Focus

By: Michele MolnarAssociate Editor

Original Post from EdWeek Market Brief

School districts are experimenting with more sophisticated uses of data, but still struggling to connect the dots in ways that help pump up student achievement.

That opens the doors for companies that can help schools sort through the confusion. But they need to do so in ways that are effective and easy to understand for teachers,…

BrightBytes Named SIIA Education Technology CODiE Award Finalist for Best Enterprise Application Integration Solution

BrightBytes Named SIIA Education Technology CODiE Award Finalist for Best Enterprise Application Integration Solution
DataSense earns prestigious industry recognition

San Francisco, Calif. May 8, 2018 BrightBytes, a research-based, end-to-end data solution that provides education organizations with comprehensive data management, from integration to analysis, today announced that their integration platform, DataSense, was named a 2018 SIIA CODiE Award finalist in the Best Enterprise Application Integration Solution category. Finalists represent applications, products and services from developers of educational software, digital content, online learning services and related technologies across the PreK-20 sector.

With ever growing access and availability to data, it can be challenging to effectively integrate, store, and manage data easily. The BrightBytes data integration platform, DataSense, provides education organizations with one central, online platform to unify all data. With DataSense, organizations can achieve data interoperability in days instead of months.

The SIIA CODiE Awards are the premier awards for the software and information industries and have been recognizing product excellence for over 30 years. The awards offer 91 categories that are organized by industry focus of education technology and business technology. DataSense was honored as one of 152 finalists across the 39 education technology categories.

“I am impressed by the level of innovation and creativity demonstrated by the 2018 CODiE award finalists. These products are opening doors for learners of all ages by developing and utilizing new technologies to respond to student and educator needs.” said Ken Wasch, President of SIIA. “We know that education data is often disparate and very complex. We also know that if data isn’t integrated effectively, it can’t be leveraged to inform decisions. DataSense makes interoperability across hundreds of systems seamless and safe, so educators can easily access and provision powerful data to drive learning.”  said Traci Burgess, CEO of BrightBytes.

The SIIA CODiE Awards are the industry's only peer-reviewed awards program. Educators and administrators serve as judges and conduct the first-round review of all education nominees. Their scores determine the SIIA CODiE Award finalists, and SIIA members then vote on the finalist products. The scores from both rounds are tabulated to select the winners.

Winners will be announced during a CODiE Award Celebration at the SIIA Annual Conference & CODiE Awards in San Francisco on June 13.

Details about each finalist are listed at http://www.siia.net/codie/Finalists

About the SIIA CODiE™ Awards: The SIIA CODiE Awards is the only peer-reviewed program to showcase business and education technology’s finest products and services. Since 1986, thousands of products, services and solutions have been recognized for achieving excellence.  For more information, visit siia.net/CODiE.

BrightBytes Communications Contact: Adam Davy, 720.341.3938, adam@brightbytes.net

SIIA Communications Contact: Benjamin Price, 703.909.4034, bprice@siia.net

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BrightBytes Announces New Partnership for Expanded Dropout Prevention Solution

BrightBytes®, with American Institutes for Research®  (AIR® ), expands their predictive analytics solution for dropout prevention to now provide insight into postsecondary readiness 

San Francisco, Calif., February 15, 2018 --BrightBytes, the leading end-to-end data management solution for education organizations, today, announced the rollout of the Student Success module, an expanded offering of their award-winning Early Warning module. 

The BrightBytes predictive analytics solution (formerly known as the Early Warning module), which uses historical data and predictive analytics to individualize graduation risk analysis for students as early as first grade, will now provide insight into students’ readiness along the entire K-20 continuum in a new offering, the Student Success module. Developed in partnership with American Institutes for Research, one of the nation's largest behavioral and social science research and evaluation organizations, this robust solution will utilize two predictive models: one which identifies students at risk of not graduating from high school, and one that predicts students at risk of being unprepared for the challenges of postsecondary education. 

Traci Burgess, CEO of BrightBytes, explains, “Each student’s education journey begins before Kindergarten, and continues beyond graduation. The Student Success module not only identifies at-risk students as early as first grade in their academic career, but it also provides educators with the necessary tools to impact student trajectories in their postsecondary career as well. By preparing students to achieve after graduation, educators are developing a generation of individuals able to participate in a global economy and achieve greater equity in attainment gaps between socio-economic groups.” 

AIR conducts and applies the best behavioral and social science research and evaluation towards improving people's lives, with a special emphasis on the disadvantaged. As the Student Success module was built, AIR provided valuable technical guidance in indicator definitions for the module’s expanded framework, and the team has worked closely to review the predictive models developed by analysts and researchers at BrightBytes. This partnership is instrumental to support BrightBytes’ mission to use research-based analysis to turn big data into big benefits for students. 

“In order to help all students be college and career ready, educators and administrators need accurate, timely information that they can use to guide their decision making and instruction," said Susan Therriault, Managing Researcher at AIR. "We are excited about this partnership, which will allow us to scale the work we have done to help educators across the country prepare students for postsecondary success.”

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About BrightBytes: BrightBytes, the leading end-to-end data management solution for education organizations, provides educators with the power to turn big data into big benefits for students. With the data integration platform, DataSense™, BrightBytes enables educators to cleanse, integrate, and bi-directionally manage complex data from multiple systems. The decision support platform, Clarity®, then analyzes and organizes meaningful data across research-based frameworks to deliver visualized, actionable information that drives student learning.

About AIR: Established in 1946, American Institutes for Research (AIR) is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that conducts behavioral and social science research on important social issues and delivers technical assistance, both domestically and internationally, in the areas of education, health, and workforce productivity.

Media Contact: Ken Goldstein 303-548-2136 ken@brightbytes.net
 

 

 

 

 

About BrightBytes
BrightBytes, the leading end-to-end data management solution for education organizations, provides educators with the power to turn big data into big benefits for students. With the data integration platform, DataSense,™ BrightBytes enables educators to cleanse, integrate, and bi-directionally manage complex data from multiple systems. The decision support platform, Clarity®, then analyzes and organizes meaningful data across research-based frameworks to deliver visualized, actionable information that drives student learning.


