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The education industry has always concentrated on making learning more manageable for the students. Project Education (previously known as Project ELL), a Texas-based firm, is radically changing this industry approach by devising an extensively integrated data management platform for assisting teachers, counselors, campus leadership, and district administrators. The platform is fully customizable, making data collection tasks, primarily using paper-based data collection methods, easier for numerous school districts across the United States.
In an exclusive interview with CIO Applications, Steve Navarre, CEO and Mellony Deuel, Chief Academic Officer of Project Education, share their insights on the products and services that the firm offers for the education space and the incredible journey they have had so far.
Becoming the Wind of Change
The most important thing for us in the recent months has been the transition from Project ELL to Project Education. The first five years of our company, Project ELL focused solely on English Language Learner (ELL) data compliance, student progress monitoring and data driven instruction with school districts. Now as Project Education, we have expanded into “multiple student populations,” including Special Education, Section 504, Response to Intervention, Gifted and Talented, and several others. Schools districts can have everything in one customizable data management platform. It is our software platform that makes the system unique.
The significant challenges in education and the Project Education platform effectiveness
School districts face three significant problems that need to be addressed—school district funding, educator’s time management and siloed data across numerous educational platforms.
Districts gather student data across populations and report it to the state and federal government, which is tied to funding based on that data. When required accountability data is incorrect or missing, funding for school districts can be reduced or restricted. Our data management product helps districts identify incorrect and missing data that might affect funding.
One such scenario showing the relevance of the platform was when Project Education worked with a school district in Texas. While evaluating student information, Project Education found that records of 81 students (out of 1500) were missing from the district’s information system. Project Education helped the school district do two things. First, they rectified the issue before they were fined by the government and then were able to increase their state funding by over $240,000 which they were previously not receiving because of missing student data.
We build our products with an educator and technology expert, so we have both domains covered with high-level professionals
Educators are now tasked with doing more with less funds. More work and less resources add stress to educators. Project Education’s platform saves educators time with data collection, so they can spend more time doing what they went to school for – educating students.
With our technology, we breakdown school district’s different silos of data and incorporate them into one Project Education location. In addition, there is no SQL code to write, nor any high-end technical expertise required for generating custom reports.
The working of Project Education cloud platform and its integration with the legacy education systems
We provide a customizable education platform, the Project Education platform, which is built on the Microsoft Azure Cloud. It is a “one-stop” repository for traditionally-siloed student data like assessments, student performance, and student demographics. Partnering with Microsoft Azure ensures our platform zero down days, or work days where users can’t access student data.
Our product has the same UI across every district, in every state, that we serve but is customized to fit each district’s individual needs, maintaining a consistent, easy-to-use, integrated view of all the student data in one place. All our products are available on any device, cell phone, a tablet, Chromebook or PC, as it is browser based and with a responsive design. Each product can be purchased individually or together in any combination. A school district has a choice to buy the product that fits their needs.
All districts have multiple siloed data systems that include student data. We connect with over 14 student information systems and five assessment data systems. Our data integration imports student data such as demographics, compliance, schedules, attendance, assessments, report card grades and other data as requested.
Our data services team focuses on connecting or pulling specified data from third party applications into our platform. This service is called as “DataAnywhere!” because of the ability to access “data anywhere” the district stores it. The “DataEverywhere!” service pulls data from our platform and puts “data everywhere” a district wants it such as specialized reports or to be consumed by third party applications.
The Road Ahead
Our products are designed, built and managed by an educator, Mellony Deuel and technology expert, Steve Navarre. We draw on both experiences to build the best technology products in the education industry. With more new state and federal education legislation requiring even more student data, we will continue to release additional data management products. In addition, we know districts need help with understanding data and how it drives individual student’s education which is why we have recently launched our consulting and professional services group. As we continue to perfect our product line around student data, we are also aiming to create products for tracking educator’s certifications, professional development, and other district HR functions.