By Katie Sobiech
In January of 1996, leaders of all sorts from around the county came together with one goal in mind – to make education one of its highest focuses and priorities.
This led to the building up of the Summit Education Initiative (SEI).
“Our mission is to build systems to help schools in the county improve educational outcomes,” Derran Wimer, Executive Director at SEI, said.
Something fairly new that they’ve been working on is a model used to analyze student progress and readiness for the future. They are now in the early developmental stages of introducing it to schools.
“It’s very new. It’s inching along as we meet with the schools,” Wimer said.
“We’re trying to build an online tool that will make it very easy for them to do the work (on their own),” he continued.
Evolution and Growth
“About 2 years ago the board re-organized SEI to really become a backbone organization to drive educational improvement in Summit County. (We want kids) from preschool, to kids leaving high school, to have a plan of college and career and be successful,” Wimer explained.
SEI envisions being the organization that builds what Wimer calls “collaboratives” so that everyone is working on the same important transition points along the way as kids travel through the continuum of education.
And they are finally getting ready to launch these new systems and ideas into classrooms locally.
This includes focusing on: Preschool and Kindergarten, Middle School, and High School and College.
Testing a Predictive Model
“We’ve built a predictive model and are working with the schools so they can know whether their kids are on or off track at any point in time,” Wimer said.
“After we get that done we’ll bring in teams of educators and other interested groups together in each of the areas (kindergarten readiness, 3rd grade math, high school graduation, college readiness) and share best practices,” Wimer explained.
By doing this they will be able to identify programs that they know are effective and working, and will engage the community to get the practices rolling so that every child can benefit from them.
Connecting the Dots…
“We’re really just starting to build this up this year and going out into school districts and sharing it with them,” Wimer said.
“We (will) put all of the data points together to tell a story as to whether the student is on or off track. (Schools have) always had the data but this is the first time they’ve ever had the data connected,” he explained.
Connected in a way that makes sense and points towards exactly what the student needs and where he/or she stands in each subject of study.
“(The schools have) never been able to put it together, so we’re trying to put it together for them so that they can act and not have to analyze. We’ll do the analysis. We’ll do the study for them and they can just sit down with the kids and prescribe action,” Wimer said.
And their goals and analyzations are many…
“The schools will have a dashboard that we’re developing that they’ll be able to pull up on their computers that will show them what the different scores mean,” Wimer said.
As of the feedback so far, Wimer says “We’ve been modeling and beta testing it with the schools and the staff love it.”
Watch for Part Two next which takes a closer look at the different stages of development and “landmark” moments from pre-school through high school that SEI works strategically with.
For more information go to: http://www.seisummit.org/