Stillwater Area Public Schools Successfully Engages Community, Passes $97.5M Referendum

 

GuideK12 analytics support strategic planning in the 18 month referendum process

 

 

MINNEAPOLIS, MN June 2,  2015 –Stillwater Area Public Schools in MN embarked on an 18-month strategic, data driven referendum journey that concluded with voter approval. This referendum represents one of the largest referendums in the history of Stillwater schools.   Utilizing GuideK12’s analytics platform, district administrators were able to better visualize data, run real-time boundary scenarios, which allowed them to effectively demonstrate the overall impact of the strategic plan on the students, and engage their community in a more meaningful way throughout the process.

 

The $97.5 million referendum includes funding for building a new elementary school in the growing south end of the district, changing grade configurations along with many other facility updates and needed improvements.

 

GuideK12, geovisual analytic software, was selected as an important tool to support long range facility planning, examine feeder patterns, and enable boundary scenarios and data visualization for stakeholders across the district and community.

 

Dennis Bloom, Stillwater’s Director of Operations, said “We are thrilled with the community support this referendum received, this is a critical step forward that ensures our district is delivering the best possible experience for our students over the next decade.”

 

“Stillwater’s process highlights the importance of collecting the right data up front, having a clear process that engages all the stakeholders in each phase of planning, and selecting the right tools. We are thrilled for the students and community members of Stillwater.  We are extremely pleased that GuideK12 was able to help make the process for Stillwater Area Public Schools more effective, efficient and transparent,” said Guidek12 CEO Chuck Amos.

 

“Four years ago we would have been looking at this data on spreadsheets, had someone trying to map it and it would have taken weeks; now we create scenarios in minutes and discuss as a team in real time. Initially we thought we could solve our challenge by moving boundaries, but using a tool like GuideK12 showed us quickly that boundary changes alone were not the answer, but grade reconfigurations needed to be examined,” Bloom commented.

Communication was a cornerstone of the entire project. “Throughout the process we have used GuideK12 for student population locations, growth areas, and analyzing demographics.  We held more than 90 meetings with the public, parents and staff and used GuideK12 to visualize our changes.  People understand data better when they can see it come to life. The speed and ease to analyze different scenarios saved us so much time.  We were able to answer questions within minutes.  The more transparent and efficient we could be with our planning group, the community, our staff, the better. GuideK12 made it all so much easier. It is a great planning tool!” stated Bloom.

GuideK12 is visual analytic software that allows school district administrators to make more proactive and effective decisions regarding student needs, program placement, boundary changes, school choice, emergency planning and student performance.  The ability to filter, run queries, and interact with student data on an interactive map changes the speed of decision-making.  This innovative web-based software is changing how districts see, interact with, and use their data for better planning results and greater decision support.  GuideK12 supports districts experiencing change with data driven planning capabilities while increasing community understanding and trust.

For a detailed case study outlining Stillwater Area School’s referendum planning success, log onto http://guidek12.com/district-planning-resources/

 

About GuideK12™:

Based in Eagan, MN, GuideK12LLC is a geovisual analytics software company that enables education decision makers to instantly explore and analyze school district data by adding a geographic and visual dimension to their student and community information. By visualizing information spatially, decisions on everything from boundary analysis to policy changes to resource planning and forecasting enrollments can be faster and more insightful.  Named a finalist for a 2013 SIIA CODiE award for best enterprise solution, and selected by the NSBA as a technology showcase company, GuideK12 serves large metro, suburban, and rural school districts throughout the United Sates. It is owned by private investors and a private investment group based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. For more about GuideK12™, please visit: www.guidek12.com

 

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High-performing public charter schools in Los Angeles emphasize
parental engagement as a key factor for student achievement

Students tend to thrive when teachers, administrators, parents and community members collaborate to support learning. In underserved areas, where socioeconomic challenges loom large, nurturing a strong education community is especially critical to students’ success.

Aspire Public Schools in Los Angeles uses ParentSquare, a simple and collaborative school-home communication platform, to reach and engage every parent, ensuring all parents have the opportunity to actively participate in their children’s education.

“Consistent, two-way communication and engagement with parents is critical to our mission at Aspire, so we devote significant effort and energy to that end,” said Aspire’s Los Angeles Area Superintendent Kate Ford. “Because of ParentSquare, I’ve had parents tell me, ‘I feel like I’m at school even when I can’t be.’ That’s the type of outcome we strive for – helping parents feel included and valued every step of the way.”

ParentSquare opens the lines of communication for everyone involved in students’ education:
teachers, administrators, staff, PTA leaders, committees, volunteers, community leaders and
parents. The benefits have been resounding, according to Ford, who started using
ParentSquare at Aspire in 2014.   Aspire Public Schools in Los Angeles also has access to the ParentSquare analytics dashboard, which enables administrators to see, track and enhance parental engagement. The dashboard displays a school’s parental involvement data using intuitive graphs, helping administrators take well-informed steps in nurturing parent and community engagement. School officials can easily share reports to meet and exceed district, state and federal requirements.

The accomplishments of Aspire and its students are remarkable,” said Anu Vaid, founder and
CEO of ParentSquare. “Everyone at Aspire, from administrators to teachers to staff, clearly
understands and appreciates the importance of parental involvement. ParentSquare’s mission is closely aligned with the goals and values of Aspire Public Schools.

Nationally recognized for its ambitious College for Certain initiative, Aspire Public Schools was
founded in 1998 with the mission of growing the public charter school movement by opening
and operating small, high-quality charter schools in low-income neighborhoods. During the past five years, 100 percent of Aspire graduates secured admission to a four-year college or university.

To learn more about Aspire Public Schools, visit www.aspirepublicschools.org. For more
information about ParentSquare, visit www.parentsquare.com.

About Aspire Public Schools
Aspire Public Schools is a national K-12 school system focused on improving public education
by preparing underserved students for college, training highly effective teachers and sharing
innovative best practices. Aspire serves more than 14,600 students in 38 open-enrollment
public schools in underserved communities across California and Memphis, Tenn. Founded in
1998, Aspire delivers a rigorous College for Certain education which has led to 100 percent of
graduating Aspire seniors being accepted to four-year colleges or universities over the last five years. Visit Aspire Public Schools at http://www.aspirepublicschools.org.

About ParentSquare  
ParentSquare is a simple, collaborative platform for school-home communication that facilitates parental engagement in children’s education. Designed specifically to help preK-12 educators, ParentSquare reaches and engages every parent with automated email, text and app alerts, language translation, and 24/7 access. Powerful metrics on parent engagement help school administrators take well-informed steps to improving parental involvement. Learn more at www.parentsquare.com. Join the discussion on Twitter (@ParentSquare) and Facebook  (www.facebook.com/Parentsquare).

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