But without a quick and efficient data infrastructure, there is really no way to know if we are being effective. And without that data infrastructure, the implementation and institutionalization of these best practices is both slow and difficult.
Like most districts, Eudora has an SIS system for grades and attendance. But other types of data that help us understand how well students are progressing, or problems that might be holding them back, were being kept in lots of different ways with little consistency and no ability to pull it all together. The result: too many ways things can fall through the cracks despite our best efforts.
We worked with Dr. Mariam Azin and PRES Associates to develop a software-based system to manage and coordinate our resources and services while streamlining the identification, referral, and progress monitoring process. Because PRES Associates worked with similar types of projects across the country, they saw the same themes, needs, and barriers emerge regardless of size or location, and quickly grasped the direction we wanted to go. The system we worked on eventually evolved into Mazin EnCompass, an early identification, referral, and progress monitoring program that helps districts make sure that students who struggle for any reason are connecting to and benefiting from the services and programs that can help.
Designing the perfect system
We wanted a system that would not require double data entry like others we had been familiar with, and one that would instantly put the data at the fingertips of those who need it. We wanted a system that would pull together our PBIS discipline information along with referrals for any need (academic, social, emotional, or behavioral services) in a way that would talk to our SIS. And we wanted to be able to look at the data at three levels, with all of the appropriate firewalls and privacy settings:
- At the teacher level to make decisions and adjustments in classroom environment and teaching strategies;
- At the building and district level to make decisions about resources and school climate needs; and
- At the individual level to help make sure students have access to the academic and other supports they need to reach their potential.
PRES Associates worked with us to design a system that fit all of our criteria and worked smoothly with our internal policies and procedures.