 

Henry County Board of Education Taps Research and Analytics Platform in Shift Toward Personalized Learning; Emphasizing Student Agency Through School Redesign Project

Georgia’s Ninth Largest District will utilize BrightBytes’ Clarity Platform to evaluate and quantify outcomes of personalized learning investments, empowering educators with actionable insights to inform teaching and learning

ATLANTA -- February 8, 2018 -- Henry County Board of Education (HCBOE) and K-12 analytics platform BrightBytes, today, announced the expansion of a multi-year partnership in support of the district’s efforts to scale high-quality, personalized learning through an eight-year initiative that will utilize 36,000 devices to create a 1:1 computing environment across grades 3-12.  

BrightBytes’ expanded collaboration with the Henry County Board of Education builds on a successful partnership, first launched in 2015, to measure progress toward school redesign goals using the BrightBytes Technology & Learning module. The district also utilizes BrightBytes’ Early Warning solution to identify -- and address -- dropout risk factors by applying research-based practices and resources.

“The BrightBytes platform plays a critical role in supporting our educators as they implement new pedagogies and approaches,” explained HCBOE Chief Technology Officer Brian Blanton. “The unique analytics capabilities from BrightBytes enable us to understand the outcomes associated with new initiatives, and to understand and prioritize resource allocations across the district -- pinpointing the impact of targeted, timely student interventions.”

Although HBCOE, located just south of Atlanta, has embraced the role of technology in a transformation designed to better prepare an increasingly diverse student body, the district’s personalized learning plans are rooted in the application of research-based insights to enable great teaching -- and an intense commitment to student agency. BrightBytes’ platform was selected, in part, due to its ability to measure and report on dimensions of student growth and success that extend beyond traditional academic factors.    

“BrightBytes helps us to be able to measure the things we value -- metrics that matter -- that aren’t measured well anywhere else,” says Aaryn Schmuhl, HBCOE Assistant Superintendent for Learning and Leadership Services. “The data is clean and clear, the insights are helpful, and it is all in one place.”

To date, 32 of the district’s 50 schools have begun implementation of personalized learning initiatives as part of the eight-year school redesign project. The district expects to complete implementation and evaluation of personalized learning programs in all of its schools by 2020.  

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About Henry County Board of Education
Henry County Board of Education is located on the southern tip of Metro Atlanta. As the ninth largest school system in the state, HCBOE serves over 42,000 students and employs 5,000 employees. Superintendent Mary Elizabeth Davis works with staff, students, and families to uphold the mission of ensuring success for each student. The district has a vision of building a culture of personalized learning for all of its students, believing that all learners will excel in an environment centered on rigor, relevance, and relationships. 

About BrightBytes
BrightBytes, the leading end-to-end data management solution for education organizations, provides educators with the power to turn big data into big benefits for students. With the data integration platform, DataSense,™ BrightBytes enables educators to cleanse, integrate, and bi-directionally manage complex data from multiple systems. The decision support platform, Clarity®, then analyzes and organizes meaningful data across research-based frameworks to deliver visualized, actionable information that drives student learning.

Media Contact:
Hannah Leedle, 615.294.3448, hannah@whiteboardadvisors.com
 

Learning Analytics: 9 Startups to Watch in 2018

By: Walter Couture
Original Post from Disruptor Daily

The field of education has progressed far beyond the class testing and grading on the curve of past traditions. With the advance of technology, the goal is now to better understand the individual, how he or she learns best, what context works best, what are her individual challenges and needs, and how will she do in the future.

It's all about personal measurement and analytics that lead, not only to academic performance improvement but also behavioral support, risk identification, intervention and counseling where appropriate.

The use of technology facilitates a personalized learning environment where individual analytics create a model of predictive success or failure. And that environment includes teachers, content, materials, and delivery methods.

It also includes schools, support staff, educational publishers, course designers and anyone else affecting the learning landscape. Analytics are being developed so educational organizations and educators can more effectively design and implement the courses, tools and engagement practices that optimize learning for each student.

Here are some of the learning analytics startups that are using technology to help improve student learning outcomes through advanced data collection and analysis.

Civitas Learning
Founded in 2011 by Charles Thornburgh and Mark Milliron, and based in Austin, Texas, Civitas Learning offers a cloud-based, predictive analytics platform that delivers insights to the frontlines of education.

The goal of Civitas Learning is to help college students graduate by analyzing course loads and by supplying innovative interventions like nudge emails and improved advisory techniques.

The company’s learning platform uses predictive modeling to identify students at risk. It focuses on student engagement, persistence and completion to improve college attendance, retention, and graduation rates.

BrightBytes
Founded in 2012 by Rob Mancabelli and Hisham Anwar, BrightBytes provides a SaaS-based data analytics platform to build a modern learning environment, focusing on four basic frameworks that measure the effects of technology in a school.

The company’s analytics model includes classroom evaluation of how teachers and students use technology for learning. It studies the availability of devices and Internet access throughout the school and at home. It measures the skill levels of teachers and students with multimedia. And it evaluates the school culture, professional development, and technology needs across the organization.

BrightBytes customers say it improves the development of multimedia professionals and creates a better learning environment for their students.

Acrobatiq
Backed by Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and its research on cognitive and learning science, Acrobatiq is a learning optimization company that develops Open Learning Initiative courseware helping higher education students, faculty and organizations deliver measurable improvements in learning outcomes.

Insights developed from student learning data gives educators detailed information on which learners need help and what kind of help.

Learning analytics capture and model both behavioral data (i.e. page views, logins, etc.) and learning data from students’ performances to generate real-time predictive learning estimates for each student.

Discover the rest at The Daily Disruptor.

