ADE Selects Edupoint® Synergy® for Statewide SIS

Official Press Release

Edupoint Logo

Arizona Department of Education
Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal

Phoenix, AZ, July 17, 2014Synergy SIS

As teachers head back into the classroom to prepare for the upcoming school year, the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) has announced a new tool that will help districts, teachers and ultimately students in classrooms around Arizona. Edupoint Educational Systems, Inc., has been awarded the contract to provide the Statewide Student Information System (SSIS.)

Earlier this year, educators were asked what technological solutions they needed to more effectively educate Arizona’s students and their most critical area of need was an affordable student information system. In an effort to meet this need and help districts both save money and provide resources for teachers, the state has awarded a contract that will provide the latest technology to manage student information at a dramatically reduced price.

Schools will now be able to opt in to this program that will provide extensive student management functions for a cost of less than $10 per student. Currently, more than two-thirds of districts and charter schools annually pay between $18 and $57 per user for education software systems of varying capabilities.

“As part of the department’s continued efforts to reduce bureaucracy in the school system and provide schools with more resources, this will allow districts to redirect millions of dollars of administrative costs back into the classrooms,” stated Superintendent of Public Instructions John Huppenthal. “It is very exciting to be able to offer this valuable technology tool to all districts and charters, regardless of location or budget.”

IT Director Mark Masterson added, “Our department will provide ongoing support to all districts and charter schools that opt-in for the new SSIS, guaranteeing seamless compatibility with future technology.”

ADE is committed to supporting every school and every educator with the resources they need to help students reach their goals. A key component of the Arizona Education Learning Accountability System initiative, the Edupoint-powered SSIS features powerful administrative and reporting capabilities. The SSIS’s function as a school’s portal to other AELAS services will become even more valuable as ADE rolls out additional parent and student dashboards and offers more learning management and collaboration tools for teachers and school administrators. For information about new technology in Arizona’s education system, visit www.azed.gov/AELAS.

Read On Arizona, Read On

readonazsummerRead On Arizona is helping to eliminate the “summer slide” by encouraging Arizona children to read 20 minutes a day for the rest of the summer! To help ensure that Read On Arizona is supporting kids reading all summer long, this public/private partnership is offering all Arizona students, ages three years and older, temporary free access to myON. Children and their parents can access this library of thousands of enhanced digital books on computers, tablets and other devices, wherever they are over the summer.

Books are available online anytime and anywhere a student has access to an Internet connection. Free downloadable apps are available for offline reading through iTunes or Google Play or Kindle Store. The apps allow children to download up to 20 books at a time on a device and read them in an offline setting.

Families and readers will be able to choose from a collection that includes thousands of digital books in a variety of genres and formats. They will be able to read the books independently or activate audio and text highlighting to support their reading. An embedded dictionary provides help with pronunciation and definitions for words they may not know.

myOn Login Instructions

myON logo

  1. Go to www.myon.com and click the “Log In Now” button
  2. Enter the following information:
    • School Name: Read On Arizona, Digital Library (start typing then select from list)
    • Username: read
    • Password: read
  3. Click on submit
  4. Choose a book and start reading!

Cyber Security Awareness Poster Contest

Helping Keep Kids Safe OnlineThe Arizona Department of Education and the “Helping Keep Kids Safe Online” campaign present the Cyber Security Awareness Poster Contest. The contest is open to all Arizona students in public schools, private schools and youth organizations in Kindergarten through 12th grade. Each student is limited to one submission. The deadline for submissions is Friday, November 13th, 2014.

Each poster must feature original student artwork and illustrate the safe use of the internet and/or mobile devices, focusing on one of the following concepts:

Cyber Security Poster Contest Rules

Click here to download the Cyber Awareness Poster Contest entry packet

  • Cyber Security
  • Cyber Bullying
  • Cyber Community (Cyber Ethics)
  • Malicious Code
  • Social Networking
  • Mobile media devices
  • Inappropriate texting

Winners from each grade group (K-5, 6-8, 9-12) will be selected and presented with a framed “Certificate of Accomplishment”. The 13 total winners will be awarded a prize and receive the honor of having their artwork included in the 1st annual Arizona Cyber Security Awareness Calendar. This calendar will be distributed throughout the state and may also be used in campaigns to raise Internet safety awareness among children of all ages. The top 13 pieces of artwork will also be submitted to the national version of this contest, which has its own winner’s calendar.

Cyber Safety calendar page

Click to view national 2014 Cyber Security Calendar

Entry guidelines and forms are included in the Cyber Awareness Poster Contest packet. Please be sure to fill out the school contact name and number on the entry form; this is who the Department will contact if the student is selected as a winner.

For all of you nonstudents, check back in about six months to see the winning artwork!

Connecting to Connect

When I am out and about, I tend to observe how technology is being used by people and organizations. I recently stopped at a fast food restaurant located in an airport terminal in Washington D.C. The many tables in front of the counter were all occupied, but I eventually found a quiet table at the edge of the hustle and bustle that would allow me to enjoy my meal and still be aware of my surroundings. As I began to take in my surroundings, I noticed that I was surrounded by people engaged with technology, but it was the family to my left that captured my attention.

