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Case Study: Empowering Teachers with Data

Author: Keith Westman | Blog |

The Gravette School District, located in the northwest corner of Arkansas, is a district with roughly 1,500 students between kindergarten and 12th grade. While small in size, the district has been recognized with numerous awards in the state for student performance and growth.

Historically, the district did not employ a standard student assessment method. Teachers used their own self-made spreadsheets or simply paper and pencil to track student growth, while occasionally, teachers shared Google Docs to track students on an ad hoc basis. Because teachers used so many different methods for tracking student performance, it created a near-impossible scenario to access data, much less compile it to understand how to propel student success.

“Our team at Otus has been great. I always feel like I can get an answer, and I’m never left hanging.”

Kim Brunkhardt, Instructional Coach

The Onboarding Journey

Envisioned and developed by former teachers and administrators, Otus is a common technology platform that connects the entire school community — K-12 teachers, school leaders, parents, and students — eliminating the need for rudimentary tracking techniques or one-off technology solutions that tend to create more headaches than solve problems.

After just one demo, Gravette’s district leadership recognized how easily and effectively Otus empowers teachers to personalize learning, informs administrators to make timely, evidence-based decisions, keeps students engaged and organized, and helps parents stay better connected.

After implementation, the Otus team ensured Gravette schools had all the support they needed to learn and utilize all of the platform’s capabilities. As with any software implementation, there were crash courses on how to use the system as well as course corrections, which is why Otus assigns every district with an Otus technology coach and client success specialist to answer questions and provide guidance on how to best use the platform. Otus COO Keith Westman also personally visited the schools during the implementation process.

“Our team at Otus has been great,” said Kim Brunkhardt, Instructional Coach for the district. “I always feel like I can get an answer, and I’m never left hanging.”

Learning, Together

Now that the Otus platform is up and running for Gravette, the district has taken full advantage of Otus’ functionality, including expanded student assessments and tools. Gravette teachers are now building their own grade-level assessments linked to standards, and most importantly, they are directly accessing assessment data, enabling them to make instructional decisions in near real time.

“I like that all my data is in one place and that it links student learning needs to Khan Academy.”

Taylor Lewis, 7th Grade Math Teacher

“I find this program extremely helpful during SPRINT meetings to bring up longitudinal data on students,” said Audrea Vore, a Title I teacher at Gravette schools. “The teachers do a great job of bringing the data that is from their time with the student, but Otus allows us to get a better idea of the student’s performance over longer periods of time. It also allows me to stay in touch with how my WIN students are doing on their common assessments. I look forward to the greater communication between previous and current teachers about shared students.”

“Otus enables me to use data to target students,” said 7th grade Math teacher Taylor Lewis. “The pie charts that are created to determine readiness level are helpful. I like that all my data is in one place and that it links student learning needs to Khan Academy. I want to use it more — I’m hardly proficient, but feel like it has a lot of potential.”

As teachers take advantage of all Otus has to offer, the district is expanding access to the platform to the full school community to take advantage. Students are accessing classroom assessments through Otus, and soon the district will be using the platform to connect with parents as well.

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