American Education Week kicks off next Monday. A week that presents all Americans with the opportunity to celebrate public education and honor individuals who are making a difference to ensure every child receives a quality education. This week-long celebration highlights the importance of bringing together educators, parents, students, and communities in a unified effort to build great schools.

So, in honor of American Education Week, I’d like to share a few thoughts on the role we all play in the future of education – from teachers who work directly with students – to our vast Ed-Fi Community that supports and equips these educators with the right tools to boost student achievement.

We all know the essential role of teachers in shaping our young people, helping them grow and reach their full potential. And we all know that when students succeed, we all succeed.

This message was loud and clear at the recent iNACOL Symposium when keynote speaker Manny Scott discussed his personal experience of change through education, saying, “I’m standing here today because someone else led the way, lifted me up, and believed in me.” His amazing story of a teacher who made a real impact in his life shows the great change teachers can enact on a one-to-one basis, but how do we achieve this same impact at scale? Technology.

Technology tools used in the classroom have the power to be impactful change agents in communities across the nation; however, if our teachers and administrators can’t use the information gathered from these tools in a meaningful way, we (the ed-tech community) have missed the mark. It is incumbent upon our community to equip teachers with actionable data that can be used to boost student achievement. Further, there is no reason why we can’t do this today. The technology already exists. 

Our view of the world, is that the best way to achieve interoperability – at scale – is by driving adoption of a data standard.

In order to realize this imperative, we’re taking a collaborative approach. We are bringing together districts, states and vendors to seamlessly weave together disparate data sources. Interoperability will help schools: 1) maintain local control of data and manage the data for longevity,  2) allow schools to choose the best of breed technology tools to enable student success and 3) bring data into the classroom where teachers can have a comprehensive view of students in order to make informed choices. 

As we look to the future and celebrate American Education Week, I’d like to applaud each and every member of our Ed-Fi Community for your part in setting students up for success in today’s ever changing world.

We want to hear from you, so please be sure to share your thoughts with us on Twitter at @edfialliance.