Home > Uncategorized > Greetings DDOE data gurus… the clock is ticking

Greetings DDOE data gurus… the clock is ticking

July 5, 2012

In April I pointed out that a key parent involvement report from eSchoolPLUS was providing worthless data for our data-driven decision making. I also pointed out several potential fixes. Granted, DDOE has no meaningful parent communication channels, but it’s still not clear whether any action will be taken.

In a nutshell, districts have pledged to increase parent usage of the Home Access Center as one measure of parent engagement. But Sungard’s eSchoolPLUS (of which HAC is a part) does not provide a built-in report for tracking HAC usage. DDOE has experimented with creating a custom usage report, (which is not difficult to do). But the first version of this report is useless, because it counts everyone who logs in even one time per year as full-time user.

To create a meaningful report, DDOE will have to create a script that runs this report daily, and then report on usage per day and per month to show meaningful trends. This is a task well within the capability of a junior programmer.

But there’s not much time left. In August (presumably), the eSchoolPLUS database is cleaned out and begins recording activity for the new school year. If the daily script is not in place by then, we will likely go another year without useful HAC usage data.

Also, there is an issue with the HAC program logic itself that appears to prevent the report from tracking logins per school. Logins may only be tracked per district. There doesn’t appear to be a simple fix for this, at least not one that is obvious to me.

Better yet, DDOE should contact Sungard and insist that they provide both these fixes for eSchoolPLUS, for which we are paying Sungard annually.

Hopefully there is something in the works. But if not, then – data gurus, brush the sand out of your toes and get busy!!

(kidding – I know these guys work hard)

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  1. BSD parent
    July 6, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    Here’s something that affects parent usage!
    FYI – each district has its own policy regarding HAC. I wasn’t aware of that. Brandywine turns theirs off on the last day of school COMPLETELY and doesn’t open it again until the first day back. I learned this this summer when I was trying to show off the “cool system” to family members while on vacation. When I asked why I was told that it was because with HAC they don’t have the old “we’ll hold your report card until you pay for lost books/damages/instruments card” . When I pointed out how this penalizes those of us (the majority) who are responsible – all I got was the tried and tired mentality of public education – punish the whole class for the few who are acting out. Other reasons I was given for closing the system to parents were #1- a lot of annoying parents call over the summer if class schedules are posted and things don’t get finalized until the minute school starts and #2 – teachers sometimes put things in that are wrong and parents/students are asking for corrections. I don’t really know how to answer these. Apparently other districts can figure out ways to collect fines and leave HAC available. Maybe having parents and students access/check schedules prior to the first day of school would eliminate students wasting time in wrong or inappropriate classes after the start of school. Maybe teachers can learn how to put grades in correctly and if a simple error is made the school could change it?

    HAC is useful – year round useful – I now know to take screen shots. I think closing it down on the last student day is wrong. Give people the benefit of the doubt some of us do care about HAC and actually use it.

  2. July 6, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    Maybe having parents and students access/check schedules prior to the first day of school

    You know, I’m not even sure HAC can accommodate block scheduling. I know it supposedly has this feature, but what are the chances it is installed and properly configured by August? If not then schedules might be gibberish in HAC next year. I’ll have to ask.

    I’m also not sure how widespread block scheduling is; I know Red Clay middle schools are doing it, but who else?

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