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Creating a Digital Community of Care in a Large School District During Challenging Times

Creating a Digital Community of Care in a Large School District During Challenging Times

Lumen Touch

Case Study: The School District of Washington partners with Lumen™ Touch

Lumen Touch has a strong strategic alliance that offers a very comprehensive all-in-one student management system, Bright SUITE, to schools and districts like the School District of Washington in Missouri. These partnerships have been created over many years and allow our technology company to provide leading-edge solutions to all schools through constructive feedback and by partnering with honest brokers like the people that work at Washington. More recently, Lumen Touch has partnered with GG4L to provide improved data and client management as we jointly build digital communities of care in the endeavor to fulfill our missions of connecting students to more opportunities through leadership and technology.

 

Introduction

The School District of Washington is a very large school district in Washington, Missouri that covers 254 square miles across three counties. The district has been working with Lumen Touch for several years and has come to rely on the edtech company’s ability to quickly respond to the unique needs of such a large district while offering to brainstorm and test their products as they bring them to market. Washington also has a strong tie to the Missouri‘s Department of Elementary & Secondary Education (DESE), which creates a triumvirate for development of communal solutions.

 

The Initial Challenges

The initial management of student data and the IT infrastructure was a time-consuming and complex challenge for their IT team. The sheer vastness of the district – with students in 13 buildings (including a career center where some high school students spend half the day), the onsite responsibility of managing the servers, the integration of all the student data from more than 20 different applications, and then layered on top of these, the state-reporting requirements – presented unique challenges. The IT department felt overwhelmed in simply trying to keep all systems operational; they never really had time to create the modern digital community of care that would best serve the students, teachers, and staff, while also connecting with their families and the community.

 

The Solution

There are two parts to the solution that involve presenting and maintaining a robust digital platform while building a long-lasting strategic partnership with every school district.

The Bright SUITE student management system gathers information on students and their activities in a just-in-time manner. As a student moves throughout their day and beyond, the system gathers information and presents this information back to the student, their teachers, counselors, coaches, mentors etc. through devices and portals.

A day in the life of the student is managed throughout: The student may be in the cafeteria and a peanut allergy is alerted at the checkout counter; the student is doing an assignment at home on a device of any kind at any time and the assignment is immediately available to the teacher while attendance and engagement are tracked; the student is in the library and the teacher, parent, and mentor are aware that the student has checked a book out; the student is with the counselor or school nurse and immunizations and transcripts are available.

Every stakeholder in the school and district has a portal and all information is secure and confidential, with distributions by permission only. Reports, score cards, notifications, and dashboards are available at their fingertips and all students, including those with special education requirements, are catered for in one system. Thousands of hours are saved on administrative functions, including state reporting, so that more focus can be placed on providing a teacher-led, student-centered education. All of this is done in a safe and secure digital environment that honors the integrity of the student’s data.

As far as the partnership is concerned, there is a two-way flow of information with trust that allows Lumen Touch and the School District of Washington to share in the spoils, from the senior management across the spectrum to every user of the technology.

 This is what I really embrace about Lumen Touch we view it as a partnership. There’s a lot of vendors out there who just sell you something and that’s it. That’s what you get. When we signed on with Lumen, it became a partnership. – Rob Landers, Director of Technology

 

Positive Outcomes

This is just a sample of Lumen Touch’s successes, but their goal is always to provide school districts with the best-in-class technology that allows them to provide the best-in-class education to their communities.

Attendance Challenges with Students Attending in Two Locations: To prevent students from being double-counted when they attended both the high school and the career center, Lumen Touch developers rewrote their operating system to allow the district to mirror students without them being double-counted on the attendance.

We were shocked at the response. When we told Lumen Touch the dilemma we were having with the double attendance, within a matter of weeks – before school even started – we had the new functionality we needed. That takes a lot of coding on the backend. There was no additional charge for the enhancement. – Rob Landers, Director of Technology

Cost Savings: Because Bright STUDENT is a comprehensive system, the School District of Washington was able to cancel their subscription with GroupLink and utilize Lumen’s HelpDesk module to save the district $5,900 annually. They were also able to cancel Schoology and use Lumen Touch’s new interface online learning management tool, saving the district $26,573.40 annually. When we do the math over a ten-year period, we realize a significant savings:

GroupLink $5,900.00 X 10 = $59,000.00

Schoology $26,573.40 X 10 = $265,734.00

Replacing those two systems with Lumen modules will potentially save the district $324,734.00 over the course of the next ten years.

Quality of Learning: Moving to Lumen Touch has improved the quality of learning for students in the School District of Washington. Not only are students benefitting from the immediate feedback, but teachers have more time dedicated to helping students one-on-one. The time savings afforded teachers is almost immeasurable. One assignment, done through Lumen Touch’s learning system, may save a teacher more than two hours when factoring in the time necessary to assign the lesson, wait for students to complete the lesson, and then grade the lesson. All of that is now automated. Rob Landers explains:

Quality of learning and education has changed in a positive way. Instant feedback is so important for students; it keeps them motivated and on track. It also enabled us to pull in various resources we didn’t have access to before.  With the way Lumen is set up, a teacher can develop an assignment or activity and then it can be shared among other teachers. There is less duplication of effort, and quality lessons, which are reviewed by our curriculum committee, can be shared with other teachers in our district as well as be submitted to Lumen’s global database, where teachers can share lessons and activities with other districts, too.

 

The Future

Lumen Touch prides itself in being student and school-district responsive. We have all recently been impacted by the Covid-19 crisis and all the challenges it is bringing with it. Lumen Touch has risen to the occasion once again in providing a way to track Covid-19 symptoms and do contact tracing so that schools can be managed more safely and at the same time providing an integrated virtual- or distance-learning platform for those that cannot attend school.

Not many companies can boast about having a single-platform solution like Lumen Touch that responds to the customer and market demands, that decreases the cost of a comprehensive digital platform in a time of financial crisis, and provides the security in a world of cyber insecurity.

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