It was remarkable to see how much the Ed-Fi community has grown in just a few short years, but even more compelling to see how much we’ve accomplished. While at this year’s Summit we shared best practices through a full schedule of sessions and celebrated our collective progress. Importantly, the breakout sessions and working groups fostered an honest conversation about what still needs to be done to standardize data and positively move K-12 education forward.

But how do we do this? For starters, we need to be “community-minded,” be willing to share best practices, and most importantly, be ambassadors for the Ed-Fi tools that ultimately drive adoption of the Data Standard. Whether you’re coming from a state, district or vendor perspective, you all play an equal role in moving the needle, ultimately getting data closer to the classroom.

As we move along in our day-to-day work we cannot forget that our nation’s students and educators are at the core of everything we do. As Don Wolff of the Hillsboro School District said at the Summit, “It’s not about the technology. It’s about the students and teachers in the classroom and how best we can serve them.” That’s our responsibility: empower teachers to effectively use education data to drive instruction and increase student success.

The Ed-Fi Data Standard can better manage and unify the volume of various applications and systems within our schools. And there’s also a need to reduce the cost and complexity associated with bringing all of these systems together in order to speak the same language. To that end, we announced MappingEDU at the Summit, which will be a powerful tool to simplify implementations and migrations. Additionally, we announced the upgrade and enhancement to the Operational Data Store (ODS) Application Programming Interface (API) and the latest community contributions to the Ed-Fi Exchange, both tools that seek to drive out cost and complexity.

I am more inspired now than ever to continue building on your energy, passion and enthusiasm for the promise that the Ed-Fi Alliance represents. I said this at the Summit and you’ll hear me say it again, and often: You all are the champions and scale matters here. We need you to be loud – and proud – ambassadors for this to work. And we’ll be here to help and support you along the way.