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Why Safeguarding Student Data Remains Top Priority for the SC Dept. of Juvenile Justice

July 21, 2021 at 10:02 AM

In a generation captivated with voter polls, sports rankings, and lists for best places to live, Belinda McEachern is certain who is her No. 1 – Level Data.

McEachern frequently attends statewide and regional technology meetings and conferences where open discussions take place with her contemporaries about the challenges each face with student and staff data synchronization and keeping all data clean.

“Level Data was the No. 1 answer from like 99 percent of attendees at all the meetings,” McEachern said. “They would tell me, ‘if you want to go with the best, go with Level Data.’ They have proven to me to be No. 1. They know more. Everyone on their staff is so knowledgeable. 

...if you want to go with the best, go with Level Data.

“I wish they could take in a middle-aged intern,” she joked. “I would love to be an apprentice and see first-hand how they work.”

With others’ advice in hand, McEachern – who is the Instructional Technology Coordinator for the school district (Division of Education and Workforce Development) within the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice – did even more due diligence and invited her supervisor into a meeting with another local vendor to discuss options for syncing all their student and staff data.

“When I mentioned to this representative that we were also looking at Level Data, he said, ‘I’m just going to tell you the truth. Level Data can do more for you than I can.’ So, it was a no-brainer for us.”

The SC Dept. of Juvenile Justice school system setting is very unlike the vast majority of public schools in the U.S. yet it’s still required to provide public education for its few hundred students – students who are not unlike most teens, McEachern says. Youth ages 12-18 in the juvenile system from across South Carolina can be found in long-term centers, short-term centers, or in some cases what McEachern called ‘camps’ – where they have free movement into the community and more leeway, with no perimeter fences.

She signed on with Level Data for PowerSchool Sync and implementing Google’s G-Suite/ Google Classroom – where extra safeguards must be in place due to the sensitive nature of each student’s background.

They have taken so much pressure off me. When our first teacher saw her Google Classroom set up for all her students, she was just like a child at Christmas.

“They have taken so much pressure off me (with Google Classroom),” she said of Level Data’s service team, especially praising Steve Scobie. “When our first teacher saw her Google Classroom set up for all her students, she was just like a child at Christmas.”

Now when McEachern talks to others in her field, her No. 1 message is short and sweet.

“Don’t look at anyone else,” she says. “Talk to Level Data. Talk with them first!”

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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