BY JIM HERRIN
How do you know whether the money you spend on education is actually showing results?
The Putnam County School System is looking to answer that question with the use of a program from a company called Glimpse K12 that analyzes school spending in the context of student outcomes.
"It's a data dashboard that we can look at to see if we're getting a return on investment," said Director of Schools Jerry Boyd. "Are we investing our money wisely? Is it actually improving student achievement?"
Glimpse K12 representatives say their Education Return on Investment (eROI) platform will provide insight into how well the county is aligning resources with students’ needs and how investments made in the classroom are yielding actual student results.
"We have a lot of data we’re trying to track from all of the various academic resources that exists in disparate programs across 20 schools,” said Boyd. “We want to be able to highlight, based on hard data, which programs are working well for our students and teachers, and which need to be eliminated."
"We're uploading all of the programs and what they cost and how many students use them, and then what are the outcomes of that use?" he said. "When we meet with principals, especially during budget time, and it says we're paying for this (program) but it's not being used, (the principals) might want to think about using something else. Or we're using the heck out of it, and it doesn't seem to be doing any good, why don't we look at something different?"
He said the goal is "to be more visible and as responsible as possible with our limited funds."
"Funds are always going to be limited, so it’s critical for us to focus on and invest only in the programs that have the highest academic impact for our students," he said. "We researched other solutions that provided data dashboards, but none connected the financial data to the academic student outcomes (like) Glimpse K12."
“Putnam County is committed to using real data and not relying on intuition to determine which resources work best for their students,” said Nicole Pezent, co-founder and CEO of Glimpse K12. “Glimpse’s platform will be able to help Putnam County invest in resources wisely by connecting its spending with actual student outcomes across schools and even drill down to individual classrooms."
She said Glimpse K12 not only helps schools uncover ineffective spending, but also underutilized resources that would have a measurable impact on student achievement if they were used more widely.