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How Virginia School Divisions Use Level Data to Easily Connect PBIS-SWIS

July 19, 2022 at 3:46 PM

It’s common knowledge in schools and even homes everywhere, that DOE most often refers to the Department of Education, whether nationally or locally.

Yet a key factor for schools to continue offering the best speed to learning for students everywhere is to make sure DOE does not alternately become an acronym for Delays, Omissions and Errors in student and teacher databases.

This is particularly true for School Divisions in the state of Virginia, which all have the unique opportunity to take maximum advantage of the Virginia Tiered Systems of Supports’ data-driven, decision-making framework for establishing the academic, behavioral, and social-emotional supports needed for a school to be an effective learning environment for all students.

In order for it to work as the State plans, fast and accurate data access is a must, especially in the portion of the Virginia program referred to as SWIS: the School-Wide Information System platform that supports PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports). SWIS is a web-based computer application for entering, organizing, managing, and reporting office discipline referrals.

Virginia-based SIS Administrator Beverly Cogar of the Nottoway County Public Schools knows exactly how she can achieve such goals – a new software plug-in offered by Level Data, Inc. due to be released this summer of 2022.

“Level Data clearly understands the data within PowerSchool and the data points that SWIS requires of us to put in there,” she said recently. “I just know that Level Data will put the right information into the system for us.”

Cogar added that Incident Management Tables in PowerSchool alone – at least 19 of them – are reason enough to use Level Data with the SWIS data collection module of the Virginia Tiered Systems of Supports.

Level Data has so much PowerSchool experience they know what to pull for us.

“Level Data has so much PowerSchool experience they know what to pull for us,” she said. “I wouldn’t be able to pull all these tables myself to be honest… I would have to call someone to create a custom report. But the integration between Level Data knowing the backside of PowerSchool as well as they do can make this plug-in work.”

She said each Virginia Division will do incident management a little differently, but in the end they all have the same data management points to fulfill state reporting requirements. And all the tables are set up the same in PowerSchool so that part of it will always be consistent.

“We cannot customize those tables (in PowerSchool) so when Level Data pulls out the tables we need it’s going to be consistent across the board.”

Here are some highlights of the Virginia Tiered Systems of Support:

  • A key requirement is the data support structure requires the participating VA divisions to use the PBISApps tool suite. This is to allow the VA DOE to aggregate the data up to the state level.
  • SWIS is the data collection module of the PBIS-SWIS Suite. SWIS is a web portal used to collect office discipline referral data and can be used to make active, data-driven decisions where the goal is to create the kind of school where every student is successful.
    • Schools can turn their discipline referrals into simple reports in less than five minutes, anytime, without specialized data training.
    • The outcome is students would get the supports they needed faster, and their team could respond directly to the problems presented in front of them.
  • PBISApps has a highly regarded tool kit. But they rely on school divisions to mine the data out of their SIS, normalize the extracted data to PBISApps standards for import, and complete the imports. Estimated these Imports would be on a daily basis.
  • The mission of PBISApps is to help schools create the kind of educational spaces where everyone shows up excited to teach and eager to learn.

What Level Data can do for each Virginia Division:

Utilizing Level Data will keep your PowerSchool student, staff and referral data synchronized with your SWIS system by delivering specially formatted student, staff and referral data files to the vendor’s website for automatic import.

Cogar concluded that she will be first in line when the plug-in pilot program has concluded.

“I cannot say enough good things about Level Data,” she said. “I’ve been a customer for many, many, many years. I feel 100 percent confident that they will make this SWIS plug-in work seamlessly, so it takes the work off each data person in the Divisions. We’ll just know it works behind the scenes and be one less thing on our plates.

As soon as Level Data rolls it out, and as soon as they tell me it’s ready, I’m going to be one of the first persons that signs on.

Tom Lang
Written by Tom Lang

Tom Lang has spent more than 3 decades in the field of journalism and marketing, while always having a hand in public education. His father was a school teacher, his mom a school secretary, and his wife teaches high school English and Humanities. On his own, Tom worked his way through college as a school bus driver and today remains closely tied to education as a Board member of FIRST (Robotics) in Michigan. He has worked with high school coaches and athletes for nearly 30 years as a freelance sports writer at the Detroit Free Press, and for more than 10 years as a basketball referee. Bottom line -- help kids grow, learn and create productive futures.

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