How Learning Analytics Can Make Your Teaching More Effective

Original Post from Go Pollock

As technology continues to evolve and become an integral part of our everyday lives, it’s only natural that we utilize the technology to improve education as well. One aspect of technology that promises to make this a reality is the use of analytics in the classroom to help refine the learning experience for students.

We recently completed edX’s course ‘Analytics for the Classroom Teacher’, which offered many insights into the intricacies of using technology and analyzing the data to fine-tune the teaching and learning experience. There are two main categories of analytics used for educational purposes. Teaching analytics analyzes the teaching design by looking at the your lesson plans and reflecting on how effective that is for the student learning experience. Learning analytics collects and measures student data and analyzes how the you can refine the learning experience to make it more effective for the student.

By utilizing learning analytics in particular, you are able to better understand the learning level and ability of each student and can then tailor the learning experience for each student. Essentially, this allows you to identify particular needs of each student and make quick, data-driven decisions about how to foster student learning in the most effective way.

Here, we focus on the three main frameworks within Learning Analytics. Each of these different frameworks collects student data in order to help you adapt your teaching style in a way that increases student engagement and understanding.

1. Descriptive Analytics -  This framework takes the student’s past and aims to analyze the student data to find patterns in the student’s learning progress. Simply put, descriptive analytics describe what has happened and the way things are, allowing you to make strategic decisions on the best teaching style for each student. For example, you can use Descriptive Analytics to find out how much your class knows about the lesson. After analyzing the data, you might find that implementing scaffolding strategies or differentiated learning processes into your lessons may be an effective way to reach more students. Some universities and districts have descriptive analytics tools built right into the teacher’s management system.

Quick Tip: Go Pollock is also a great tool to use for Descriptive Analytics. It allows you to export a PDF Insights Report for each Session your class completes in the app. Create a Session surrounding your lesson, motivate and engage your students, then export the Insights Report to see how you can make your lessons more effective.

2. Predictive Analytics -  As the name suggests, Predictive Analytics offer insights into future trends in your students’ understanding of the material. This framework uses the student’s past data and current data to determine what is likely to happen next. This is a great analytics framework to use to identify students who may soon be ‘low-performing’ or ‘low-engaging’. This can allow you to implement methods specifically meant to help those at-risk students get back on track and reach their full potential. For example, Sam, a middle school math teacher from Oregon, tells us:

“We use the Early Warning tool in our BrightBytes Clarity management system to help determine which students are at risk. It tracks the students throughout their academic career so we can see how they grow over the years. That way, if we see a student, or group of students, that are falling particularly far behind, we are able to intervene and correct the issue before it becomes a roadblock in the student’s learning path.”

3. Prescriptive Analytics - This framework not only provides teachers with data you can then use to make actionable decisions, but it provides alternative suggestions to make your teaching more effective. Based on the student data collected, the analytics tool generates suggestions on different educational resources and tools to utilize in order to make a greater impact with students. McGraw Hill created the LearnSmart Teaching Technology to provide schools and teachers with insights into student understanding and adaptive instructional techniques based on student performance.

While there are many ways to analyze student data, it’s important to make sure you’re taking the right steps to keep your students’ personal information safe. What’s even more important to remember is that the data itself is not what influences the student’s learning experience. It’s the receptiveness of the teacher and willingness to adapt their teaching style to better meet the needs of the students that makes the real difference. How do you use analytics to improve your students’ learning experience?

 

'It's Trending Up': OPRF Sees Jump in Classroom Technology Use Under 1:1 Initiative

By: Steve Schering, Contact Reporter
Original Post from Chicago Tribune

In the second full year of its 1:1 student technology initiative, Oak Park and River Forest High School says more than half of its teachers are now using devices in the classroom.

Under the 1:1 initiative, all OPRF students are provided with a school-owned Chromebook laptop to use in the classroom and to take home. The full 1:1 program began during the 2016-17 school year, though OPRF had launched smaller pilot rollouts in prior years.

During the Jan. 16 school board meeting, administrators revealed results of a Brightbytes survey, which used data collected in the fall of 2017. According to administrators, 841 out of 3,300 students and 216 of 268 OPRF teachers responded to the survey, with 77 percent of teachers reporting they feel confident in managing a classroom where students are using more technology.

"That is pretty significant, since we were only in our second year of the 1:1," instructional technology coordinator Earliana McLaurin said. "The top four responses of what teachers are doing are all things we want, productivity skills and completing assignments, viewing videos, doing research and typing."

McLaurin also said more than half of OPRF teachers are now using technology in the classroom on a daily basis.

"Not only are they using it, but they're using it more frequently," McLaurin said. "It's trending up."

With the numbers showing more teachers using the Chromebooks in the classrooms, administrators said they will now focus more on how that technology is used and how it can improve the skills students will need when they graduate.

"Now that we have more teachers utilizing technology in the classroom, we can focus on promoting technology that moves beyond those productivity tasks and to those 21st century skills we want our students to leave OPRF with," McLaurin said.

Chief information officer Mike Carioscio said administrators will also use Brightbytes data to set new goals and targets they hope to achieve in the coming years.

"We have been content, until this point, since we've been focused on the delivery of the 1:1," Carioscio said. "The real goal is for us to continue to improve. The main impact to the students is for teachers to really use that technology. If you're not using it on a regular basis, you're not having that kind of transformation."

Though technology use is increasing at OPRF, administrators said how and when that technology is used remains an ongoing discussion.

"One of the things we want to do is differentiate as much as possible," McLaurin said. "That means having conversations with each teacher about what their students need. If their students need to write with a pen and paper, then that's what we'll utilize. It's a collaboration between our team and the teachers, focused on them knowing their students and knowing what they want to accomplish."

Administrators said 539 parents participated in the survey, which is about 100 more than took the same survey last year.

"Eighty-four percent of parents felt confident they had some of the necessary skills to support a tech-enabled student," McLaurin said. "Only 41 percent of parents said they were aware of safety concerns, specifically. This rightfully is an area of concern we addressed this year, and will address moving forward."

