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The Impact of Data Validation and RealTime Reports in Alabama

June 13, 2023 at 2:41 PM

When the state of Alabama implemented PowerSchool statewide in 2021 as the mandatory SIS for school districts, it not surprisingly forced many districts to make drastic changes to how they had been storing, tracking and managing student data.

Thankfully for data managers like Greg Titshaw, Technology Coordinator at Fort Payne City Schools in Alabama, Level Data Inc.’s State Data Validation Suite was included in the statewide implementation of PowerSchool.

Simply, it made life simpler.

And it made possible the drastically improved accuracy of the small school district’s data.

Before the State Data Validation tool, “we had no idea what all kinds of errors we had,” Titshaw said. “And (Level Data) keeps adding new things you’re checking for us.”

Fort Payne City Schools took another step forward by adding Level Data’s software plugin called RealTime Reports (RTR).

RealTime Reports gives school districts nationwide real-time information in less than five minutes for more than two dozen reporting categories ranging from attendance to gradebook analysis, to truancy to lunch status to family lists and demographics, to discipline. Even mapping addresses for busing and tracking district demographic changes are incredible resources for districts.

“We were used to canned reports, which had its good side and had its bad side,” Titshaw said about their former iNow SIS.  “And when you wanted a report that did something else, you didn’t have that because all you had was canned reports and that’s all you could do.

“PowerSchool is more open ended, so we’d have to create all of them; there were few canned reports. To create them you had to have some skill to do that, and we weren’t used to that,” he added.

We needed something that allowed us to pull the data and we liked Level Data’s reports plus it has lots of interactive features” to control various phases of the data, “and pulling different kinds of data in. That’s what we liked about it.

More importantly to school personnel, RealTime Reports is a very intuitive software tool that virtually anyone can use with little or no training. It’s often been compared to being as easy as shopping online to create the reports leaders and administrators need to process data-driven decision making for improving the school district delivery of services to families and students.

Titshaw named their regular users of RealTime Reports as principals, counselors, assistant principals, office staff, registrars, attendance clerks and even the technology coaches.

“At first we bought RealTime Reports as a trial, but now if we considered taking them away we would get a lot of blowback,” Titshaw said about administrator and staff use. “They’ve become dependent on them."

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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