Lake Oswego schools get new data tool linking stats to geographic points – The Oregonian Newspaper

An online data platform that links information to geographic points will now help guide decisions for the Lake Oswego School District.

Launched in 2012, GuideK12 is a web-based data visualization platform that collects and combines data onto an interactive map. According to Julie Fitzgerald, VP of marketing, the platform can pull together county and district data on programs, grades, demographics, enrollment and test scores. The program can even apply National Weather Service information to see how the community could be affected by the path of a hurricane or tornado, Fitzgerald said.

GuideK12 allows users to see how changes would affect groups of students and includes a public portion that allows community members to search district boundaries and find their assigned schools.

Lake Oswego is the first district in Oregon to adopt the platform, according to GuideK12’s PR contact. GuideK12 announced that the district had purchased the program Jan. 7.

“Ultimately it is about making solid, data-driven decisions with a geographic perspective,” said Lake Oswego’s superintendent Heather Beck in a statement. “(GuideK12) will allow us to look at the ideal location for special programs that meet student’s needs, help us better understand shifts in district demographics, analyze boundary scenarios and make it easier for parents to find information on assigned schools.”

For example, the platform also tracks students who need specific services, such as special education students or English Language Learners, and can show if schools in the area have programs to fit the population.

The program could show where students would move to if boundary lines were redrawn. Although the district has no immediate plans to change school boundaries, spokeswoman Nancy Duin said the program could have helped manage a 2011 decision to close three elementary schools.

“It was a very, very tedious process to make sure we understood where kids were and where they were going to end up,” Duin said. ” (With GuideK12) You can just draw a line and the shifts in data just pop up immediately.”

Beck had used a geographic platform at her previous school district in Colorado and wanted to find a similar program for Lake Oswego, Duin said. The district has started training staff and getting data uploaded into the system, but is not using it extensively yet, Duin said.
–Laura Frazier

503-294-4035; @frazier_laura