Osseo Area Schools first in state to invest in technology to create a common space for data
Osseo Area Schools is the first in the state to invest in a school technology program that will create a “data lake” for the district.
“A data lake brings all of our data into a common space, everything from academics to attendance to behavior reports, to really understand how our students are doing within our system,” said Anthony Padrnos, executive director of technology at Osseo Area Schools.
The district signed on with PowerSchool a few years ago, which provides cloud-based software programs for schools.
A PowerSchool spokesperson said Osseo Area Schools is the first in Minnesota to pool the various technology programs into a central system, to better analyze the data across the platforms.
“Education for many years has been data-rich but information-poor,” Padrnos said. “We get a lot of data coming at us and we never get to the point of being able to have conversations of ‘Okay, now what do we do with that data?'”
Osseo Area Schools serves nearly 21,000 students across 31 school sites.
“For many years, we’ve been gathering in a variety of different ways, sometimes having it in spreadsheets and these other different disparate databases that don’t necessarily talk to each other,” Padrnos explained. “So the data has always existed, it just hasn’t necessarily been utilized in an effective manner.”
A PowerSchool program called ‘Student Analytics’ will now compile data ranging from enrollment to state testing scores to a student’s individual grades and create colorful dashboards with graphs and charts.
A teacher or administrator can filter each data set based on anything from gender to language.
“We can drill in and see down to the school level, down to the classroom level and down to the individual student level,” Padrnos said. “Now you don’t have to be a data scientist to be able to pull some quick reports and start to understand what’s happening in your classroom.”
Padrnos said teachers can use the data to visualize where students are struggling and quickly identify which subjects or topics may need more support.
“For example, you know, the third-grade teachers will get together to kind of talk about, ‘Hey, I’m seeing this in my data around this particular thing. What strategies might you be using as colleagues to help support students?'” Padrnos said. “And then they can plan instruction or interventions that can be tailored to meet the unique needs of each of our scholars. Really what we’re driving home and what we’re talking about is humanizing the data.”
PowerSchool told 5 EYEWITNESS News they are starting to set up data lakes at a handful of other districts across the metro, including Stillwater Area Public Schools and St. Louis Park Public Schools.