When Mark Finstrom, Chief Technology Officer for Highline Public Schools (WA), first integrated data analytic mapping software into his district’s digital toolbox a few years ago, it was to better visualize his district’s data to consider things like potential new school construction or bus routes for approximately 20,000 students. Little did he know he would end up using it for disaster logistics.
In this conversation with eSchool News, Mark demos the GuideK12 Analytics Suite (watch the video below) and suggests ways districts can make better decisions faster.
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eSchool News: Give us an example how you would use mapping software pre-pandemic.
MF: We have a group called the Capital Facilities Advisory Committee, which is made up of community residents and we have been meeting for two years, before the pandemic, to talk about boundaries, to select data, to get information. And we would use this to draw these maps. I can go in and actually redraw a map in real time saying, “Well, I want the boundary to be here instead of here. And I’m going to put a middle school right here.” And then the software will tell me how many students are in there, what schools they go to currently, what programs are in their grade levels. And then I can see how many I can actually transfer out of that area and go to another school.