Tennessee’s Achievement School District was created to fulfill the vision of taking the lowest-performing 5% of schools in Tennessee and bringing them into the top 25%. This vision includes preparing all students for college and career success while engaging families and community members in innovative ways. After an extensive search of school management systems, ASD partnered with Schoolrunner to consolidate data within and between five of its schools. Today, ASD is using Schoolrunner’s comprehensive data solutions to further its initiatives, inform its families, and expand future opportunities for its scholars.
Seeking one answer.
The Achievement School District (ASD) began its search for a comprehensive data management solution for its schools in hopes of consolidating data entry points and reducing the data-burden on teachers and staff. Before the implementation of Schoolrunner, teachers’ access to data in ASD was spread over a number of different systems, requiring them to navigate constantly to record attendance, behaviors, and academics. Interpretation of that data was almost out of the question. This scattering of information led not only to frustration, but also to a lack of confidence that the data teachers were recording and compiling was both accurate and usable for all educational stakeholders. Aside from the time lost for teachers, ASD had a data team member spending massive amounts of time compiling reports with data points that didn’t align.
“I think it was a cost of time for both teachers and for the network team, to be able to gather the information we needed to make those important academic and character-driven decisions … It was a massive time crunch. There were also some functionality issues because we had to do conversions to get systems to integrate with each other, which led to data integrity issues.” Katrice Bullock, ASD Student Information Manager
ASD narrowed down their school management system choices, leaving Schoolrunner at the top of the list, along with Kickboard. Both systems were thoroughly tested by administrators, teachers, and data team members. They ultimately decided on Schoolrunner, since it not only offered the functionality and all-inclusive features needed, but more importantly, it fit into the district’s culture of teamwork and transparency.
A culture revealed.
ASD’s schools are highly committed to collaboration. The staff can often be found lending a hand to one another, and giving of their scarce free time to ensure the schools run smoothly. Whether scanning assessments into Schoolrunner’s GradeCam integration for a fellow teacher, or helping with attendance or grade entry, this dedicated group of educators is making the most of their partnership with Schoolrunner.
“The ease with which other staff could support teachers on those important tasks was really important for us.” Katrice Bullock, ASD Student Information Manager
Since partnering with Schoolrunner, ASD schools have also seen greater accountability surrounding their school initiatives. To fulfill one of this school year’s “Key Pillars”, teachers and staff are expected to make three positive communications home for every … not-so-positive one. Teachers have been able to easily record their communications using the Schoolrunner mobile app, which has led to a noticeable increase in overall phone calls home over the last year. School culture is also starting to shift as schools make dedicated time for teachers to perform and record communications after professional development days.
“It’s incredible to see schools like ASD that embrace the same core values as Schoolrunner: Teamwork, Communication, Passion, and Accountability” – Yesica Mirambeaux, ASD’s School Happiness Coordinator, Schoolrunner
A community aligned.
ASD has also seen how Schoolrunner benefits its community and district partners. The program’s student dashboard gives staff a high-level view of how scholars are performing on almost any metric, and allows schools to spot trends month-to-month, homeroom-to-homeroom, and beyond. Schoolrunner’s clear attendance data is also easily downloadable for ASD’s state-mandated truancy report. With the help of the centralized system, truant students are quickly identified, assigned a truancy team member, and provided the extra support they need to re-engage in school.
“Being able to pull information out is really, really helpful. The download features that we have for basically all of our different modules in Schoolrunner are really helpful because we do have a different metric for school health that we use on a monthly report card to say how we’re doing at each school.” Katrice Bullock, ASD Student Information Manager
Data transparency and accessibility have greatly benefited ASD’s community partners as well. Non-profit support team members that work within the schools have quick and easy access to information about their caseloads when using Schoolrunner’s easily configurable dynamic groups. This allows swift access to everything support team members need to quickly assess their students’ needs, along with information on where to focus their interventions.
Schools are reaching for that ever-distant goal of a perfect educational community. Schools like those in Tennessee’s Achievement School District are some of the most innovative and most willing to find what works by questioning their own assumptions. Although today the successes may be as simple as more positive phone calls home or greater collaboration potential, tomorrow may be the complete disappearance of the achievement gap. Some districts might say this is impossible, but those like The Achievement School District are saying: “Everything’s impossible … until one day it isn’t.”