Portage Public Schools Touts Excelsior Software's Open Database Architecture Solution. (Applications)

T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education), February 2003 | Go to article overview

Portage Public Schools Touts Excelsior Software's Open Database Architecture Solution. (Applications)


Portage Public Schools, near Kalamazoo, Mich., is a district with a tradition of high standards and performance. Standard & Poor's School Evaluation Services (www.ses.standaradandpoors.com) reports that the district's above-average student results with spending are comparable to those at the statewide level. The district's per-student expenditures are on par with state averages, but lower than the average spending of S&P's peer districts with similar demographics. Equally impressive, Portage's student results in terms of test scores, graduation rates and percentages of college-bound students also exceed its S&P peer group.

So when Dan Vomastek, Portage Public Schools assessment and student information systems coordinator, began looking for new data collection, management and analysis solutions, he wanted answers that matched the school district's high-performance philosophy. "We had been collecting and using massive amounts of student performance data each year, but we did not have the benefit of a centralized, standardized data collection and analysis system," says Vomastek. "We could, however, see the many advantages in achieving real-time assessment and student performance information to support continual curriculum development and improvement."

Setting Objectives

According to Vomastek, Portage Public Schools has taken an integrated, long-term view in planning and implementing its new strategic curriculum and assessment programs. The district's investment in technology, related support services, personnel and professional development is critical in preparing to meet the accountability and reporting requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act and the Michigan State Board of Education's Education YES! accreditation system.

The district's objectives included having all 14 of its schools fully participate in electronic grade and attendance reporting by the end of last year, as well as introducing the opportunity for students and parents to monitor grades via the Internet. Further, the district was very clear about its data collection goals:

* Achieve efficiency in collecting assessment data necessary to relate student grades to the district's standards and benchmarks.

* Develop efficient methods to help faculty and staff in collecting data.

* Add computing power to the district's analysis of individual and group achievement.

Consequently, Portage Public Schools issued a formal "Request for Proposal." Vomastek was firm on the requirement for a non-proprietary data format. "We did a tremendous amount of background research and analysis," says Vomastek. "When data is in a proprietary format it can hurt a district in the long run, so open architecture was absolutely critical to us."

Making a 'Future-Proof' Decision

Portage Public Schools chose the Pinnacle Plus District Data Manager (DDM) solution from Excelsior Software Inc. In spring 2001, the district deployed Pinnacle Plus and Excelsior's Gradebook2 to collect and analyze student performance data. In addition, the district continues to use a student information system provided by the Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency (KRESA). Based on Microsoft Visual FoxPro, this system supports reporting required by Michigan as well. But, the district sought to improve the system's attendance, grading and reporting functionality. Portage Public Schools also sought to enhance its ability to aggregate student data for longitudinal querying and analysis.

In choosing Pinnacle Plus, Vomastek was confident that the new system would integrate well with the established KRESA system. "The Pinnacle Plus system's data source is open in a standard SQL Server, which provides us with access through both Crystal Reports and Access," he says. The district operates with a 100 MB fiber backbone, enabling Vomastek to manage the Pinnacle Plus system centrally with three servers:

* One server runs in "Terminal Server" mode to support each school's Pinnacle services;

* A second server manages teachers' gradebook directories; and

* The third server supports the Pinnacle Plus DDM SQL database application, which automatically collects and aggregates each school's data for multiyear longitudinal analysis and reporting. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Portage Public Schools Touts Excelsior Software's Open Database Architecture Solution. (Applications)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.