The Power of Data Visualization & Family Engagement in Galena Park School District
The Galena Park School District in Texas, serving over 21,000 students, faced challenges in consolidating student data and effectively communicating with non-English speaking families. To tackle this, the district implemented SchoolStatus Connect, a comprehensive platform for data visualization and family communication. With this tool, Galena Park integrated all insights, allowing for holistic views of behavior, attendance, grades, and test results. Overall, these data solutions have created a more effective learning environment and increased educator-family interactions throughout the district.
Serving a Diverse Population
Galena Park ISD is a diverse school district outside of Houston, Texas serving over twenty thousand students. Despite collecting large amounts of student data in multiple systems, Galena Park had been unable to combine their data into a single view. Now the district integrates all their student data with SchoolStatus and uses the combined visualizations to make proactive decisions for their students. Additionally, Galena Park leverages the communication functionality within SchoolStatus to engage families using calling, text, and e-mail—all without giving out the educator’s personal contact information.
Expanding Student Reach
80% of students in Galena Park ISD are economically disadvantaged and almost a third are ELL, so Galena Park’s 3,200 staff members work diligently to ensure that this generation of kids can grow to become lifelong learners . Elizabeth Lalor, Associate Superintendent at Galena Park and a self-described “data nerd”, knows how important data can be to achieving this vision,“If the right person has the right data at the right time, then a child’s struggles can be a teachable moment rather than a series of lost opportunities.”
The time and effort involved in cross-referencing student information in several systems usually meant that it didn’t happen at all, and it sometimes meant that student information which would have been helpful yesterday wasn’t actionable today.
Discovering Efficient Data Solutions
Galena Park was the first school district to use SchoolStatus to integrate Texas student data sources. The SchoolStatus team delivered on its promise to offer a combined, visualized view of all the district’s data. “We have a complete student data picture, finally. It has everything in one place. Their testing data, their attendance, their behavior, their grades, all in one spot.”
Getting a single view of student data has proved to be only the beginning. Lalor receives a daily data digest from SchoolStatus by e-mail and uses the information to highlight and address issues–absences, assessment trends, discipline–before they become problems. Additionally, educators and administrators at all levels can now access an integrated view of individual students using the SchoolStatus Student Card, a complete data picture for each student.
Leveraging Data to Foster a Better Learning Environment
Galena Park has also successfully integrated student data into their transition planning by creating data groupings. For example, separating students who have struggled with discipline into different classes or shuffling the schedule of students who are frequently tardy. This can help foster a better learning environment for everyone. “My favorite part [of SchoolStatus] is the At-Risk Group [capabilities]. This is how we’re proactive.
We got to choose what behavior to track within the student population like:
- Students that have five or more infractions
- Students that have an average daily attendance (ADA) is less than 95%
- Students that failed their last STAAR Test (the Texas Assessment);
- Students that have a D or F on their last report card
And if any of these apply, we can pull a list of all of the kids who have three points or four points, and monitor them. Especially during the transition years, we can roll this over to the school they’re about to go to and say, ‘OK, here are your kids that are the most at risk.’ Put them with the best educators, don’t put them with the new educators because we don’t know. If they have bad attendance, don’t put their first class to be reading or math, put it as an elective, try to get them there. We use this for taking action with our kids.”
Closing Communication Gaps with Non-English Speaking Families
Lalor brought SchoolStatus into Galena Park to integrate the district’s view of data–and it’s done just that. However, in the process, Galena Park has also begun to use SchoolStatus for family communication with non-English speakers.
“[…] We’re 79.9% Hispanic, one third English language learners, so it will translate into multiple languages and once families know this is how I can get in touch with an educator, they’re texting back on that and it’s all documented.” said Lalor.
Before SchoolStatus, Galena Park communicated using whatever means were available—email, phone, texting—but didn’t have any way to manage or record the process or ensure that communication was consistent or even that it was happening at all. Additionally, educators and administrators often ended up giving out personal contact information in an effort to connect and then regretting it later when texts and calls started to come in over the weekend. Since SchoolStatus allows Galena Park to record all communication, it enables Lalor and other administrators to manage both engagement frequency and quality.
Boosting Communication in a Learning Community
Records of text conversations, e-mails, and even automatically transcribed call recordings all add to a student’s educational record and fill in the details of a child’s struggles and achievements. This bird’s eye view of a student’s journey is what allows everyone in a child’s life–educators, family members, and admins– in the learning community to stay informed and empowered to make better decisions. Educators at Galena Park use SchoolStatus to communicate frequently with families. Since SchoolStatus combines communication and student data into a single application, this has the added benefit of increasing the frequency with which the district’s educators study student data.
Galena Park was the first school district to use SchoolStatus to integrate Texas student data sources. The SchoolStatus team delivered on its promise to offer a combined, visualized view of all the district’s data.
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