Data management has proven to be a migraine for many K12 administrators across the United States. In the case of Framingham Public Schools, the problem was exacerbated by covid-induced stresses on its data management system.
Let’s take a look at how they faced and overcame the challenge.
Framingham Public Schools caters for sixteen schools within its jurisdiction – Framingham, a city in Massachusetts. These include pre-school, elementary, middle, and high schools.
FPS’ stated vision encompasses four main aims. The first is to support the whole child academically, socially, and behaviorally. The second is to foster relationships between students, educators, families, and the community. Thirdly, to provide educators with support and development, and finally to create conducive environments for teaching and learning by implementing the right technology and facilities.
The institution had made significant progress towards meeting its goals. Between 2020 and 2022, a lot of work went into building a robust data architecture supported by an SQL server and using Google Data Studio to present the data.
Dave Heistand, FPS’ Assistant Director of Technology, had implemented a system for automating data feeds that updated on an hourly basis and produced reports for the Google Data Studio presentation layer to format and display.
Things came to a head however, in the winter of 2022, in the thick of the Covid pandemic. With its improved data capabilities, Framingham Public Schools offered Covid tracking and contact tracing assistance to the district Covid team.
Ann Mariano, Director of Technology, recalls how they added new fields to the Student Information System (SIS) to enable them to provide tracking information in the data reports that they shared with nurses and admins who were monitoring the pandemic.
By the time winter came around however, the technology team at Framingham Public Schools was inundated with data. The volume of requests was becoming overwhelming. Time was a crucial factor and getting the reports in the right hands at the rate needed was proving a bit too much of a stress test for their system. The sheer number of reports made organization difficult, so users had a tough time finding the right records.
To make matters worse, more than sixty percent of the district data team left their roles. In Covid conditions, hiring new personnel was always going to be a big ask. Even working in overdrive and taking over-time, the team was just unable to keep the pace.
“I really felt we were losing momentum to make data easily accessible to our building admins,” Ann Mariano recalls. “We had all this great data but couldn’t find the time or the right mechanism to deliver it,”
Framingham Public Schools was dealt the final blow when they had to discontinue using Google Data Studio because Google would not be able to sign a data privacy agreement for it. In a double whammy of misfortune, the data team was almost immediately asked to produce comprehensive data reports for an equity program the district was pursuing. Without a presentation solution, it took Ann Mariano a fortnight to deliver the reports.
Something had to give.
By the time spring 2022 came around, the team were on the lookout for a new dashboard tool. Nick Sweeney, a data analyst who’d joined the team, set out the specifications for the system that would provide the solution they needed.
A request for proposal was put out to find the software solution that would support the district team, building administrators, teachers, and coaches. A flurry of proposals came in, each as impressive as the last.
The one that caught the eye however, was AnalyticVue, a cloud-based solution from IntegrlTy and AnalyticVue Inc. The system offered all the functionality they would need. The AnalyticVue support team was also the right fit, and put the Framingham team at ease. They demonstrated a profound understanding of the district’s data needs, both in the long-term, and for day-to-day operations.
The project was awarded to IntegrlTy and AnalyticVue Inc., and the Framingham data team began its collaboration with AnalyticVue’s tech team. The system was up and running in a matter of weeks. Mariano has nothing but praise for the cooperation.
“We found nuances we wanted to add, and at every turn they delivered on the new request. It’s been a terrific relationship – more of a partnership,” She said.
Framingham Public Schools’ data team and the AnalyticVue team hold weekly meetings to discuss subsequent steps.
“The meetings are so energizing,” Mariano said. “We all have the same goal in mind and we all speak the same school and data language. The system is so customizable and easy to use. It’s really impressive,”
So far, Framingham has already customized the new system’s dashboards to their requirements. For its part, AnalyticVue has worked with the district’s assessment vendors to facilitate the automation of data flows within the new system.
At the time of writing, Framingham has rolled out the dashboard to their senior staff and building admins, with further plans to implement the system for teachers.
As it stands, things are working out quite well.
“The trend analysis [feature] is awesome, with filtering for any demographic or school. But what makes the system most powerful is the learner profile – seeing all the data related to a student in one screen. You can see assessments, attendance and conduct over time. One can easily move to determining appropriate interventions.”
The system is definitely a step in the right direction if Framingham is to achieve its vision, a fact not lost on Mariano.
“We really think it will help facilitate conversations with school teams and parents. We can’t wait to keep growing the system and working with the AnalyticVue team,”
Framingham joins a long and growing list of satisfied AnalyticVue partners. It is a tried-and-tested solution for K12 data management challenges that has assisted countless school districts across the United States.
“I’ve been doing this for over twenty years and it’s great to be excited again about how we can use technology to help students and families. With so much learning loss in the pandemic we are going to need every tool in our arsenal,” Mariano observed.