Uplift Education supports teachers with easy access to data

Uplift Education is a non-profit charter school network in North Texas, with a goal to prepare their students for the future. Data plays a key role in this goal, helping faculty identify opportunities for improvement on campuses. Before Tableau, teachers accessed data from a student information system. It was difficult to drill down into data and making changes to visualizations required a vendor. Uplift Education sought out a more flexible solution where faculty could take control of their data.

The Uplift Education system has 34 schools on 17 campuses, with just over 14,000 students. In this vast network of campuses, collaboration is key to student success.

Tableau Server serves as a front-end platform for teachers, principals, and leadership to interact with data from the Uplift Education data warehouse and Excel spreadsheets. Dashboards present unified profiles of students and teachers, displaying data about tests, grades, attendance, compliance, and more.

With all of this data at their fingertips, teachers can understand how to meet the needs of their students, and adapt as needed. With Tableau, Uplift Education can be proactive in their mission to “empower students to reach their highest potential.”

Furthering a mission with data

Tableau: Can you tell us a little bit about Uplift Education?
Thomas Hay, Director of Data Strategy: We're a network of 34 schools on 17 campuses with just over 14,000 students. And many of our students will be the first in their families to attend college.

Our goal is to really prepare students to get to and through college and to be able to contribute to their community and do great things.

Tableau: How is Tableau making an impact at Uplift Education?
Thomas: Tableau is helping us further our mission at Uplift Education by serving as really the front-end platform for our teachers, principals, and leadership to really interact with the vast sources of data that we have from many different data warehouses, Excel spreadsheets.

So Tableau helps us in the furthering of our mission by providing an interactive platform that we can aggregate the vast variety of data sources that we have into a central location.

31 of our schools are Title One schools, so that means that they have a high number of students from low-income families. So they can understand how students are progressing through the Uplift curriculum, where there might be opportunities for reteach because of potential misunderstanding

Tableau: What kind of dashboards are you viewing in Tableau? How does faculty access the data?
Thomas: So we connect Tableau to our data warehouse and we use Tableau Server and Tableau Desktop to display dashboards that are pulling together a unified profile of a student, unified profiles of teachers, showing information on tests, whether they're local, state, or nationally normed tests to show how students are progressing through our curriculum, to highlight students that may need additional support and help.

We also use it as a way for them to export data. So if they want to pull down data on a particular student or their classroom or their school, they're able to do that using the export features that are part of Tableau.

We are big proponents of using Tableau to allow our teachers to see their data, drill down into it, find some additional insight, and use that to help in their practice.

Tableau: What would you do if you didn't have Tableau?
Thomas: Without Tableau, we wouldn't have a way to show all of these different data sources in one place. And our teachers and principals would have to spend time going to all those different locations to pull that together.

Tableau: Have you gotten a lot of value from Tableau at Uplift Education?
Thomas: We are big proponents of using Tableau to allow our teachers to see their data, drill down into it, find some additional insight, and use that to help in their practice, whether it's lesson planning or designing tutoring blocks or intervention for students, so that they can make the most of their time and the most of the tests and homework, and other data that they are collecting on a daily basis.

Guiding teachers to better outcomes

Tableau: How has Tableau changed day-to-day processes at Uplift Education?
Thomas: Using Tableau and being able to visualize and pull together many different data sources, it's really allowed us to leverage some of the research that has been done in education around the best ways that students learn certain skills—and be able to track those skills over time.

As well as pull together data that we know from research indicates a student might be getting off track from being on grade level or potentially not learning certain material in a way that will set them up for success later on.

Tableau: How has that impacted the teachers?
Thomas: So by pulling that information together and then being able to highlight it, we're able to take statistical modeling that we do or other analysis and make it touchable. Teachers can go and actually interact with it and see it and feel it. In many ways, it makes that research living for them because it's living in the students that they have.

And they're able to track those indicators that may have existed many different places to start all in one location. And tell them that unified story of a student.

Tableau: How is that creating positive changes on campuses?
Thomas: So our ability to really effect change with students has come through sort of a theory on our part that if we're able to drill down learning to discrete elements that we can observe and better understand, we can help guide teachers in their practice so that they're better able to meet the needs of their students.

The insights that we've seen from our dashboards that have, you know, brought a bit of surprise, in a good way, to our eyes is where there might be certain gaps at particular grade levels. And that allows us to use the resources at our central office to stack hands and help campuses where they might need that help, or reach out to them proactively to ask what they might need and work with them to create better learning outcomes for their students.

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