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How Santa Fe Is Turning Data into Innovative Strategy and Fresh Collaboration



Santa Fe Public Schools, like most school districts, has a vast amount of instructional, financial, and operational data they leverage to inform decisions. However, when it came time to start refreshing the devices that support the district’s 1:1 initiative, they realized they were missing one critical piece of the puzzle—usage data.

“We were at the end of our five-year capital election cycle and heading into a new five-year cycle,” explained Dr. Tom Ryan, Santa Fe’s Chief Information and Strategy Officer. “We needed a way to assess the program’s effectiveness, but didn’t have access to the quantitative data we needed to do so.”

Dr. Ryan had the following questions:

• How and how often are we using our investment—are we even using it at all?
• What are the Key Performance Indicators?
• What is the Return On Investment?

After some research, his team found a solution—data analytics.
Deploying CatchOn, an expansive data analytics tool, Dr. Ryan and his team quickly attained the visibility and usage data they needed to give detailed answers to those questions.

But that was just the beginning…

Sparking Transformative Conversations

After seeing his data come to life and converted into actionable insights via CatchOn’s dashboards, Dr. Ryan and his team have successfully wielded this information to drive collaboration between the district’s technology and instruction departments.

“CatchOn has allowed us to have a conversation with the instructional side of the house about what they’re using and why,” Dr. Ryan said.

Because the tool tracks the usage of each app, Santa Fe’s technology team can work with instructors to identify and eliminate failing resources and consolidate investments.

Better still, since the collaborations CatchOn empowers are ongoing, the district can respond quickly to evolving needs. “Partnering with the instructional team, we can decide together what metrics we want to use to determine performance and success,” Dr. Ryan went on. “As a result, we get unprecedentedly early access to results districtwide.”

These new dialogues, however, aren’t limited to those between the CIO and the instructional team. Rather, Dr. Ryan and his team now have the data they need to create concise status reports for Santa Fe’s superintendent and to collaborate with the professional development team about teacher success. The result is a district that, more than ever before, is working hand in hand to produce positive outcomes for the Santa Fe community, one of which is receiving a boost in funding where it’s needed most.

“With CatchOn, we’re now able to allocate funds even more strategically,” Dr. Ryan explained. “When budget season comes, we’re going to have the data required to identify real needs and put money where it’ll better serve the students.”

The more the district turns budgeting into data-driven strategy, the more certain schools can be they’re maximizing the impact of each investment.

Santa Fe Public Schools is taking advantage of all the new opportunities EdTech has brought to their community. By marrying quantifiable data to qualified analysis, the district is creating cross-departmental collaborations and opening a new world of possibilities to students.

“We were at the end of our five-year capital election cycle and heading into a new five-year cycle. We needed a way to assess the program’s effectiveness, but didn’t have access to the quantitative data we needed to do so.”

- Dr. Tom Ryan, Santa Fe’s Chief Information and Strategy Officer

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Related Resources:

Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) began deploying its one-to-one (1:1) initiative five years ago. The district’s instructional and technology teams worked closely together to ensure teachers had the support and professional development required to ensure the initiative was a success. Now that the district has successfully made the digital leap, VBCPS leaders are asking themselves what’s next in terms of leveraging their online learning tools, devices, and data to further impact and enhance learning.
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