Blackboard hosted K-20 leaders from education, government and business at the July “Pipeline Matters Council” to collaboratively address leaks in the education pipeline.The meeting represented the first major effort within the Blackboard Institute, a new endeavor for us that seeks to help education leaders improve student progression with actionable guidance drawn from Blackboard’s proximity to education practice.

At the meeting, a lot of people shared technology-based solutions like dual enrollment, early warning systems and electronic student portfolios happening in their school, system or state.Here, attendee Bill Erlendson, assistant superintendent for accountability and community development, San Jose Unified Schools District (SJUSD) in California, offers some insight into how SJUSD is using data in real-time to guide practice at all levels. This is the first of many insights into education problems and the real practice of addressing them in a multitude of different environments to come from the Blackboard Institute. 

Gordon Freedman,
Blackboard Institute 

Attending the
Blackboard Institute K20 Council

The Blackboard Institute’s K20 Council provided an excellent opportunity to share
innovation and establish priorities for workable solutions at all levels of
education.  For those of you who were
unable to attend the Institute, here is an overview of one of the initiatives
we are implementing in San Jose Unified School District, California that I
presented.  This initiative uses our
robust student data and information system to create predictive tools that
support early prevention for students at risk of failure.

Innovation in
Prevention:  Creating a Student Risk
Assessment & Management Project (RAMP)- A Predictive Model.

The student drop out rate is continuing to increase at alarming rates in California
and nationally.  Given the limited
resources to address a wide range of student issues and needs, it is imperative
for school districts to use data strategically to intervene early and
effectively. Current interventions are designed without adequate monitoring and
evaluation and are often reactively applied.

The goal of the Student Risk Assessment & Management Project (RAMP) is to
create a demonstration model using longitudinal student data systems for
state-wide/national dissemination and use.
The objective is to raise student graduation rates and significantly
reduce dropouts.  The project is designed
to provide tools for earlier and more accurate identification of students at risk
of school failure and timely delivery of interventions at critical stages of
student learning.

In combination with the most extensive grade K-12 student longitudinal data
warehouse in California, San Jose Unified is well positioned to develop a
demonstration drop out prevention model that will serve to inform districts
state-wide and nationally.  Data driven
indicators are being developed that will enable alignment of prescriptive and
targeted interventions to increase student graduation rates and significantly
reduce dropouts.

The RAMP Project is intended to provide for earlier and more accurate
identification of students at-risk of school failure and increased capacity for
the delivery of evidence-based interventions that may be proactively monitored
for effectiveness and impact. There are numerous anticipated benefits to be
realized from the project.

This project is both innovative and far-reaching, with significant implications for
all public school systems. Our research has failed to identify other school
districts with such an advanced and scientific approach to at-risk student
identification within an evaluative framework that also provides the capacity
for monitoring the impact of academic, social and systemic interventions. As
the RAMP project becomes fully realized, we anticipate multiple benefits,
including increased student achievement, reduced school failure (dropouts),
more efficient school district operations, and the sharing and dissemination of
a unique and innovative model with other school districts statewide and

If you’re interested in more information on this or other things that were shared at the Council,
please feel free to contact me at

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