20 Most Promising Education Technology Solution Providers of 2013
By: Thomson Antony
Courtesy of: CIOReview Magazine, December 2013 Education Technology Special Issue
Posted: December 4, 2013
20 Most Promising Education Technology Solution Providers
For years, educators and state lawmakers in California could only apply rough estimates to the nature of the absenteeism problem and its impact on the performance of the public school system as well as the state economy as a whole. That changed dramatically earlier this year, when California Attorney General Kamala Harris issued a landmark report that found nearly one of every four elementary school students were classified as “truant” under state law– a stunning total of nearly 1 million children last year. In a unique public-private partnership, the Attorney General’s office reached out to a Sacramento-based service and software firm, School Innovations & Achievement, as the key source of the ground-breaking data.
The company, led by Jeff Williams – a former auditor, tax specialist and efficiency expert – has over the past eight years perfected an attendance management system that serves as a primary conduit between the schools and the community. The core product, Attention2Attendance® (A2A), functions as an engagement tool, linking the principals with their students and most importantly, the parents.
“We have the strategies, the proprietary software, sensible process and oversight to get results. We serve as district staff, promotional team, subject matter experts, data analysts and project managers to ensure every step is taken, consistently, all the time”, says Williams.
SI&A is a crucial member of districts for real-time attendance tracking, automated interventions, federal program support, special education and mandates. They support school districts with innovative programs that improve attendance, streamline processes and fulfill state and federal obligations. SI&A’s products and services are strengthening the partnership between schools and homes: increasing parent communication, recovering learning time, improving graduation rates and closing the achievement gap.
With the help of SI&A, district administrators can get a global view of attendance trends, which also facilitates the ability to make proactive interventions. Districts nationally that utilize the system boast enormous improvements in attendance: 25 percent less truancy, 30 percent drop in excessive excused absences and a reduction in chronic absenteeism of 50 percent. District attendance information is reviewed as often as once a week by three different teams at SI&A. There are also automated data routines that check data constancy, flag unexplained anomalies and apply comparative analysis to district historical trends.
“A2A brought profound change and phenomenal success to our district,” says Scott Vernoy, director of Student Services at Livermore Valley JUSD. “The system helped us to become more efficient and responsive to the needs of our families and students. We decreased dropout rates, improved graduation rates, closed the achievement gap and ensured the success of each and every student.”
Williams notes that the real mission of the company is to change the culture of public schools – where data drives decisions and showing up is everyone’s priority.