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Mobile County Alabama Public Schools Selects IBM

Originally published July 13, 2009

IBM recently announced that Mobile County (Alabama) Public Schools has selected IBM analytics technology to more effectively measure student performance, immediately identify students “at risk”, and adjust academic programs in real-time in order to best deliver smarter education services that prepare students with 21st century skills.

Mobile County Public Schools System (MCPSS) is the largest school district in Alabama , with an enrollment of over 63,000 students in 95 schools covering 10 incorporated cities and a population base of over 400,000.  Committed to fulfilling national education standards, MCPSS officials found it difficult to tap into their vast student information stores using their previous reporting system. Information for each academic year was in separate physical databases, rendering simple report generation into a multi-stepped, complex process that ultimately provided limited student performance insights that were often out-of-date or inaccurate.

Customizable dashboards will give them access to up-to-the-minute reports and measures, enabling users to quickly and effectively gauge how well their schools are delivering education programs, and monitor the entire academic lifecycle of each student, including class attendance, grades, and any special educational requirements.  With information in hand, teachers can then tap into the school district’s Teacher Resource for Instructional Planning (TRIP) website, access special lesson plans and individualize instruction according to each student’s needs, while still protecting confidentiality.

MCPSS executives are particularly focused on tracking students who are at risk of dropping out of school. With the previous student performance management solution, school administrators had to wait for quarterly reports from the central office. The longer it took to get information out to the fields, the greater the risk of students dropping out. With IBM technology, all information will be available locally for immediate insights. A set of notifiers built into the IBM system will proactively alert the proper personnel once a student has crossed specific “At Risk” thresholds, such as absenteeism and grade levels. With this advanced warning system, school officials will be able to focus on preventing or resolving issues before they escalate, helping steer students on the right path and monitoring their progress moving forward.

“Mobile County Public Schools has an important mandate to fulfill – one that plays a critical role in the development of every student in our school system. To ensure that each student learns to high standards, we needed a smart system in place where we could easily access and share real-time student information and identify where we are successful, and where we are not meeting the needs of our students,” said David K. Akridge, executive manager of information technology services at Mobile County Public Schools. “Through invaluable information insights delivered by IBM technology, we move closer to fulfilling our mission of graduating citizens who are prepared with the skills they need for the 21st century.”

This BeyeNETWORK news item contains information from a recent press release by the company mentioned.