According to BrightBytes data rankings, OPRF now rates as "advanced" in its use of classroom technology, just below its highest rating of "exemplary."

Hodgesville Meets Goals Last School Year

By: Amanda Hayes/Senior Staff Writer
Original Post from The Record Delta

BUCKHANNON — A local school recently gave their Local School Improvement Council and Faculty Senate reports to the Upshur County Board of Education.

Hodgeville Elementary met all of its goals for 2016-2017, according to principal Janet Phillips.

“We wanted our school to score a 45 or higher student growth percentile in math according to the STAR benchmark in second through fifth grade,” she said. “As a school, we were able to meet that average.

“We also met the same goal for reading, language arts and early literacy and once again we were able to meet that average.”

The school’s third goal was to have 95 percent or more  students in medium to low risk as measured by Bright Bytes, a program provided by the state.

“We were very excited when we ended our year with 96 percent in that,” she said. “We had a very successful year with meeting our goals.”

LSIC chair and kindergarten teacher Taylor Tenney discussed what the school has been doing regarding academics.

“With academics, we implement a variety of strategies and use a variety of resources to differentiate instruction for the students and meet them on their level,” she said.

All grades use Investigations as the adopted curriculum for math but also supplement that with Eureka Math.

“This is used to help students foster a deeper understanding for mathematical concepts,” she said.

Kindergarten through fourth grade teachers use mathematic assessments to figure out where the math gaps are with the students.

“We use that data to drive our instruction,” she said.

“In grades Kindergarten through fifth grade, Lucy Calkins Units of Study is sued to develop and expand student’s writing skills,” she said.

Students receive extra work through the Daily 5s and Café for reading and language arts skills.

“Collaboration between Title 1 and our general education teachers is really prevalent in this area,” she said.

The kindergarten, first and second grade use the Fundations program and co-teach with Title 1.

“This is a research based program that emphasizes phonetic awareness, phonics, high frequency words, reading fluency, vocabulary comprehension, strategies, handwriting and spelling,” she said. “We have noticed phenomenal gains in our students by using this.”

Another program is also seeing results.

“Our Title 1 teacher implements Level Literacy Learning, a program for struggling readers,” she said.

The students do a diagnostic test which helps identify where gaps are.

Phillips said that a recent test by the first-grade class showed 67 percent of students were at or above mastery.

Leandra Morlan, faculty senate chair, told the board of education Hodgesville is working to become a Positive Behavior Intervention School.

“Over the past few months we have been going to trainings to become a PBIS school and over the course of the next year, we will be implementing that into our school,” she said.

The school has also been using a communication log to go home to parents or guardians that shows if the students are ‘great,’ ‘OK,’ or ‘needs to improve’ with different aspects of their day.

“We decided for the nine weeks that if they got 10 or less needs to improve checks and four or less days signed then they get to attend a reward,” she said.

“It helps us teachers be able to communicate with parents on a daily basis about things going on in the classroom, with behavior and so on.

Teachers are using Love and Logic techniques for discipline.

“We feel that is most important because not only does it show the kids respect but it allows them to save face and keep their dignity whenever they have consequences occur,” Morlan said.

“Another thing we saw with our kiddos is they were tattling a lot. We created a Mindful Monday and a Thoughtful Thursday on morning announcements where we present them a problem and use teachers as an example,” she said.

The students then talk about the scenarios with their classroom teachers and analyze whether it was a big deal or a little deal and what they should do.

“We implemented attendance incentives because we saw that we have habitual attendance issues with some of our kids and we have been really successful with that,” she said.

“We have a monthly activity and at the end of the year, we will have a really big overall incentive if they have five or less absences,” she said.

The school had seen a big spike in behavior issues during lunch and recess times.

“Last year, we implemented something called Zero Heroes,” she said. “If they got zero check marks for lunch and recess, then they got to attend an activity on Friday that the teachers created and put on. That was very successful so we were able to go from weekly to bi-monthly and hopefully we will go to monthly.”

Interesting: Rural Schools Are Outpacing Others On In-School Tech Access

By: Laura Ascione, Managing Editor, Content Services
Original Post from eSchool News

Although schools in rural areas traditionally hit roadblocks when it comes to securing technology tools and high-speed internet access in classrooms and student homes, a new study suggests students in those schools actually outperform their urban and suburban peers in access at school.

The data comes from data management and learning analytics firm BrightBytes, which analyzed more than 180 million data points collected via a national survey gauging educational technology access, use and effectiveness across 8,558 U.S. schools.

The study compares characteristics of the top 5 percent and bottom 5 percent of schools and looks at factors that impact technology access and use. And according to that data, rural schools outpace urban and suburban schools when it comes to providing technology to students and teachers.

“The report provides district and school leaders with insights into what works to improve student outcomes,” said Teela Watson, Director of Digital Learning at Education Service Center Region 11 in Fort Worth, Texas. “The information has allowed us, for the first time, to accurately and clearly communicate the effectiveness of our technology initiatives.”

Using the CASE framework, which evaluates technology implementations across four domains (Classroom, Access, Skills, and Environment) in order to help school and district leaders develop a more holistic perspective on technology, the BrightBytes Insights Report considered:

  • Classroom use of technology, including teacher and student integration of technology for communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity

  • Support for technology implementation around areas for professional learning, and the extent to which the school policies, practices, and procedures (3Ps) support the use of technology
  • Student and teacher access to technology at home and at school
  • Rural schools were disproportionately represented among schools scoring in the top 5 percent for access at school, while suburban schools were disproportionately represented in the bottom 5 percent.

    Conversely, suburban schools were disproportionately represented in the top 5 percent of schools for access at home, suggesting that suburban students, who are more likely to have devices of their own, could benefit from policies that allow them to bring their devices to school. Rural students still struggle with access to internet and devices in their homes.

