Customer Spotlight: Perris Union High School District

Posted by Sarah SingerO

September 12, 2019

Thanks to Hoonuit, Perris Union High School District now has the ability to ensure every student receives the support they need to be successful.

Located in the Perris Valley of California’s Riverside County, Perris Union High School District (PUHSD) operates three high schools, one middle school, one charter school, and a number of alternative schools. PUHSD serves approximately 10,000 students of diverse socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds in one of the state’s most rapidly developing regions, and is committed to fostering an environment of collaboration, creativity, communication, and critical thinking.

To make good on this commitment, the district has spent the last several years investing in data-driven solutions capable of providing educators and administrators with the actionable information they need to make meaningful progress toward the district’s goals. Driven both by initiatives unique to PUHSD and initiatives rolled out by the state of California, Student Information Systems Coordinator Kerry Bobbitt has worked with stakeholders across the district to ensure these solutions are making a positive impact in students’ lives and helping them — and the district at large — meet key benchmarks.

Recently, as it looked to strengthen the use of data in its classrooms, Perris Union decided to expand upon its existing data processes through a partnership with Hoonuit. Thanks to Hoonuit’s intuitive dashboards and comprehensive platform, Bobbitt and his team are beginning to help educators and administrators leverage student data to meet college and career readiness (CCR) goals, increase academic achievement, improve school environments, and engage parents and guardians throughout the district.

Beginning the Migration to Hoonuit

Bobbitt and his team aren’t strangers to the value of data-driven solutions. Over the last four years, the district has invested in a suite of advanced analytics solutions capable of generating data-rich reports featuring key metrics related to student success, school performance, and district accountability.

These reporting tools have proven useful, but PUHSD was looking to take their data culture to the next level. While their current data analytics solutions were able to provide educators and administrators with ample information, the reports they generated were not as actionable as the district would have liked. When the district decided to begin transitioning to Hoonuit, they were hoping to bridge the gap between having useful data and having the requisite analytics infrastructure to glean data-driven insights.

More Than Just Analytics Software

“Our current solution is a fantastic analytics software,” Bobbitt notes, “but it’s just analytics software.” Instead of continuing to rely exclusively on analytics software, PUHSD wanted a platform that could contextualize data in a meaningful way and provide stakeholders with the insights they need to make critical decisions at the right time.

To that end, Bobbitt and his team were excited by the prospect of being able to leverage the power of a comprehensive data platform to track district-wide goals, fine-tune administrative decision-making, and help make teachers make a greater impact in the classroom. Rather than just providing educators and administrators with analytics software and leaving them to make sense of reports as they see fit, investing in Hoonuit’s platform would, in Bobbitt’s view, help bring key insights to the fore.

Putting Hoonuit to Work

“We’re really excited about having an actual platform to partner with data analytics software,” Bobbitt explains. With Hoonuit, educators and administrators will have access to something significantly more comprehensive and strategic than PUHSD’s previous analytics-only solutions. They’ll be able to turn to a platform that offers a full suite of data management tools that combines reporting, analytics, and data visualization, helping take a wealth of data collected across classrooms, schools, and district departments and channel it into improving student outcomes.

Bobbitt expects staff members across PUHSD to leverage Hoonuit’s comprehensive capabilities in ways they haven’t been able to with an analytics-only software. “The reports from our data solution were just reports sitting on a server,” according to Bobbitt. “Staff would have to pull the reports up, spend the time to go through them, memorize the indicators, know the cut points by heart, and familiarize themselves with what every color meant. With Hoonuit, we’re going to have all of those business rules built in.”

Once educators and administrators start using Hoonuit regularly, they’ll be able to align various metrics with PUHSD’s LCAP, the district’s local accountability plan. LCAPs are a way for school districts in California to set goals that are uniquely suited to a specific environment. PUHSD’s LCAP goals include ensuring grade-level proficiency in English Language Arts and mathematics, preparing students to graduate with postsecondary education and career options or obtain a certificate of high school completion, and more.

