One Year with Schoolrunner: Kansas City Girls Preparatory Academy

We’re using student data in a way that helps us think, “What are our actions as adults to support students?”

We recently had the opportunity to chat with Dani Murphy, the Founding Operations Manager at Kansas City Girls Preparatory Academy, about her school’s experience one year after launching Schoolrunner as their central data system. Kansas City Girls Preparatory Academy opened in 2019 as the first and only single-gender school in Kansas City. Centered around the values of community, growth, and freedom, Kansas City Girls Preparatory Academy focuses on promoting inclusive practices that affirm young women of all backgrounds. 

In their second year of operation, Kansas City Girls Preparatory Academy adopted Schoolrunner, hoping to provide a clear and easy way for staff, students, families, and parents to be on the same page with student information. In the section below, we share some highlights from our conversation around data challenges and practices, increasing transparency, and using student academic and cultural data to ensure that a school’s values and mission are coming out in practice.

Schoolrunner: What were some of the challenges you were thinking about around data a year ago? Were there any specific questions you wanted to have answered?

Dani Murphy: A year ago, we were looking for a system that would serve as our “one truth.” That was the big thing, to make sure everyone was on the same page with student information. Beyond that, nothing that we used was also accessible for parents. They’d have to have a login for grades, another login for behavior, another login for attendance. The big things we were looking for were 1) a system that served as one truth for staff, and 2) something that provided accessibility for parents. 


Schoolrunner: After your first year of using Schoolrunner, what changes have you noticed in your school’s data practices?

DM: The big one is that our staff can go to one location for all their answers. They’re able to easily enter grades or pull grades for a collective or specific group of kids. I’ve done most of the data pulling, but it’s made my job so much easier because I can just pull a spreadsheet and do whatever else I want with it, rather than not-so-fun state exports from other systems! We’ve actually been able to track attendance and look at the data we wanted. 


Schoolrunner: Have there been any surprises that you’ve found in the data?

DM: I don’t know that we felt surprised; it’s more that we were interested in looking at the data that shows how our values are truly coming out in our practices. For example, if we’re saying that we’re inclusive, are our students who speak a language other than English getting the same communication from all staff? Are we practicing what we preach? 


Schoolrunner: Do you have a favorite feature or report within Schoolrunner?

DM: I think I use the dashboard the most, and the groups are really helpful for me. For example, we imported scholar attribute information and we like to look at how grades, communication, and attendance are trending across groups of students—really from an equity standpoint. We’ll do some investigative work if there’s a student with a failing grade or low attendance. We look to see what have we done to support that student or communicate with a family? We’re using student data in a way that helps us think, “What are our actions as adults to support students?” 


Schoolrunner: After one year of using Schoolrunner for your student data needs, how will you describe it to new staff or incoming students’ families?

DM: Schoolrunner is really a one-stop-shop for students, families, parents, and staff to view student data in a super friendly way. Internally, it’s our one truth. It’s where you can go for everything you need to know about kids and to provide transparency on all levels in order to make sure you have what you need to support students. 


To learn more about how schools use Schoolrunner as their one-stop-shop for student data, download our one-pager here.

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