    Schools with high rates of students receiving free or reduced price lunch scored lower across all domains analyzed except professional learning, indicating that teachers have the freedom to influence their own professional development regardless of their school characteristics.

    However, the data, which show low scores for the 3Ps in populations with high free or reduced price lunch rates, suggest that teachers are having difficulty transferring new skills and strategies to the classroom due to the impact of administrative decisions on technology integration.

“Drawing on millions of data points from schools around the country, this report provides critical insights into the relationship between school characteristics, such as geographical setting, and successful implementation of technology. It provides a way forward for schools–whether they are rural, urban, or suburban–to adopt the technologies necessary for building a stronger future for their students,” said former North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue, who authored the foreword to the new report.

New Data Suggests Rural Schools Outpace Peers on Classroom Tech Access; BYOD Policies May Improve Access within Suburban Classrooms

BrightBytes analysis of over 180 million data points offers new insight into access and equity gaps, teacher perspectives on preparation for and use of education technology

San Francisco -- November 14, 2017 -- Data management and learning analytics firm BrightBytes, today, published an analysis of over 180 million data points, collected using a national survey designed to gauge educational technology access, utilization, and effectiveness across 8,558 schools throughout the United States. 

The data suggest that students in rural schools, while facing difficulty obtaining devices and internet connectivity at home, actually outscore their urban and suburban peers in access at school. By comparing the characteristics of the top 5% of schools and bottom 5% of schools, evaluated on a unique technology framework, the BrightBytes Insights Report explores the factors that affect technology access and utilization.

“The Report provides district and school leaders with insights into what works to improve student outcomes,” said Teela Watson, Director of Digital Learning at Education Service Center Region 11 in Fort Worth, Texas. “The information we are able to get from our work with BrightBytes has allowed us, for the first time, to accurately and clearly communicate the effectiveness of our technology initiatives.” 

According to BrightBytes’ analysis, rural schools are outpacing urban and suburban schools in providing technology to their students and teachers. Rural schools were disproportionately represented among schools scoring in the top 5% for access at school, while suburban schools were disproportionately represented in the bottom 5%. Conversely, suburban schools were disproportionately represented in the top 5% of schools for access at home, suggesting that suburban students, who are more likely to have devices of their own, could benefit from policies that allow them to bring their devices to school. 

“Drawing on millions of data points from schools around the country, this report provides critical insights into the relationship between school characteristics, such as geographical setting, and successful implementation of technology. It provides a way forward for schools – whether they are rural, urban, or suburban – to adopt the technologies necessary for building a stronger future for their students,” said former North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue, who authored the foreword to the new report.

Using the CASE™ framework, which evaluates technology implementations across four domains (Classroom, Access, Skills, and Environment) in order to help school and district leaders develop a more holistic perspective on technology, the BrightBytes Insights Report considered:

  • Classroom use of technology, including teacher and student integration of technology for communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity
  • Support for technology implementation around areas for professional learning, and the extent to which the school policies, practices, and procedures (3Ps) support the use of technology 
  • Student and teacher access to technology at home and at school
  • Student and teacher perception about technology use in the classroom


Interestingly, schools with high rates of students receiving free or reduced price lunch scored lower across all domains analyzed except professional learning, indicating that teachers have the freedom to influence their own professional development regardless of their school characteristics. However, the data, which show low scores for the 3Ps in populations with high FRPL rates, suggest that teachers are having difficulty transferring new skills and strategies to the classroom due to the impact of administrative decisions on technology integration. 
“The aggregate data from our research confirms that there are a number of characteristics that hinder or enable the success of high-performing and low-performing schools,” said Genevieve Hartman, Ph.D, Vice President of Research at BrightBytes. “Looking across factors such as access at home and at school, policies, procedures, practices, and professional development needs, we have been able to uncover insights that can equip educators and policymakers with specific, data-driven recommendations on how to tailor ed tech plans to the needs of individual schools.” 

 A summary of the report can be found here http://www.brightbytes.net/techlearninginsights 

About BrightBytes: BrightBytes provides the leading end-to-end data management solution for education organizations. Our platforms integrate, analyze, and organize complex data from multiple systems across research-based frameworks to deliver educative, engaging, and actionable visualized results that drive student learning.

Follow BrightBytes
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BrightBytes
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/brightbytes
 
Media Contact:
Hannah Leedle, 615-294-3448, hannah@whiteboardadvisors.com

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BrightBytes and ISTE Announce New Tool to Help Schools and Districts Address Digital Readiness

Collaboration between BrightBytes and the International Society for Technology in Education will equip state, district, and school leaders with actionable insights to improve teaching and learning with technology

SAN FRANCISCO -- November 2, 2017 -- The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and BrightBytes, a leading K-12 learning analytics platform, today announced a new collaboration aimed at helping school and district leaders better understand and monitor progress around putting the ISTE Standards into practice.

Designed as a framework for rethinking education and empowering students to be digital learners, development of the ISTE Standards combined research-based, field-tested concepts, expert input, and feedback from 5,000 educators around the world. States, including Connecticut, Wisconsin, Vermont, and Michigan, and dozens of districts, are adopting the standards to guide their digital learning initiatives.

Through the collaboration, a new ISTE Standards Lens will be integrated into BrightBytes’ Clarity® analytics platform, allowing schools, districts, and states to view their data through the framework set forth in the ISTE Standards. The BrightBytes platform is currently used in 1 in 5 schools nationwide.

“ISTE is focused on supporting educators to accelerate good practice and innovate teaching and learning through technology,” says ISTE Chief Learning Officer Joseph South. “At the heart of our mission is ensuring the ISTE Standards are being used by all educators, schools, and districts to guide this transformation. This collaboration will help educators identify best practices and make informed decisions about professional learning and innovative approaches that positively impact students.”

