Solutions

FileMaker is Valuable Resource for Teachers and Administrators

North Star Academy

North Star Academy's a new kind of school, offering a challenging educational regime designed for top–ranking students. And there's no place at North Star for old school data management methods — not when there's FileMaker Pro, the award winning database software application from FileMaker Inc.

Overview

  • North Star Academy uses FileMaker Pro to manage everything from homework and classes to basic student records and even disciplinary information.

Industry

  • K–12 Education

FileMaker Pro keeps track of who is attending Homework Center and when they attend. It also keeps track of how the students are progressing in their completion of their homework and with what subject areas they need most help. It's a great information source for teachers!

— Will Lucey, Assistant Principal/Curriculum Resource, North Star Academy

Business Challenge

Located in Redwood City, California, North Star Academy is an academic magnet school. Its curriculum is designed to attract the best and brightest of the area's third–through–eighth grade students, with enrollment open only to students ranked in the 85th percentile or above on standardized tests. Students are enrolled in core subjects of Math, Science, Language Arts and Social Studies but these curriculums are compacted which allows for time each day for the Enrichment Program which has exciting courses such as Shakespeare, Video Production, Jazz, Current Events Debate, Storytelling, and similar subjects. All these courses are based on student interest. And behind the scenes, an array of FileMaker Pro databases helps pull it all together.

That's due to the efforts of Will Lucey — who doubles as North Star's Assistant Principal and Curriculum Resource. "I use FileMaker Pro for a lot of things," Will explains, "but the first was to build a database of student interests for use in planning classes in our Enrichment Program. This program offers different classes to fit the interests of the students — and each student can choose three specific areas of interest in determining what class they'll get. Using the database to match students with classes is much easier than assigning classes on paper!"

Successful Solution

That system now includes a number of useful refinements, including an application called the "Interestalyzer," which automates the process of gathering information on what every student in the school likes to do the most. "Students can go into the lab and log onto a FileMaker questionnaire," Will continues, "and this asks them a series of questions designed to explore their interests. For example, one question is 'if you could invite any three people out of history to dinner, who would they be?' Another asks 'what things do you like to collect in your spare time?' And another asks 'are you interested in sports?' This information goes into the database, and helps us design Enrichment classes that target the students' interests — for example, we might find some students are especially interested in certain areas of technology, while others are interested in drama. We can then develop Enrichment classes based on those subjects."

I use FileMaker Pro for a lot of things but the first was to build a database of student interests for use in planning classes in our Enrichment Program. This program offers different classes to fit the interests of the students — and each student can choose three specific areas of interest in determining what class they'll get. Using the database to match students with classes is much easier than assigning classes on paper!

— Will Lucey, Assistant Principal/Curriculum Resource, North Star Academy

FileMaker Pro is used for other purposes as well. The schools' basic student information database is a FileMaker system — storing personnel–type information for every pupil. Another database stores disciplinary information — lending a whole new meaning to the term "your permanent record." And still another database is part of the school's Math Achievement Program — tracking the progress of each student enrolled in this challenging course, and drawing the attention of teachers to students who need particular attention.

Customer Benefits

And when the final bell rings for the day, FileMaker Pro's work is far from done. That's when the Homework Center database comes into play. It's part of a new program recently added by North Star Academy to help students focus on completion of after–class assignments. "Many of our students come from situations where they may not have a good place to do homework after school," observes Will, "so three days a week after school we have a Homework Center available where they can come for an hour to complete their assignments. FileMaker Pro keeps track of who is attending Homework Center and when they attend. It also keeps track of how the students are progressing in their completion of their homework and with what subject areas they need most help. It's a great information source for teachers!"

In class or in the office, during the day or after hours — North Star Academy gives FileMaker Pro the highest grade.

For FileMaker:

Kevin Mallon
Public Relations Manager
FileMaker Inc.
408-987-7227
kevin_mallon@filemaker.com
http://www.filemaker.com

For North Star Academy:

Will Lucey
Assistant Principal/Curriculum Resource
North Star Academy
650-482-5973
wlucey@rcsd.k12.ca.us
http://www.northstar.rcsd.k12.ca.us