Inside the mind of a Education Leader

We are covered in demands and unknowns in education right now. 

We are juggling multiple instructional models: remote/online, in-person, blended, synchronous, asynchronous. 

Our situations are changing rapidly, and all of our planning was critically important, but we have had to fast-track and rapidly iterate solutions. 

My kids, my learners, my educators are working, they’re trying, and I hope I am meeting their needs. I hope I KNOW what all their needs are, and that I’m delivering every resource, every personal connection, every bit of guidance that I can. 

But that’s the challenge and the overall worry, and I’m thinking through some critically important questions:

  • Do we know what we need to know to help each learner, each educator, each parent and guardian in this school year’s set of learning experiments? 
  • Do we have the data we need as quickly as possible, so we can also course correct early? 
  • Are there at-risk students and populations that are in real danger of falling through widening cracks, despite our best efforts and plans?

Answering the Hard Questions, with Certainty. 

All of these questions and more are circling through the minds of almost every school administrator throughout the country. There is a lot of fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) about what’s working and who it’s working for whom

The number one way to push out the FUD is to equip yourself and your stakeholders with actionable data. Connected data that can reveals insights, in real-time and that helps you to act. That is how we can help answer the hard questions with certainty and help drive to improved outcomes. 

We know you are running fast right now, but if you truly want to answer the hard questions, your organization will need to prioritize connected data systems, interoperability and a modernized IT architecture. 

Your future selves will thank you. 

More importantly your students’ future selves will thank you.  

By carving out time to implement Ed-Fi and true data interoperability (not just point-to-point integrations) today you will be able to understand students and teacher needs, and target where you can take informed action on their behalf as early as possible…before issues and problems have a chance to take hold. 

We’re Here to Help

Our charge at Ed-Fi is to make the work of connected data faster, easier, and more flexible. Here’s how our team and our community is supporting you.

Know and Connect with Your Learners: 

  • We built a survey API into the Ed-Fi Data Standard and Technology Suite to help you utilize the various survey information you are receiving from students, families, guardians, and educators. Read more.
  • We built a free, open source companion app for educators called Project Buzz to put student rosters, contact info, notes, and survey data right at their fingertips.

Support Remote Learning and Teaching Across Instructional Models:

  • Use Project Buzz as a remote learner real-time support and communication tool.
  • Check out and use the tools from Project Fizz, a toolbox of open source technology that unlocks participation and engagement data from your LMS and instructional systems. In the coming weeks, we are freeing up student activity and assignment data to understand participation, attendance, and ultimately  help ascertain engagement.

Support For LEAs and Collaboratives (Educational Service Agencies – ESA’s):

  • We built and released the Admin App to support managing multiple LEAs and their separate instances through one administrative interface! Read more.
  • Bulk register LEA instances to streamline provisioning of many LEAs.
  • Use a super-administrator role to group administer application management functions, view descriptors, and perform bulk uploads.
  • Delegate administrator functions for tiered management, and support local control.

Use What’s Worked:

  • Ed-Fi Suite 3 version 5.0.0 release provides a SIS API that contains a large payload of improvements and non-breaking changes.
  • Updates include field-tested enhancements that span: student programs, discipline, GPA, attendance, enrollment, standard-based grading, bell schedules and instructional time, residency, and transcript. More detail here.

Build Affordably, Flexibly, and Sustainably:

  • While Ed-Fi’s tools and technology have always been free to use, our shift to a fully open source license delivers highly-functional tools that can be implemented at significantly lower overall costs, which we hope fosters even greater innovation and choice in the marketplace. 
  • The latest release of the PostgreSQL-Backed ODS / API adds sandbox support and full code generation support to the other feature parity efforts in recent releases. Read more

Move Fast with Partners in the Cloud

  • You are not alone! The big three cloud providers (Amazon Web Services, Azure – Microsoft, and Google Cloud Platform) offer templatized Ed-Fi deployment options at your disposal, to stand up an interoperable environment that scales and provides you with business continuity to counter pandemic and natural disaster challenges now and in the future. Read about and access them in the Ed-Fi Exchange.
  • Several solution providers offer productized and differentiated Ed-Fi based offerings: Certica, EdGraph, and LandingZone have all badged their solutions to demonstrate certain interoperability and analytics capabilities. More information on those Ed-Fi badged solutions here. A fourth provider, Inteport, published a Platform-as-a-Service Ed-Fi implementation on the Microsoft Azure marketplace for LEAs to use directly. 

Where to Start?

  • A great place to start is our Data Solves It webinar series, whether live or recorded. These focus on priority, entry-level starting points for LEAs.
  • We have DIY(do it yourself) resources, DIG opportunities (do in a group), and DIP options (do it with a partner). Ping me and I’ll help you navigate them to find your best fit. 
  • Join our Fix It Friday community group to tackle your immediate data pain point problems right now in very real time. Learn more and join here

You may be asking yourself if you have the time and resources to tackle a data project given the pressures of your current environment. 

Our answer; Leveraging data, discovering insights, taking action upon them to reach and support every learner, parent, educator, and administrator is how we surmount the challenges of 2020 , and it has never been more mission-critical. 

I cannot think of a better reason.

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