Starting in January, BrightBytes Clarity users will have access to the ISTE Standards Lens, a unique analytics tool that can be used by state, district, and school leaders to measure the implementation of the ISTE Standards and benchmark progress against other schools and districts across the U.S. The platform enables educators to understand current strengths and gaps in order to drive next steps. The ability to now capture and monitor data around progress and performance on the ISTE Standards helps educators and leaders to ensure the effective use of instructional technology and innovative approaches to learning.

The platform enables schools to understand where additional resources can support educators, determine how technology is being used, and identify if teachers and students are applying digital resources to prepare for success in postsecondary education and an increasingly dynamic workforce.

“As conversations around education technology shift from a focus on access to efficacy, the ISTE Standards provide a valuable guide for districts,” said BrightBytes CEO Traci Burgess. “We’re excited to team up with ISTE to help schools leverage the Clarity platform to use data to help identify and spread effective practices, target professional learning opportunities, and implement initiatives that have the highest instructional impact.”


About ISTE The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) is a nonprofit organization that works with the global education community to accelerate the use of technology to solve tough problems and inspire innovation. Our worldwide network believes in the potential technology holds to transform teaching and learning. ISTE sets a bold vision for education transformation through the ISTE Standards, a framework for students, educators, administrators, coaches, and computer science educators to rethink education and create innovative learning environments. ISTE hosts the annual ISTE Conference & Expo, one of the world’s most influential edtech events. The organization’s professional learning offerings include online courses, professional networks, year-round academies, peer-reviewed journals, and other publications. ISTE is also the leading publisher of books focused on technology in education. For more information or to become an ISTE member, visit iste.org. Subscribe to ISTE’s YouTube channel and connect with ISTE on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

About BrightBytes BrightBytes, the leading end-to-end data management solution for education organizations, provides educators with the power to turn big data into big benefits for students. With the data integration platform, DataSense,™ BrightBytes enables educators to cleanse, integrate, and bi-directionally manage complex data from multiple systems. The decision support platform, Clarity, then analyzes and organizes meaningful data across research-based frameworks to deliver visualized, actionable information that drives student learning.
Follow BrightBytes:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BrightBytes
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/brightbytes

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Media Contacts:
Jenna Talbot, 202.851.3607, jenna@whiteboardadvisors.com
Stacey Finkel, 703.304.1377, media@iste.org

BrightBytes and ESC Region 10 Expand Partnership to Improve Digital Learning

BrightBytes and ESC Region 10 Expand Partnership to Improve Digital Learning

ESC Region 10 empowers ISDs to make informed data-driven decisions to measure the impact of technology and return on learning

Richardson, TX, September 12, 2017 — BrightBytes, a leading K-12 end-to-end data management and learning analytics company, announces its expanded partnership with the Richardson, Texas-based Region 10 Education Service Center. BrightBytes currently provides over 500 schools throughout Region 10 with the Technology & Learning module, a solution that gives educators insight to the climate of technology in educational organizations, and supports the Center with the 21st Century Service Agency module, a tool that helps educational leaders understand agency levels of technology readiness. 

Now, BrightBytes will offer an additional solution, the Learning Outcomes module, to allow ESC Region 10 to provide member districts the ability to evaluate the impact of technology usage on student learning. Together, the Technology & Learning module and the Learning Outcomes module will provide Region 10 with a complete 360 degree view of 21st century learning across the organization.

“Our work with ESC Region 10 has always been a highly valued collaboration,” says BrightBytes CEO Traci Burgess. “As we have seen during this partnership, Region 10 demonstrates deep commitment to serving its member districts and providing data-driven insights and information to educators. BrightBytes is thrilled to be selected as an exclusive partner as we continue to drive these goals with the support of the Learning Outcomes module. This is great opportunity to empower educators throughout Texas to analyze the true impact digital devices have on student learning.”

With BrightBytes already partnering with several education service centers, including ESC Region 10, Region 11, Region 12, Region 16, Region 18, and Region 20, along with more than 700 direct and indirect districts in Texas, the company is considered a thought leader across the state thanks to its positive impact on more than 3 million students. This exciting opportunity to improve learning throughout Texas with Learning Outcomes will empower educators to triangulate ed-tech program usage, engagement, and perception data against investment and student achievement data to measure the impact of each program. With this module, educators can explore the conditions in which ed-tech programs have the most impact, and adjust or replicate those programs accordingly.

"We are excited to expand our partnership with BrightBytes, one that we trust will allow us to better serve our partner districts," said Region 10 Executive Director Gordon Taylor, EdD. "Region 10 values innovative resources that support districts with the integration of 21st century learning. The new BrightBytes Learning Outcomes module aligns with Region 10’s commitment to helping districts make data-driven decisions that improve student achievement at a reasonable cost.”

"When we began this process, we were seeking a product that could inform districts of what technology applications their teachers and students are utilizing and the level of usage,” says Region 10 Director of Digital Learning Craig Gray. “With Learning Outcomes, we found a more robust solution that measures the impact of technology programs on ROI, student engagement, and student achievement. Furthermore, with the BrightBytes 21st Century Product Suite, available to all Region 10 districts with regional volume discount pricing, we can ensure districts have a complete solution to measure the impact of and inform their technology initiatives." 

About Region 10:  It is one of 20 regional service centers established by the Texas State Legislature in 1967 for the purpose of providing services to the schools within a defined geographic region. The ESC is non-regulatory, has no taxing authority, and provides services for which local school participation is voluntary. Located in Richardson, Region 10 provides services that impact more than 810,000 students on 1,220 campuses. Among the 99,000 staffers supported by R10 services are 53,000 teachers in over 120 ISDs, charters and private schools across eight north Texas counties and portions of two others. For more information about ESC Regions 10, visit https://www.region10.org/

About BrightBytes: BrightBytes, the leading end-to-end data management solution for education organizations, provides educators with the power to turn big data into big benefits for students. With the data integration platform, DataSense, BrightBytes enables educators to cleanse, integrate, and bi-directionally manage complex data from multiple systems. The decision support platform, Clarity, then analyzes and organizes meaningful data across research-based frameworks to deliver visualized, actionable information that drives student learning.

