Oklahoma K12 Public Education- Using Data + Communication to Succeed in Fall 2020

May 28, 2020

The disruption to K-12 education across the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic has been unprecedented leaving many districts searching for ways to deliver their continuous learning plans and support families as they transition to distance learning.

In order to offer some guidance, the OK State Department of Education featured two webinars for district leadership early in the move to distance learning.  

The first webinar focused on Elementary School Principals and addressed how “Data + Relationships Can Help Strengthen Your School’s Response to COVID-19”.  Principals were encouraged to use student data such as assessment results, absences and infraction counts, and student demographics to anticipate what a student’s individual distance learning needs might be. 

Reach every parent during remote learningAs we look towards Fall 2020, how can OK districts best marry student data and communication to ensure that students are supported, learning loss is minimized, and teachers are in regular contact with all families?

Student data is a major challenge all on its own. With multiple logins and gatekeepers, getting data to teachers securely is difficult both on campus and off. Teachers need access to basic student information including absence counts and previous assessments. 

This type of data can help teachers understand why a student may not understand key concepts (the student was absent for those lessons) that prevent them from building on this knowledge.  Access to assessment data can aid teachers as they tailor learning to help their students improve performance.  

Communication then brings its own set of concerns.  Teachers want to maintain privacy, but struggle to get 100% of parents to download an app that facilitates safe conversation. Over half of OK students are considered economically disadvantaged making access to a smartphone another barrier for many families who cannot afford devices capable of supporting apps and parent portals.  Many districts lack a digital communication system and require teachers to record calls and text messages manually on a tracking sheet. Families who are unreachable may require home-visits which can be draining to district resources and also put employees and families in direct contact which should be avoided due to COVID-19 transmission.

The solution is a tool that puts all integrated student data and parent communication tools behind one screen- and doesn’t require parents to download an app. 

Woodward Public Schools Superintendents Kyle Reynolds chose SchoolStatus for his district, “We have been very pleased with the tools and functions in SchoolStatus and how the application has developed and improved overSchoolStatus helps educators communicate with every parent time.” 

SchoolStatus integrates all student data behind a single login and combines that data with tools for calling, texting, and email. With title appropriate dashboards for every educator, both student data, as well as comprehensive communication records, are available on demand. 

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, SchoolStatus became a critical and essential piece of our communications with students and parents.” Reynolds added.

Communicating messages quickly district-wide is also critical for emergency situations such as weather-related events.  This can be accomplished using tools such as SchoolStatus Notify. This addition rounds out the one-to-one messaging and class-wide messaging already available in SchoolStatus- a favorite of many users. “I love the application to text and contact parents,” says Norman Public School District Counselor Terri Welborn. “I love having all the student information in one place with excellent visual graphs.” 

“I love having all the student information in one place with excellent visual graphs.” 

Teacher Bruce Renfroe echoes Welborn, “During the new distance learning this year, SchoolStatus was able to help me communicate directly with parents quickly and efficiently.”

With summer break fast approaching, OK districts have time to prepare for the new academic year and the challenges that lay ahead. Whether districts return to traditional classroom learning in August or continue instruction remotely, the need for actionable student data and parent communication is constant.  Empowering educators with the data they need to tailor instruction and the ability to communicate with parents and families will prove to be essential in limiting learning loss.  Combining student data and communication in one system enables your educators to quickly take action to customize instruction and removes barriers between school and home.

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SchoolStatus gives educators a real-time picture of all data associated with their students including benchmarks, state assessments, grades, discipline, attendance, etc. From the same view, educators have tools to contact parents via text, email, or call while documenting the communication on the student record. No other parent communication technology provides tools for data analytics and parent communication from within a single system.

Erin Winnicki is an ed-tech professional from Houston with a passion for the K-12 public education space. 

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