Putting actionable information in the hands of the decision-makers who need it most will empower these decision-makers to spend less time in the weeds sorting through reports and more time analyzing metrics, identifying trends, and developing actionable insights that can help the district meet its goals and change students’ academic lives for the better. By helping educators and administrators in the district access critical student data more easily, Hoonuit’s platform allows staff members to collaborate on what they’re seeing and create a rigorous, ambitious district-wide data culture.

Articulating a Shared Vision

Indeed, making Hoonuit a central part of the district’s data culture will help staff members develop a clearer picture of where students are in terms of PUHSD’s goals, and free up educators’ and administrators’ time for meaningful discussions about the changes that need to be made to drive further achievement. As Bobbitt notes, “The vision is to reduce the overhead that comes with data analytics on its own and provide more time for school sites and administrators to see things before they become problems — or, conversely, to celebrate victories when we see we’re doing a great job.”

Using data more strategically resolves the common problem of being data-rich but information-poor. In the future, this will help the district make more informed decisions, develop appropriate interventions, and take action to ensure that schools are meeting local, state, and federal goals.

For example, Hoonuit will enable PUHSD staff to understand how they’re performing in relation to state indicators, and even predict outcomes based on current performance metrics. These indicators range from reducing suspension rates to below 1.5 percent — a top goal for every school in the state — to ensuring socioeconomically disadvantaged students, students in the foster system, and students from historically underserved ethnic groups are receiving the same level of attention as students from more privileged backgrounds.

Meeting the District’s Own Goals

Beyond helping the district meet statewide requirements, Hoonuit provides end-to-end visibility for PUHSD staff looking to set, pursue, and proactively monitor the district’s own priorities. These range from boosting CCR and improving academic achievement to fostering healthier school environments. Moving forward, the district is even interested in leveraging Hoonuit to enhance parental engagement.

According to Bobbitt, Hoonuit will play an instrumental role in meeting these goals. “We have so many ways for a student to be considered college- or career-ready, and we’ll be able to keep track of all of them by working with the team at Hoonuit,” Bobbitt says. “We monitor students based on three categories: prepared, approaching prepared, and not prepared. With Hoonuit, we hope to improve what students are able to do in order to be considered successful by the state of California.”

As far as academic achievement is concerned, PUHSD staff are already looking to Hoonuit for grade distribution reports. “This helps us break down performance by course, teacher, and class period so we can see where students are struggling,” explains Bobbitt. “Whether it’s with a single individual or a single course, having this information through Hoonuit will help us dig deeper. Maybe it’s a curriculum problem, maybe it’s an access problem, maybe it’s a scheduling problem where we’re hindering student success.” Whatever the case may be, Bobbitt notes that the district is looking forward to continuing its work on academic achievement with Hoonuit.

Hoonuit’s data warehouse will also help PUHSD stakeholders gain greater insight into school climate. As Bobbitt highlights, “We don’t want to just look at one thing. Now, we can look at where disciplinary events are taking place, what time of day they’re happening, what day of the week, what month, and so on.” By identifying when and where disciplinary incidents are likely to occur, the district can deploy campus security more strategically and effectively, helping keep suspension rates down and campuses safer.

Planning for What’s Next

While PUHSD has only just begun implementing Hoonuit, the switch is already generating excitement among staff members. In addition to helping educators and administrators meet the goals they’ve set for themselves, Hoonuit’s platform promises to deliver new efficiencies across PUHSD.

“A gap we have been missing has been an early warning system,” says Bobbitt. “We started to build our own, but it gets messy when you’re not an expert and you don’t know what you’re looking for. An early warning system will be a huge deal for us because we’re going to be able to identify students who need intervention before it’s too late for them to turn things around.”

Bobbitt and his team are eager to continue working with Hoonuit to deliver sophisticated, data-driven support for educators and administrators across the district. By building a healthy data culture and working with stakeholders in classrooms, schools, and administrative settings, it will be possible for everyone involved to deliver better outcomes for students.

UPDATE: Continue reading Perris Union School District’s story.

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