 

BrightBytes Partners with San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools

New partnership will enable improved data sharing and analysis for San Bernardino County schools  

For Immediate Release: San Francisco, Calif. – August 24, 2017 – BrightBytes,® an end-to-end data integration and analysis platform, announced, today, a strategic partnership with San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools (SBCSS), to guide the development of areas on the San Bernardino Countywide Education Open Data Platform. This public platform provides stakeholders across the county an opportunity to explore, visualize, and analyze data in multiple ways to build awareness and engagement, inform decision making, and improve educational outcomes for all students. Amidst the rising tide of accountability, this strategic partnership creates greater transparency by incorporating qualitative and quantitative data to ensure a comprehensive approach for success for every student.  Together, BrightBytes and SBCSS will drive the County Schools’ vision and Cradle to Career (C2C)  Roadmap through a collective impact approach for college and career readiness.


Central to San Bernardino County Schools’ mission to transform lives through education, this partnership will help the organization better support all 33 districts to improve academic, career, and personal and social readiness for all students from cradle to career and to provide transparency to community stakeholders across highly engaging dashboards. “We are excited about our new partnership with BrightBytes, which will allow County Schools to leverage BrightBytes’ expertise in sharing data with our stakeholders with the goal of helping to spur academic achievement,” County Superintendent Ted Alejandre said. With an aim to make information easy to understand, actionable, and research driven, BrightBytes was selected to help guide SBCSS with these efforts. 

Already in use in one of five U.S. schools, BrightBytes has proven its merit in the K-12 data analytics space. Clarity®, its award-winning decision support platform, provides education organizations with seamless integration, research-driven analysis, and engaging data readability. The BrightBytes Early Insights system will be instrumental across the organization and provide valuable data to the Open Data Platform. The system uses a predictive analytics model that draws upon both the research-based indicators related to dropping out, college readiness, and County Schools’ historical data regarding at-risk students. The advanced algorithm can identify at-risk students as early as first grade, with better than 90 percent accuracy. BrightBytes’ solutions and partnership will help drive the Cradle to Career Roadmap to identify key success indicators related to a child's academic career and social readiness and depicts the collaborative continuum approach, in which families, educators, government, business, labor, faith and community-based organizations collectively act as pillars of support for students from cradle to career. This will better enable the sharing of data with internal departments, school districts, public/private agencies and other community stakeholders. The dashboard will combine data sources in support of the C2C roadmap so that educational institutions can be integrated into economic and job-creation efforts. Additionally, the dashboard will help Inform the allocation of resources and support to ensure the opportunity gap is closed for all students. 

Traci Burgess, CEO for BrightBytes, said, “BrightBytes’ deep experience in K-12 education data will be a critical component to County Schools’ three-year plan to build out the platform to focus on state and local priorities that describes goals, actions, services and expenditures to support student achievement. Providing contextual information around this plan is key to engage the community. As the organizations collaborate through the next phase of the San Bernardino Countywide Education Open Data Platform, it will provide transparency of and access to education data with the goal of engaging and informing public members and stakeholders and providing a continuum of services to improve conditions for youth countywide.” 

About San Bernardino County Superintendent Schools: With close to 2,000 employees, County Schools works in concert with the county’s 33 school districts, which are home to more than 406,000 K-12 students in more than 540 schools. SBCSS provides leadership and advocacy for public education, as well as an array of services supporting student achievement and accountability, including fiscal oversight; human resources/credentialing; information technology; and direct student instruction in preschool, alternative and special education classes.
 
About BrightBytes: BrightBytes provides the leading end-to-end data management solution for education organizations. Our platforms integrate, analyze, and organize complex data from multiple systems across research-based frameworks to deliver educative, engaging, and actionable visualized results that drive student learning. 
 

SPS to Distribute 20,000 Laptops in First 11 Days of School

By: Claudette Riley
Original Post from Springfield News-Leader

Even rattling off the number gives Nichole Lemmon pause.

"We have never handed out 20,000 devices in 11 days, and we are doing 8,300 on the first day," she said. Lemmon, director of blended learning for Springfield Public Schools, said the distribution of computers, the largest of its kind in the history of the district, also signals the final step in a three-year plan to provide a Google Chromebook for every student in grades 3-12.

"We are finally in a place where all classrooms have the same technology," she said. "We are finally equal. I look at it as we are getting started." Superintendent John Jungmann, with the backing of the school board, launched a three-year technology effort in 2015 called Ignite. He said the effort aimed to put "modern tools and resources" in the hands of teachers and students. "The Ignite program has, as a foundational goal, the leveling of the playing field for all of our learners," he said.

In addition to the laptops, classroom teachers in kindergarten through second grade will have access to sets of iPads. A total of 3,000 will be available. The approved budget for the 2017-18 year includes lease payments for the technology rolled out during Ignite, including $437,424 for the first year, $658,919 for last year and $771,540 for this year.

The technology was implemented in a staggered way, and the leases must be reviewed every three years. At that point, the district will decide if it wants to renew and extend the lease or go in a different direction.

"We believe right now we do have the right tools in the classroom," he said. "We get good feedback from our students and teachers in the classroom. One area where we get feedback that we need more is K-2." He said expanding access will be considered this year.

Lemmon said the district is trying one-to-one technology, in the form of the touchscreen Google Chromebooks, for students in kindergarten through second grade at Fremont and Sherwood elementary schools. But, in early grades at other schools, classrooms have to check out sets of iPads.

"Our K-2 teachers, in our survey last year, said they wanted to be one-to-one too," she said.

The district has also beefed up its IT help, hired a team of blended learning specialists and provides mobile hot spots for students without internet access at home.

Jungmann said the district is in the process of revising its curriculum to take advantage of online tools and providing students with access to more adaptive software. "The goal is not modern tools, it's better learning," he said. "And better learning happens when students get individual feedback in a much more efficient manner about where you are."

