As the director of technology resources and data development for the Delaware Department of Education, Bush spends a great deal of time fostering collaborative communications within Delaware and across the country with other district and state technology leaders. “I believe that through collaborative, parallel and standardized development efforts we can deliver technology solutions faster and in a more consistent, meaningful way that is both cost effective and sustainable,” he says. Striving to meet the needs of educators and improve the quality of instruction for students, Bush advocates clear communications, enterprise architecture and performance data solutions. This approach prioritizes the effective use of educational technology, which is strongly evident in Delaware’s Education Insight Dashboard.
Implemented in 2012, the Education Insight Dashboard aggregates data from many existing sources to provide one presentation delivery system for student, class, school and district performance management. It is a powerful tool for administrators and educators to improve instruction based on data-driven decisions and support meaningful discussions during professional learning communities (PLCs) and parent conferences. The dashboard is provided free of charge to all Delaware public school districts and charter schools. It services over 6,700 users and provides performance information for more than 130,000 students. Beyond the important benefits of presenting standardized metrics and progress for the educational success of students, this project also puts solid management fundamentals into place that enable schools, districts and states to work together to leverage their individual resources. “This approach translates into making larger-scale improvements in our educational information system with more accuracy, speed, better data and lower costs,” says Bush.
The Education Insight Dashboard project is built on the foundation of Delaware’s robust data systems. Ongoing implementation requires baseline data element definitions, models and metric standards to function in a consistent, meaningful and efficient way. The implementation of the Education Insight Dashboard has been strongly supported by the Delaware Department of Education’s participation in the Education Fidelity (Ed-Fi) Alliance, of which Delaware is a founding member. The organization helps to set shared educational data standards for performance dashboard design, development and implementation. It enables deployment of quality solutions in a shared, reusable technical and operational knowledge space. Bush elaborates, “Our use of this standard platform speeds development; leverages the work of other states; and allows Delaware to ‘pay it forward’ with our own enhancements, metrics and customizations. These can then be used by other states and districts in the alliance to improve the quality of their data systems and dashboards and better service their schools and communities.”
Bush strives to create a supportive ecosystem in information system initiatives by keeping stakeholders and focus groups at the forefront of requirements definition, as well as building strong enterprise architecture, governance infrastructure and data quality practices. He says, “The work we do as information system professionals is best when it is collaborative, consistent, aligned and structured in nature.”