Ed-Fi sat down with the President, Sherod Keen of FLCODE, a non-profit Collaborative in Florida, to discuss their upcoming virtual collaboration on educational problems of practice and solutions driven by their community to learn more about human capital systems, data quality, student progress, visualizations and Ed-Fi technology. The FLCODE Summit will take place April 28th and we’re excited to see how educators and technologist will collaborate to help advance and connect education data.
- FLCODE Summit is in April this year, how did it start? How long has it been happening? How many people/districts are you expecting?
We love what Ed-Fi is doing in education for interoperability, and we want the whole state to be informed on the importance of embracing data standards. We find that districts often feel isolated when they are looking to implement new technologies and standards and so we felt that holding a yearly summit would help introduce the Ed-Fi Data Standard to the state, as well as help them see the importance of embracing this work together. This year, we will be hosting our 5th annual summit and as of March 9th, we have 75 registrations that represent 34 individual organizations. All of our previous summits have been held in person, but due to COVID-19, we have decided to hold a virtual summit this year. In most cases, we have tried to model the summit after the annual Ed-Fi Summit that has traditionally been held in Austin, TX during the month of October.
- Every school district across the country has been dealing with the effects of COVID. What are the top concerns or issues that your districts are struggling with? Is this something you’ll be addressing at your Summit?
With the effects of COVID on the state, school districts have been needing more timely access to student and staff data from various sources. We hope through providing specific use cases on how districts have been using Ed-Fi to provide this access for reports, as well as integrating data between systems, will encourage more districts to consider using Ed-Fi to help them with the need to have a better 360 degree understanding of student and staff information. One crucial area is in providing intervention for students who are not making progress. By working closely with districts and end users to build visualizations and understanding their needs, we are creating meaningful, sustainable, and scalable solutions to identify and measure student success.
- One of the more successful ways that school districts are tackling interoperability is through the collaborative model. More and more we are seeing groups of districts work on data together and FLCODE has been a trail blazer in this work. What advice can you give to groups that are just starting out? How can collaboratives form a community to support their work?
Working with other districts who have been using Ed-Fi is a great way to get started. By working with your fellow districts, you’ll be able to see what work can be achieved through proven use-cases. You’ll also be able to grab important “lessons-learned” and avoid common pitfalls that can easily occur when starting something new. Working together also helps to provide momentum to keep you moving and from getting stuck when you face the various challenges that occur when implementing something new. It’s important for districts to continue moving forward even when the road is challenging. By joining a collaborative, a district has support and encouragement to overcome obstacles and help in seeing new ways to solve problems. We love our collaborative of districts in Florida and we also love the collaboration that occurs across the country with all those working with Ed-Fi. Fail early, fail often, fail forward – do it all again and a better each time. While it is (or at least seems like it) more efficient in the short term to build something uni-districtly (a new word), the work is only sustainable with diversity of thought and by making use of the collective brilliance of a collaborative.