ERIC Number: EJ845048
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jun-10
Reference Count: N/A
Leading the Charge for Real-Time Data
Aarons, Dakarai I.
Education Week, v28 n33 p25-27 Jun 2009
Well before the idea of using data to manage schools gained prominence on the national stage, Oklahoma's Western Heights school district had made the ideal of real-time, data-driven decisionmaking a reality. Back in 2001, Superintendent Joe Kitchens was already being spotlighted for his focus on creating a longitudinal-data system that would give teachers in the 3,400-student district the ability to make quick decisions to improve student learning, while reducing the time spent compiling reports. Mr. Kitchens, who has led the Western Heights district for 15 years, sees improving instruction as the main reason to invest in data systems. But the high-poverty, majority-minority district, which includes Oklahoma City's airport in its boundaries, uses data to manage other operations, including transportation and food service. While the ability to gather information in real time improves district operations, Mr. Kitchen says the technology itself is only a piece of the solution. Vital to the process is using the "schools interoperability framework," or SIF, which is a set of rules and specifications that allows different school software applications to exchange information with one another. Rather than purchase outright a data system from a single vendor, Western Heights found SIF-compliant commercial products it felt best fit its needs and integrated them into a system. Today, the district uses 11 software systems that are bound together using what is called a zone-integration server. Through a campaign to help the community understand such data, the district has seen its four-year cohort dropout rate decline from 40 percent in the 2006-07 school year to 29 percent in the 2008-09 school year.
Descriptors: Dropout Rate, Computer Software, Educational Technology, Synchronous Communication, School Districts, Academic Achievement, Educational Improvement, Student Mobility
Editorial Projects in Education. 6935 Arlington Road Suite 100, Bethesda, MD 20814-5233. Tel: 800-346-1834; Tel: 301-280-3100; e-mail: email@example.com; Web site: http://www.edweek.org/info/about/
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Oklahoma