See correction below
Keeping track of 286 schools, 41,000 employees, 50,000 adult students, and 276,200 children is not for the faint of heart. But that’s just business as usual for Broward County Public Schools, the nation’s sixth-largest school district. Its IT department began developing a data warehouse in 1997 that today gives a completely new twist to the proverbial permanent record.
Collecting all that data would be pointless, however, in the absence of a tool that helps monitor students’ progress and alert educators and parents to the early warning signs of academic dysfunction.
That’s where Jeff Stanley, the district’s director of school applications and leader of the Broward schools’ Virtual Counselor project, began making a difference at the beginning of the 2004-5 school year.
Virtual Counselor puts attendance records, class rank, test scores, and other information securely at parents’ fingertips. Parents can schedule in-school appointments with guidance counselors online if they find something amiss with Billy’s or Susie’s data.
The school system is a true melting pot; students speak 156 different languages and come from more than 200 countries. Virtual Counselor can’t reach all of those families yet, and of course, many families can only access Virtual Counselor at the public library. But it’s better than sitting around and waiting for report cards.
In this InfoWorld 100 profile, we should have said the industry sector for Broward County Public Schools is Education. InfoWorld regrets the error, which has been corrected.