Has your school noticed an increase in student performance and/or motivation as a result of this technology use? If so, how?
At the end of our first year of operation, our state criterion-reference test scores were more than 10 points above the state average in English and science. Our average pass/completion rate was 76.3 percent—more than 40 percentage points higher than the biggest public online provider in the state of Utah. In addition, parent surveys revealed between 92.5 and 97.5 percent satisfaction ratings for curriculum, teacher responsiveness, and overall satisfaction. Parents and students [said] the characteristics they liked the best about OHSU are [its] flexibility, technology, and teacher interaction.
This [information] supports the focus we have at Open High School: using technology tools to create and provide an online classroom experience that is collaborative, interactive, and flexible.
How do you use technology to streamline school administration and aid in decision-making?
We use 37signals Highrise as a CRM tool. Each teacher, staff member, and counselor has an account. All information from students’ contacts [is] recorded in Highrise, allowing teachers to easily have a holistic view of a student’s progress [or] concerns in school. We have found that this method of tracking and monitoring students gives faculty access to information that they would never have in a brick-and-mortar teaching environment. It assists with RTI [Response to Intervention] and helps us craft students’ educational plans that take into account their experiences in all their classes.
We use Genius SIS as our school information system. It integrates flawlessly with our Moodle site and keeps us from unneeded duplication in data entry. Student information, grades, attendance, activity logs, grade books—all sync between our LMS and SIS. In addition, the high level of activity tracking gives administrators, parents, and students access to the amount of minutes spent in each course in a day, updated grades and assignment feedback, transcript and credit tracking, and auto-reports on student progress that can be eMailed to staff/parents/students. Genius SIS gives administrators the birds-eye view that they need to respond quickly to data on student performance. It takes the guesswork out of administrative decisions. We no longer have to make gut administrative decisions on where to focus funds for RTI, teacher professional development, and at-risk students. Genius SIS makes it very clear where we need to focus our time and resources.
Has your school realized an increase in efficiency, a savings in administrative costs, a boost in staff or student performance, or some other tangible benefits as a result of this technology use? If so, how?
Effectively using the tools (reporting and otherwise) in Moodle, Genius SIS, and Highrise has allowed us to funnel school funds into teacher salaries and tech tools, as opposed to having to hire additional administrators and office overhead. Obviously, administration is a needed area of K-12 education, but often it is an area that is wrought with bloat, redundancy, and ineffective practices. When workflows are put into place that give administrators the drilled-down information they need, it simply takes less staff to manage a school. The traditional multi-layered management in schools puts only a small picture of the school in the hands of each staff member. The collaborative online tools that OHSU uses literally allow all administration, staff, and faculty to be on the same page.