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RCPS data warehouse to roll out in 2011
$1.5M project funded by federal Race to the Top grant
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Rockdale County Public Schools will soon be creating a warehouse for the entire school system, but this one won’t have four walls.

RCPS hopes to roll out a data warehouse and instructional management system in 2011 that will eventually house information for all aspects of the school system.

The program, which will cost approximately $1.5 million and be funded by recently granted federal Race to the Top stimulus funds, will not require local tax dollars or the hiring of additional personnel, said Office of School Improvement Director Eugene Baker.

The Rockdale County School Board will vote on a contract with the Follett Software Company at their Dec. 16 meeting.

The program, called TetraData, will eventually house information from all branches of the RCPS system, ranging from student achievement scores and history to teacher curriculums to bus routes.

Having the data in an integrated system will allow teachers and administrators to do more sophisticated cohort and longitudinal analysis and to track and compare student performance and changes throughout the years, said Baker. For instance, administrators could compare the performance of students that have stayed within the system for a number of years to the performance of students that have transferred in, or the effect of RCPS instruction after a certain number of years.

Currently, reports can be created on narrow topics that draw from separate pools of data that cannot be integrated except manually.

The instructional management system will be geared to assisting teachers and instructors, said Baker. For instance, they would be able to access assessment data and standards criteria and save and share effective lesson plans.

Two years of surveying and identifying user’s needs went into the project before sending out Requests for Proposals this year.

Baker said data warehouses are commonly used by large corporations and larger school systems. Two states, Vermont and Rhode Island, and 51 other school systems in the United States are using the TetraData system. However the system will be configured to fit RCPS’s individual needs, said Baker.

A wrap-around requirement means that the system will be configured to work with the existing vendors and software in place. That means users may not even know they’re using the data warehouse. “They won’t have to sign into a different program,” said Baker.

Implementing this program would bring the school system and instructors to the next level, said Baker.

The program will begin in January 2011 and staff training will begin around June 2011.