Smithsonian homepage in GermanThe group was actually two families, one from Germany and the other from the United States. While neither family spoke the other language very well, they were busily planning out their vacation stops while on a stopover in the D.C metro area. That in itself was interesting, but what captured my attention so thoroughly was how they were communicating with each other: they had pulled a number of tables together and had several laptops, cell phones and netbooks open, collectively searching the Internet for the best sightseeing options. When one person found an interesting site, they would email the link to one of the others sitting just a few feet away. I soon understood that the group was overcoming communication barriers by using the Internet as a common language; rather than struggling to translate their discoveries into each other’s languages, the families compiled their mutual itinerary using native-language websites and web translation services. For example, the Smithsonian’s website uses Google Translate to convert its website into languages other than English. (Note from IT Blog Editor: 79 other languages, to be exact. I counted.) All this time, the family as a whole was feeding their kids, recalling their trip experiences to date and sharing each other’s company around burgers and laptops connected via Wi-Fi.

Technology has the power to not only change our lives, but enrich them in untold ways. The family group above had been using technology to solve problems and break down barriers for some time. Families and groups of people of all sizes need to embrace technology for the life enhancement that it truly can be. Many would argue that technology can be divisive and provide a distraction. This can happen if we make the conscious choice not to address these issues; however, once we make the choice to embrace technology, understand our relationship to it and decide how to integrate it in our lives, technology becomes a force for unity and focus, not division and distraction.

Companies, like families, can benefit from using technology to break down barriers rather than fortifying existing walls (much as ADE is trying to do with AELAS). Technology is especially adept at helping people break down the communication patterns that inhibit original thinking and disrupting the habits that protect the status quo. With an attitude of ingenuity and determination to connect, organizations can move forward rather than fall behind.

#LeadingData Counted a Success

leading data 14 logoThe Arizona Department of Education Office of Data Governance can count the 2014 Leading Change Data Preconference as a success. Held on June 16 at the beautiful Hilton El Conquistador Resort and Conference Center in Tucson, the one-day supplement to the ADE-sponsored Leading Change Conference focused on educational data literacy and ADE’s ongoing technology initiatives. Approximately 150 educators attended the conference, coming from every corner of Arizona.

Experts from near and far convened to offer Arizona educators a full slate of sessions. Brennan Parton from the nonprofit, nonpartisan Data Quality Campaign started the day off with a keynote speech on the role of high-quality data in making educational decisions. Highlight sessions from the rest of the day included an overview of the future of SAIS and the transition to AzEDS (Arizona Education Data Standards) by ADE CIO Mark Masterson and CTO Ed Jung, a discussion of future AELAS opt-in systems with Jolene Newton and Peter Laing, a presentation on the critical role of data governance in educational settings by Dr. Rebecca Bolnick and Maya Vidhyadharan, and an introduction to ADE’s newest data literacy tool AZ Dash by Dr. Debbie Stirling.

Follow the links in the text above to learn more about the conference and the subjects covered in the sessions. Conference presentations will also be posted to the conference website as they become available.

More Love for Arizona Report Cards

screenshot of Arizona Report Cards on SLDS website

Screenshot from U.S. Department of Education SLDS website featuring the Arizona Report Cards site azreportcards.org

The new Arizona Report Cards website is getting all sorts of well-deserved positive attention these days. The U.S. Department of Education’s State Longitudinal Data Systems Grant Program site now features Arizona’s system as an example for other states to follow. Great job, Arizona SLDS team!

About SLDS

SLDS logoBetter decisions require better information. This principle lies at the heart of the Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) Grant Program. Through grants and a growing range of services and resources, the program has helped propel the successful design, development, implementation, and expansion of K12 and P-20W (early learning through the workforce) longitudinal data systems.

Arizona’s School Grades Get an A+

Cover of Rating States, Grading Schools by ECS

Click on the thumbnail to read “Rating States, Grading Schools” by the Education Commission of the States

The Education Commission of the States has just published “Rating States, Grading Schools”, an evaluation of state school accountability systems.

We are happy to report that Arizona’s new report card tool was lauded for its ease of discovery and navigation. Part of AZ Dash’s public facing dashboards, the site www.azreportcards.org was commended for its clarity and use of graphics.

screenshot of report on azreportcards.org

Study participants fell into three categories: researchers, parents, and experts. The researcher group evaluated each state’s report card system on the following factors: ease or difficulty of finding the report cards through a web search; how readable the reports cards were once found; how understandable the information was; and whether or not graphics conveyed information well. Of the eight state’s with above-average ratings, Arizona was one of only three states considered to have superior report card presentations.

AZED IT Goes Blogging

welcome matWelcome to the the AZED IT Blog! The Arizona Department of Education’s Information Technology Division looks forward to providing news, information, and discussions about the intersection of education and technology. We will use this platform to publish updates on the agency’s education technology initiatives and how they affect Arizona’s education community. Guest bloggers and regular contributors promise to engage and educate readers on a variety of subjects, covering everything from privacy law to systems architecture. We invite readers to join the discussion by adding their comments and sharing posts with colleagues and friends. Again, welcome and be sure to visit again soon!