As the third largest school district in Florida and the eighth largest in the US, Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS) touts its high scores with 25 of 30 high schools earning A or B grades during the 2012 – 2013 academic year. Headquartered in Tampa, Florida with over 200,000 students and 250 school sites, HCPS includes urban, suburban and rural/agricultural areas and focuses their improvement projects on enhancing teacher quality and student achievement. Some of the recent projects included how to improve assistant principal and principal hiring, how to better prepare students for college, and how to choose the right teachers and resources for high-need schools.
HCPS knows that making fact-based decisions and having the ability to measure performance accurately will boost teacher effectiveness and student achievement. That’s why the HCPS turned to Convergence Consulting Group, an expert and trusted Business Intelligence partner, for a well-designed solution.
Innovators in the education field, HCPS utilizes IBM Cognos technology to organize information such as student records, personnel data, performance metrics, and more. Through their ongoing partnership with CCG, HCPS was already developing dashboards for teachers and principals in Cognos Report Studio. After seeing great success incorporating analytics into their everyday processes at the teacher level, HCPS wanted to extend the use of dashboards to departments within each division of the school district. In order to do so, they needed a more flexible solution capable of handling the massive amounts of requests that would come with this.
Divisional dashboards require a more autonomous method of reporting than the existing traditional dashboards built for teachers and principals inside IBM Cognos Report Studio. Each person’s view of what is important is different, therefore the amount of dashboards needed is massive. This requires a more self-sufficient method of report creation. HCPS chose to deliver Self-Service divisional dashboards inside IBM Cognos Workspace where end users can consume and assemble preconfigured widgets. This enables the user to develop their own customized views based on what they find most important. Cognos Workspace allows users to drop in report objects, such as charts and lists, which they can then use to manipulate their needs. This liberty drastically reduces the number of reports needed. Users are able to apply filters, easily incorporate trending, and customize their view, only including certain objects when they are important throughout the year. By introducing self-service dashboards, HCPS was able to reduce the IT footprint needed to maintain this type of solution.
This system of dashboarding has successfully been implemented at the department level to track overall effectiveness of training courses within each division of the school district. Department leaders are able to assemble dashboards based off specific metrics that they find most important when managing overall effectiveness of leadership in their district.
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