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Three students work on an assignment together on their computers

Data interoperability: How Spring Branch ISD is breaking down barriers

Guest Author: Editor

As a data interoperability pioneer, Spring Branch ISD is implementing a student-facing dashboard to support students in taking ownership of their academic journey to successfully complete trade school, military, or two-year or four-year college. To give students timely access to all the data they need to take control of their plan to succeed after high school, Spring Branch ISD needed a data standard to seamlessly connect data from the tools they are already using so the students have the right information, at the right time

In this audio interview, you will hear from Christina Masick of Spring Branch ISD on the district’s T-2-4 plan, and how data interoperability and the Ed-Fi Data Standard are helping this diverse district better serve their students.

Audio Interview: Christina Masick


Christina Masick: My name is Christina Masick and I’m the Chief Information Officer at Spring Branch ISD, which is located in Houston, Texas. Our district serves around 36,000 students. It’s predominantly Hispanic and low income. However, we have a very broad spectrum of students that we serve from highly affluent to refugees.

In our district, we have a strategic plan of T-2-4, meaning a trade school, military, two-year, four-year college. Our challenge is to get students to and through. And with that being our goal, the way that we get there is through personalization. So we collect a lot of data and it’s challenging for us to make sense of all the data that we collect on paper in systems, on spreadsheets. And to make decisions on that data in a timely manner. Our district has implemented major ERP systems, such as a student information system, a learning management system, and of course we have different enterprise solutions like Google and Microsoft spreadsheets.

Our challenges is getting them all to talk to one another in a simplistic way so that we can serve up that information to those that need it to make decisions. We need a standard way for those systems to talk for a district that really struggles financially. When we see products that talk in a standard way, it’s easier for us to integrate and to serve up that data in a standard way so that adults and students can make decisions on whatever that next step is.

We don’t want to overshare information, but we want to be able to share information and get it into the hands of those that are decision makers. We want to take into consideration HIPAA, FERPA, SIPA, all the rules. And so when we exchange data in a standard way, it ensures that the right folks get information at the right time in the right way. So we have just started down this path. We’re collecting information on paper and spreadsheets in these major systems and we’re doing the best that we can with what we have. We’re really excited when we pull all this information together that we’ll be able to make decisions faster so that we can intervene. We know early intervention works with struggling students. We’ll be able to reach those students, as well as those that we can accelerate and push further. We’re looking forward to that.