Compass for Success

I am…for the first time in a very long time… excited about a new initiative. This looks to be user friendly and an extremely valuable tool. Thank you for all your time and effort.
J. ( Secondary Principal)

“From a classroom teachers’ perspective, Encompass is a very user-friendly program that gives quick access to a student, or a group of student’s progress in school. the information that can be obtained is up-to-date and quite vast in nature. Having the ability to group students to monitor such things as attendance, etc. is also very helpful. Seeing comments that other teachers have written about students can be helpful to find out what is going on in a student’s life, how they are doing in another class or some helpful teaching strategies that someone else is having success with. Certainly our mantra of ‘putting students first’ can be better accomplished with this program.”
– LP

“Using the strengths information from Kieran, I was able to have a positive conversation with (student name) and use the information from the program to relate to him and he smiled! They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but compass is helping me to develop some new tricks!”
– RW

“I really find that EnCompass allows me to see my students from different perspectives and I have a better idea of what’s going on in their lives outside the four walls of my classroom. It allows me to better understand their actions and reactions in class, and it helps me to plan accordingly.”
– JH

“As a high school teacher, I only get to see my students for 70 minutes a day, EnCompass allows me to get a better understanding of my students outside my very small pocket of time with them. Through the use of this program, I have a better understanding of what is happening in their other classes, but also what is happening in their lives, in the hallways, and at home as well. This information can be invaluable as a teacher, understanding the student from a holistic perspective helps me better address their abilities and needs in my classroom.”
– TH

“I had the opportunity to listen to Robert Dunn as he went over SIP Assessing Learning Needs. The two hours that I was there was definitely not long enough. The planning template is brilliant for it links all the pieces so that there is no need for multiple documents. It is based on goals and articulation of evidence and this should move us from beginning to exemplary. I look forward to sharing the video. Thank you for the motivation. keep the main thing the main thing!”
– Aileen Yakiwchuk, Secondary Principal – Red Lake District High School on the Planning Workshop

“Preparing the data for the recent PA Day was much less time consuming this year using the Class Profile function in Cognos/ReportNet.”
– Rifka Eisenstat, Elementary Principal, YRDSB on Data Warehouse

“This was phenomenal! Very thought-provoking and helpful in BIP and SIP process.”
– Superintendent of Education on School Planning Workshop

Harnessing the cloud to drive student success: Educational policy is most effective when decisions are based on data

by Austen Gilliland

Organizations around the world are turning to the cloud for secure, convenient ways to store and share information. In fact, in a recent survey of cloud users, about two-thirds of respondents reported that using the cloud reduced IT costs, freed up IT staff for more strategic tasks, and improved disaster recovery and business agility. Access to reliable cloud services is essential. ORION’s Nebula program responds to this need, providing vetted cloud-based solutions for affordable prices. That’s just what happened when it connected educational organization Compass for Success to cloud services provider Stage2Data.

Compass for Success has a simple goal: “We want to increase graduation rates and engagement for all students in Ontario,” says Diane Findlay, manager of Compass for Success.

But achieving that goal requires some complicated work behind the scenes, including gathering reams of student data—everything from attendance records to test results—and creating a business intelligence system to analyze and present the data in a way that is meaningful to educators.

Compass for Success began as a partnership between nine school boards across Ontario. “We wanted to ensure every department within the organization, from the classroom to the boardroom, is making decisions based on evidence,” says Findlay. Today the organization is helping almost 40 school boards across the province analyze data and improve student outcomes. As interest grew, it became obvious “some school boards did not have the infrastructure, staffing or resources to support the required data warehouse enterprise system,” says Findlay.

So Compass for Success enlisted the help of ORION, which linked them with Stage2Data, a partner in ORION’s Nebula program for cloud services. Stage2Data specializes in providing cloud-based data hosting, backup and disaster-recovery solutions. Now, more than half of the school boards working with Compass for Success do so via the cloud; many of them using ORION’s network to make it fast and simple.

Teachers and administrators can use Compass for Success to produce detailed, interactive reports that illustrate the achievements—and challenges—of a student, school or school board.

“Over the last seven years, we have used Compass for Success to provide teachers with a comprehensive class profile before each school year begins,” says Shelley Hudson, information and innovation services supervisor for Greater Essex County District School Board. “The profiles help teachers identify their students’ strengths and weaknesses right away, which means they can focus their pedagogical efforts appropriately.” For example, a teacher whose class struggles with reading comprehension might choose to incorporate more word problems into their math classes.

Access to clear, consistent student data helps teachers be more effective in the classroom. The cloud provides flexible, affordable access at any time and on any device, and Stage2Data’s backups, archiving and disaster recovery mean the data will never be lost or unavailable.

And the results? Hudson points to increased high school graduation rates—176 “bonus” graduates —saved by their ability to track and appropriately support students.

Of course, academic data is highly sensitive. “We need to ensure that the data is protected, secure and that we comply with privacy considerations,” says Findlay. In response to those needs, Stage2Data “worked closely with Compass for Success to develop a comprehensive data security and disaster recovery strategy,” says Jeffrey Fretz, senior account manager at Stage2Data.

And as Compass for Success continues to grow, they know that this cloud solution will scale. “ORION has the capacity to support our current and growing needs,” says Findlay.

By collaborating with school boards via ORION’s high-speed network and Stage2Data’s cloud services, Compass for Success is achieving its goal of fostering student achievement.