SchoolCIO: Back Office Business

7/23/2013 8:00:00 PM

Maryland districts measure student growth

Challenge: As part of a new evaluation system requiring schools in Maryland to use Student Learning Objectives (SLO) to gauge student growth, school systems needed to crunch data to determine if students were achieving their academic goals.

Solution: To streamline the SLO process and ensure accurate calculations for effectiveness ratings, four Maryland districts (Talbot County Public Schools, Dorchester County Public Schools, Caroline County Public Schools, and Anne Arundel County Public Schools) are using the SLO Module from Performance Matters. “Like Performance Matters’ other systems, the data and charts in the SLO Module are color-coded red, yellow and green, which makes it intuitive and easy for our teachers and principals to analyze the results,” says Marnie Stockman, local accountability coordinator and mathematics K-12 coordinator for Talbot County Public Schools. “Performance Matters has also been really collaborative in developing the SLO Module to ensure we get exactly the type of product we need.”

Atlanta Public Schools selects its first LMS

Challenge: Atlanta Public Schools needed to find a learning management system (LMS) to expand online classes offered to students and to align class content with the Common Core.

Solution: After a nine-month evaluation, the district chose Blackboard Learn. “Blackboard Learn allows us to better meet the unique needs of our students,” says Stephen J. Alford, executive director of communications for Atlanta Public Schools. “As we enhance our virtual course offerings and continue to align all instructional lessons with the new Common Core standards, the solution allows us to develop and manage engaging lessons in a seamless, virtual environment.”

Schools choose Dell to increase student engagement

Challenge: A dozen districts throughout the country were looking for ways to help their teachers personalize learning for students.

Solution: Their answer? Dell’s five-step process, a personalized learning framework that was created using input from students, teachers, and administrators and findings from Dell’s Innovation in Education think tanks. “We want our students to learn the needed skills to be successful in the 21st century and we believe they must have the right devices at the ready that will help them not only consume information but also produce new projects and content,” says Bill Westrick, IT director, Fargo (ND) Public Schools. “We chose Dell Windows 8 devices because teachers can integrate them into their existing curriculum; students can now produce information as easily as they can consume it and the Dell Latitude 10 tablets are easy for us to manage within our existing IT infrastructure.”

A Texas district selects a new PD partner

Challenge: Grand Prairie (TX) Independent School District (ISD) was looking to bring professional development to help educators across the district learn how to infuse digital resources into their instructional practice.

Solution: The district partnered with Discovery Education to deliver instructional strategies that result in sustainable improvements in student engagement and achievement. Discovery Education offers customized professional learning opportunities with such topics as Engaging Students with Multi-Media and Read, Write and Think Like a Scientist.

This district aims to improve college and career readiness

Challenge: “The success of our school district is inextricably linked to the success of our graduates,” says Patty Meyer, associate superintendent for campus services at Plano (TX) ISD. “Our administrative team and school board are thrilled to acquire a resource that will help students along the path to college and career readiness, while helping us track their progress.”

Solution: Administrators selected Hobsons’ Naviance college and career readiness platform to create a college-going framework that facilitates communication between counselors, students, and parents while supporting college and career exploration. The product will let students electronically submit their transcripts, recommendations, and supplemental documents securely to more than 1,800 colleges and will also let the district monitor student progress from college enrollment through completion.

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