Members of the school board have repeatedly asked how the district will measure the impact of the new technology and learning strategies. Jungmann said the district uses BrightBytes, which analyzes students' access, skills and development. Other, more traditional measures, are also used.

"That learning is measured by a number of different things — grades, GPA, as well as standardized test scores, which we want to move and we always say are a significant part of our metrics, but they are insufficient in representing the entire child," he said. The older devices, which were purchased before the Ignite initiative, have been moved around to provide access where needed.

"We have quit buying them so as they roll out, they've been going to surplus," he said. "We've been using them to Band-Aid the other spots and we've pushed them into K-2 environments, where they want more."

Experts: 5 Elements for a Winning, Data-Informed District

By: Laura Ascione, Managing Editor, Content Services at eSchoolNews
Original Post from eSchool Media

Data, data, data. Most school leaders know how important data is to every part of a district’s operations, from bus routes to PD and student achievement. But sometimes, capturing and interpreting that data proves challenging.

Still, when data is collected and used to drive transformational change in a district, the results are nothing short of eye-opening.

During an ISTE 2017 session from eSchool Media and BrightBytes, a panel of ed-tech experts discussed how the ability to collect, access and easily interpret data has allowed them to personalize student learning and track achievement.

Panelists included Chuck Holland, director of technology integration in South Carolina’s Richland School District Two; Donna Teuber, innovation program designer in Richland School District Two; Sheryl Abshire, chief technology officer of the Calcasieu Parish School District in Louisiana; and Jeff McCoy, associate superintendent of South Carolina’s Greenville County Schools. Here are some of the things attendees learned:

1. Technology is a must-have part of learning

“We’ve turned the corner so technology isn’t the cool thing anymore–it’s the necessary thing,” said Sheryl Abshire, chief technology officer in Louisiana’s Calasieu Parish Schools. “Twenty years ago, if we didn’t have email or if the internet went down, nobody cared but [technology staff]. Now, if it bleeps for one second, our phones start blowing up, and it’s because the internet is mission-critical. This innovative practice of using technology as an anchoring part of the total learning environment has been transformational. It’s not a revolution–it’s an evolution. The innovative piece is that you change teaching and learning with technology–the innovation is technology not for technology’s sake, but for the sake of advancing learning.”

2. Data use can make or break an initiative

“The data we’ve been able to harness has been an eye-opening piece for us,” Abshire said. “We’ve been able to dive deep into every single school, student and administrator and display information graphically.”

Data continues to drive the districts’ approach to both student and teacher learning.

“We’re using data to continually innovate,” Holland said. “When we went one-to-one, we used data from the beginning to evaluate the success of the program during implementation, and we make sure we use multiple pieces of data to drive our decisions. We monitor the data over time as our needs shift.”

“Looking at our platforms, the data we have is so important to moving forward,” Teuber said.

3. Shaking up departmental structure and physical classroom space can result in positive learning changes

Uniting the instructional technology department with the academic side allowed Greenville County Schools to focus on personalized learning and change classroom practices, McCoy said.

“We went from pockets of equity to fostering innovation in our district,” said Teuber. The district launched an incubator and made consistent efforts to support innovative practices and expand those that proved successful, often through crossfunctional innovation teams that work on lingering challenges.

“[Our instructional technology department] works with those innovation teams a lot, and technology has caused us to rethink the way classrooms are working,” Holland said.

Last year, the Richland district reevaluated its learning spaces after finding that students’ physical environments did not support innovative instructional practices in classrooms.

“Looking at the data in classrooms, [our teams] are recognizing that making one change leads to something different, and that boosts student engagement,” Holland said. “It’s really exciting to see grassroots efforts by the teachers to change student learning.”

4. PD is a big piece of the data puzzle

McCoy’s district relaunched its technology initiative after finding that, despite new technology tools, little had changed in its classrooms because teachers didn’t know how to change their instructional practices.

“This year, most of our teachers have crossed over,” McCoy said. “We invested almost as much in PD as we invested in devices, and I think that’s a critical move. You also have to have the digital content there for teachers.”

Creating personalized, data-driven learning environments for students means also focusing on personalizing PD for teachers.

The Calcasieu Parish’s technology facilitators use data to drive professional learning changes in every school.

“That data, over two years, has driven PD in every school so that when we talk about transformational change, we’re not talking about it, we’re doing it,” Abshire said. “If you delve down into the data and look at the key components, you can see where your district’s needs are, and for us, that’s driven our entire district PD program. We’ve made substantive changes that have improved practice and resulted in improved test scores, engaged learning, teacher confidence, and more teacher risk-taking.”

Because PD is informed by data, classrooms focus on students instead of teachers.

“Shifting from a teacher-centered classroom to a student-centered classroom was a logical progression, because technology is a huge enabler of that,” Abshire said. “It frees the classroom up to become a constructivist learning environment, which leads right into personalized and blended learning. We’ve had to personalize PD for teachers, so now we do pre-work to find out what teachers know and what they’re already able to do. We want personalized learning for our students, but we want personalized learning for teachers, too. The model we use for PD, we hope, will transfer over to teachers’ classroom instruction. When you give teachers the time to learn the way they want to, they transfer that over to their students.”

5. Identifying communication disconnects is crucial

“We launched a student-centered learning leadership series for our schools, and one of the issues we saw with getting schools ready for change is that sometimes our principals moved faster than staff wanted to move, or could move,” McCoy said. “Principals didn’t have realistic expectations of their teachers.”

The district equipped principals with strategies to put student-centered learning into place, while at the same time giving them the skills needed to create supportive environments for teachers as they developed skills necessary to foster the new learning environment.

District leaders realized principals needed additional skills to encourage teachers to create innovative classrooms, and some of those skills included the ability to give teachers safe space to take risks.

“You can’t create a culture of innovation by saying ‘No’ all the time,” McCoy said.