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Level Data’s SWIS Connector Cuts Work in Half for Danville Public Schools

February 16, 2023 at 1:00 PM

With staff shortages and schools recovering from the chaos of the past few pandemic years, any savings of time by not duplicating efforts, especially when improved data accuracy comes with it, is certainly a welcoming sight.

That friendlier place has become Marcus Chaney’s world since linking up with Level Data, Inc. of Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Chaney is the director of information technology for Danville Public Schools in Virginia. He has worked with school and student data accuracy experts at Level Data for the past few years – first in utilizing the State Data Validation Suite (SDVS) for greatly improved state reporting, but more recently with Virginia’s more specific discipline reporting for its state-wide 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, and Level Data’s SWIS Connector takes using the system to an optimum level.

“Last year, principals started expressing their concerns about how they had to enter ‘incident information’ in both PowerSchool and SWIS, and they wanted just one platform to where they could enter the incident in one place and be done.” Chaney said. “So, we reached out to both Level Data and SWIS to see if we could connect the two to see if the principals could enter in one location, so it would all sync and all be uniform.”

Chaney added that the end result has definitely cut out half of each principals’ prior work, and maybe more than 50 percent, because if the principal is already working in PowerSchool they don’t have to then fire up the SWIS software and do the logins and other time killers.

Utilizing Level Data will keep any Virginia Division’s 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.

Chaney added that it’s a great tool for principals to keep tabs on kids that might bounce from school to school, as they can more easily follow the trail.

State Reporting is now a dream scenario:

The 5,700-student Danville Public Schools system first began working with Level Data on developing a sure-fire way for their district to accurately identify missing or erroneous data that’s meant for state reporting, to be flagged early and accurately.

“It’s happening really easy because if there’s missing information on a student, we get the red X,” Chaney said about the Level Data software called Student Data Validation Suite, used by thousands of districts nationwide and developed specifically state by state for each one’s data reporting system. SDVS is a software that at the point of data entry alerts the user with red, yellow and green fields showing that what they typed into PowerSchool is inaccurate, might be wrong or is perfectly right and consistent. Reviewing files can also be done at any time, not just the point of entry, to flag and quickly fix potential errors before a state report is submitted, knocking off multiple rounds of back and forth corrections between the state and local district.

“It’s helping our expected outcomes by being able to visually see what data is missing,” Chaney continued. “That really helps us tremendously, because a lot of our office staff was missing a lot of key details while entering information into student profiles. It shows us what is needed; what’s required… and then that account becomes good to go.”

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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