Solutions

Dodge City Public Schools

Solution enhances educational experiences and streamlines administration services

Teachers assess students with custom FileMaker solution running on
more than 1,200 iPads

Overview

  • K-12 public education in the U.S. faces the challenge to become more efficient, cost effective, and accountable. With a custom FileMaker solution running on servers, desktops, laptops and thousands of iPads, Dodge City Public Schools is achieving its goals.

Industry

  • K-12 Education

Solutions

  • Used a custom FileMaker solution running across servers, desktops and laptops and iPads for both administration and learning.

Benefits

  • Substantial savings, customized to better meet local needs. Replaced paper with PDF forms; integrated information from multiple sources; provided immediate way to analyze student performance and initiate improved learning outcomes.

Public education in the U.S. today faces daunting challenges: prepare students for tomorrow’s career paths, meet standards for student assessments and operate efficiently on tight budgets. Dodge City Public Schools, one of the largest districts in Kansas, with 6,500 students, 440 teachers and 40 administrators and staff, is setting new standards that streamline the district’s administrative processes, make teaching more effective and deliver more engaging experiences to K-12 students. Central to the improvements is a FileMaker solution running on more than 1,200 iPads.

Today, Dodge City district teachers can easily plan curriculum for six-week periods and then deliver student assessments online using the FileMaker solution. While students take exams on an iPad or desktop computer, teachers track their accuracy in real-time on their iPads. When exams are complete, teachers use an intuitive interface to filter test results across multiple variables such as areas of knowledge weaknesses and strengths. Then teachers view the results in charts, graphs or lists, in order to spot trends and target students who need assistance in specific topics.

Real-time access to information from anywhere

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Dodge City School teachers can now view the results of student tests in graphs, lists or charts using FileMaker Go on iPads.

To reinvent its processes, the district developed a custom solution running on the FileMaker Platform. The solution was created initially to replace an expensive, legacy student assessment system that was difficult to customize and required developer services, resulting in substantial savings over five years. Today, the single solution has many modules, securely accessible based on different roles within the district. The solution originally started off running on desktops but due to the FileMaker Platform it works great on the iPad.  This is a huge benefit since iPads will soon replace every student desktop computer in the district.

“Many districts opt into separate, proprietary software packages for everything from assessments to reporting, a tack that can be very expensive, limiting and typically ends up stymied by siloed information,” says Ray Wipf, executive director of information management for the district. “Our single, multi-faceted FileMaker solution, which integrates information for both administration and learning, has resulted substantial savings.

Our single, multi-faceted FileMaker solution, which integrates information for both administration and learning, has resulted in substantial savings over five years.

— Ray Wipf, Executive Director of Information Management, Dodge City Public Schools
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Substantial savings and a smarter approach to the education process brought about by the efforts of Ray Wipf, Dodge City Public Schools, Director of Information Management.

More efficient, effective assessments

The wide-ranging FileMaker solution includes modules that automate many parts of the educational mission. Every teacher uses the district’s FileMaker solution to deliver hundreds of assessments and tests results annually. Test scoring, a key performance indicator for the district, is accomplished down to the granular level of individual test questions through automated calculations and scripts in FileMaker. Student achievement is tracked over five-year periods, and that historical data travels wherever the student goes throughout the district.

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Dodge City Schools now consolidates data from a wide variety of sources. using the FileMaker Platform.

Administrative efficiencies through integrated information

In many solution modules, Wipf consolidates data from a wide variety of sources. For instance, he uploads spreadsheet-based assessment scores and reports from a statewide database that indicate student performance. He brings in student and human resources information from Skyward, the district’s Student Management System. Standard curricula are imported from CDs, converted to PDF format and stored within FileMaker, eliminating the need for teachers to carry bulky binders full of paperwork. Because the FileMaker solution integrates with Google Apps, teachers have easy access to resources such as instructional coaches and sample lesson plans presented as Google Forms through a web portal in FileMaker.

District staff uses the solution to generate and store a wide variety of ongoing information, from administrative forms to professional development applications, as well as delivery and scoring of student achievement and standardized tests. They process multiple electronic forms, including travel and leave requests and personnel requisitions, reducing reliance on paper while improving accuracy and ensuring timely electronic delivery. They also tap into the FileMaker solution for teacher performance reporting, budgeting, payroll and administrator evaluations, as well as teacher schedules.

Staff can readily create student reports for parents, output them to PDF and print and mail them to parents. One obvious benefit of such a powerful and easy-to-use system is improved accountability and compliance district-wide. For example, when auditors check how many student minutes have been logged on a subject, the FileMaker system readily serves up precise information with the stroke of a key or a swipe of the screen. This comprehensive approach to data integration helps the district meet its challenges more effectively and efficiently, while increasing student and teacher engagement on iPad.

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The easy-to-use system has also fostered improved accountability and compliance district-wide.

Sophisticated yet simple solution

The solution was created using FileMaker Pro, FileMaker’s easy to use desktop database software. FileMaker Server software securely hosts FileMaker solutions to be shared by workgroups. The FileMaker Go app lets users run the solutions on iPad and iPhone. And desktop users access the solutions either with FileMaker Pro client software or via their web browsers.

Wipf continues to augment and customize the solution as new needs arise, demonstrating the ease in which non-developers can build and continually maintain and refine custom solutions in FileMaker. “There are so many amazing things you can do in FileMaker without having a degree in programming,” says Wipf. “The best thing about FileMaker is that we can tailor our own solution by listening to everyone’s needs and easily putting them into action with FileMaker and FileMaker Go for iPad.”

For FileMaker:

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

For Client:

Ray Wipf
Executive Director of Information Management
Dodge City Public Schools (Unified School District 443)
620-371-1038
wipf.ray@usd443.org
www.usd443.org