United States

Business intelligence platform strengthens student insight and performance

North Kansas City School District

CASE STUDY  | 

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Overview

The North Kansas City School District is the fourth largest in Missouri, serving more than 19,000 K-12 students in 32 educational sites throughout southern Clay County. The district is known for innovation and excellence and strives to ensure each student achieves their potential in an environment of constant change. The National School Boards Association has named the school district a leader in educational technology on two occasions, and the district has also received the Consortium for School Networking National Technology TEAM Award.

Background

The school district, as with many others in the state and across the country, has to contend with several regulations and enhanced state standards and performance goals for students. The Missouri School Improvement Program (MSIP 5) is designed to increase student success and includes a high level of expectations and accountability. In response, North Kansas City wanted a more robust business discovery platform to become more agile and quickly answer questions related to metrics, such as active enrollment numbers and inter- and intramobility rates.

"We are used to accountability measures, but the difference was needing more extensive data in real time," said North Kansas City School District Director of Data Management Amy St. John. "The data has always been there, but we needed to know where each of our students stood from an individual standpoint, rather than an aggregate perspective."

Project

While North Kansas City had a strong existing data platform, it had several manual collection and data validation practices in place. The reporting was so time-consuming that by the time the reports were validated, the data was already too old to make informed decisions. The school district chose RSM to implement a business intelligence platform based upon experience with other clients, as well as on a successful technology infrastructure project. RSM understands the district's long-term vision of how to rebuild its technology and data capabilities to align with objectives, goals and challenges.

RSM worked with the district's data team, and interviewed administrators and building stakeholders to establish requirements for the project. With North Kansas City's requirements in mind, the RSM team designed the solution to improve the district's insight and performance. The school district logged employee data requests, and RSM structured the platform based on these data needs, in addition to state requirements. End users were also polled to contribute additional insight on what they would need to know and information they want just a few clicks away.

For example, North Kansas City required more insight into several key areas to comply with MSIP 5 guidelines, including attendance. In the past, Missouri assessed schools on an average, aggregate daily attendance by building, while the new regulations require proportional attendance, evaluating individual student attendance and calendars. RSM's implementation provides that granular level of data and helps North Kansas City meet that higher level of accountability.

RSM consolidated multiple data sources into a central reporting environment, which provides a holistic view of a student. The solution included a comprehensive and scalable centralized data repository, merging information from multiple sources. Instead of manually pulling information together from different sources and reporting across those sources, the platform provides a secure location that stores and merges data, dramatically reducing reporting time and the need for resources. Data stored in the repository includes:

  • Student Information Systems data
  • Human resources and faculty information
  • State Student Core and state enrollment and attendance reports
  • MSIP 5 data and reporting metrics
  • Student assessment data, such as ACT, SAT and ASVAB scores, end of course (EOC) and Missouri Assessment Program (MAP)

RSM also recommended the QlikView solution as the user interface to present the data and provide a platform for decision support. RSM's QlikView implementation allowed North Kansas City users to directly analyze data without the need for power user assistance. It delivers information that is flexible, timely and responsive to changing requirements and needs. Any user can ask questions and create custom analytics, and the data repository incorporates business rules and other quality measures to deliver a high degree of data accuracy and consistency.

The QlikView solution is powerful and easy to implement and manage for North Kansas City users, but it is also secure. Multiple layers of security are integrated to protect important data, including authentication and authorization. The multilayered security approach allows the school district to authenticate users and determine who is allowed to access reports and analytics and what information a user is allowed to view.

A valuable function of the QlikView platform is the ability to develop dashboards, analytics and reports for a variety of key areas. Users can conduct searches and interact with customized dashboards and analytics from any device. The school district no longer has to wait for manual reports, as questions are answered instantly at the click of a button. North Kansas City has taken advantage of dashboards and analytics for critical areas, including:

  • Attendance: Average daily attendance is tracked, student year-to-date attendance can be viewed at any time, as well as current district and building 90/90 percentages.
  • Enrollment: Users can view current district and building enrollment numbers, inter- and intrastudent mobility rates and identify enrollment trends.
  • State reporting: Users have instant access to historic state student core and enrollment and attendance reports, as well as year-over-year and month-over-month reporting.
  • MSIP 5: A dashboard provides historic district and building scores, projects the current year's MSIP 5 scores per category and analyzes details that drive the numbers, easily identifies at-risk students and determines the number of additional students or points necessary to reach the next status level.
  • Assessments: The district has access to complete student assessment history on-demand and can view assessment trends throughout the year. Users can also compare how assessments throughout the year project MAP and EOC scores and view assessment scores of two different student groups side by side. The district can easily compare assessment results to current PowerSchool information.

To help North Kansas City reach their compliance goals, RSM created additional reporting attributes defined by the state that are not available in the Student Information System. The RSM team also designed SQL server-stored procedures that predict the school district's accreditation score based on Missouri's reporting guidelines.

"We can now make educated decisions based on real-time data," said St. John. "We can view individual students, how long they have been in our system and their performance over time to identify trends and patterns and opportunities for support and enrichment."

Outcomes

Following RSM's QlikView business intelligence implementation for the North Kansas City School District, users have greater access to actionable on-demand data to help identify issues and successes and efficiently adjust programs to enhance student prosperity.

"I feel like RSM's QlikView implementation has transformed our lives and our way of thinking," said St. John. "They are very consistent with status updates, very courteous and very attuned to the needs of their customers."

The project, in addition to other technology initiatives, is blazing a new trail to help the school district reach new heights despite evolving and challenging state standards. Based on 2013-14 annual performance report results, North Kansas City posted the highest score among districts of a similar size and demographic (92.1 percent), is improving at a rate unmatched in the state and posted the highest graduation rate in recorded history (93.4 percent).

Other benefits of RSM's service to the North Kansas City School District include:

  • Allowing users to see valid, valuable data and analyze it down to the source
  • Creating custom analytics and dashboards
  • Understanding the relationships between data sets
  • Accessing information in a mobile environment
  • Posing and answering performance questions and addressing issues in a timely manner
  • Improving data security and disaster recovery capabilities

They said it

"RSM helped our school district dramatically improve the efficiency of our student reporting system, which now gives our educators access to better data when making decisions on how to increase student performance."

Paul Harrell, Chief Financial Officer, North Kansas City School District

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