"We've been using FileMaker Pro in the district for many years," comments Assistive Technologist Susan Riden, "and for various things such as student rolls, budget needs, attendance, lunch count, work orders, and so forth. We started building a program that would take care of what we call the log sheets that track our Special Education students, and what things need to be done before certain testing can be administered."
With a FileMaker Pro log sheet system in place, the next step was to examine how the software might be deployed elsewhere in the Special Education department, and the logical next step was documenting Individual Education Plans (IEPs) for each student. "This is a plan that is filled out by all the individuals involved with a student in Special Education," Susan explains. "We have approximately 1800 Special Education students, and an IEP is done once a year for each of them."
Since it is on the web, Special Education staff can access it from anywhere and can even work at home if they must.
Several years ago, Susan Riden and Cindy Liechti developed a basic IEP application in FileMaker Pro, which her department accepted readily. So it wasn't long before she began considering how to make even more improvements in the way her system handled records, making the centralization of documents a primary goal. With dozens of teachers spread out over several buildings, a system was needed that would allow speedy, centralized access for everyone involved in any given student's educational program. "This is where Kirk Bowman of MightyData came in," says Susan.
Kirk developed a web–based IEP system that allows access to each individual report — and all its associated documentation — under one main program, as a unit or individually as needed. The system is password–secured and Verisign encrypted to ensure confidentiality. "Since it is on the web, Special Education staff can access it from anywhere," notes Susan, "and can even work at home if they must." All Special Education staff are equipped with either a laptop or desktop computer, with additional terminals in operation in each school, as well as in the Special Education Department meeting rooms.