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TD&C Meeting Notes, Summer 2003


July 22-23, 2003
Washington, DC

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Introductions
Data Quality Task Force Update
New Publications from Forum
Update on Forum State Online Survey
NCLB Data Progress and PBDMI Site Visits
Updating Forum Technology Publications
Every Student Counts: School and District Report Cards Built
   with XML and SVG

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Developing a Standardized RFP for Decision Support Systems
Update on Hawaii’s Special Task Order
Task Order Reviews
The Forum Booth
Election of New Officers

Monday, February 24, 2003



Introductions



Data Quality Task Force Update

Blair Loudat (OR LEA) reported that her colleagues in Oregon reviewed the first draft of the Data Quality document during Spring 2003. They felt that the right information had been collected, but that it was not in the correct form for the intended audience (school principals, secretaries, and other administrative staff) in terms of user-friendliness. There needed to be a bit less “why” and a bit more “how” to reach these readers. Blair would be leading a round table session for the task force on Tuesday afternoon and giving a presentation at the Summer Data Conference later in the week, at which time she hoped to get additional feedback about the document. She said it was important to note that the document could be a valuable tool for providing professional development to school administrative staff, who would benefit from professional development just as much as instructional staff do. Finally, Blair stressed that the Forum may want to think beyond traditional paper publications with its products. Paper is good, and should not be disregarded, but having web presentations in mind from a project’s inception may lead to additional channels for reaching our audiences.

New Publications from Forum

The demand for new Forum publications has been tremendous. We have done good work. Since publication, Technology in Schools: Suggestions, Tools and Guidelines for Assessing Technology in Elementary and Secondary Education has been downloaded 11,921 times through June 2003, while the Planning Guide for Maintaining School Facilities was downloaded 5,650 times and Weaving a Secure Web Around Education: A Guide to Technology Standards and Security 2,023 times.

What gets outsiders to come to our website?

  1. Networking with other organizations
  2. Search engines
  3. Electronic newsletters with e-links
  4. State resource web pages
  5. Teacher training institutions (e.g., ed schools)

What do we need to do? Let’s follow up to figure out which key words get people to us via the major search engines. Let’s produce a 3-5 sentence description (with URL) of EVERY new publication and send it to all Forum members. They can cut-and-paste it into state and local newsletters and readers and point and click to our new pubs. Let’s consider how we can better reach audiences via #4 and #5 above.

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Update on Forum State Online Survey

Tom Szuba (Support) reported that the Forum “Selected State Agency Online Data Issues Survey” was updated by Forum SEA respondents in June 2003. The purpose of the survey is to examine state education agency (SEA) interest, status, and developmental progress in the areas of online data collection, student information systems, and decision support systems. It is updated on an annual basis. TD&C members expressed their satisfaction with the information being gathered by this survey and want to share the tool/technology with other Forum standing committees if there is interest. They also suggested that basic analysis be conducted on survey results and then shared via the Forum Voice and listserv. TD&C also suggested that it would be good if email addresses for SEA contacts were included on response pages so that users good have easier access to SEA respondents. Finally, an inquiry was made about whether the Navaho Nation could be included as a respondent. All thought it was a fine idea.

NCLB Data Progress and PBDMI Site Visits

Plenary session led by ED staff Hugh Walkup and Pat Sherrill.

Updating Forum Technology Publications

Jerry Malitz (NCES) and Tom Szuba (Support) reminded TD&C that at the Winter 2003 Forum meeting, TD&C requested that we update the four Forum technology publications (Technology @ Your Fingertips, published in 1997 revised in 2001, Safeguarding Your Technology, published in 1998, Technology in Schools, published in 2002, and Weaving A Secure Web Around Education, published in 2003). Jerry and Tom explained that the goal of this revision would be to develop a single, unified web resource based on the four publications. In developing this “master suite,” we would eliminate redundancy and inconsistencies between the documents, establish a unified theme/thread, and update the content to reflect updated technology. In summary, the task will be to identify the chapters/sections/headings (i.e., the content) in each document, crosswalk the chapters/sections/headings, locate and eliminate overlap and redundancy (as well as inconsistencies), synthesize the balance of the content, and update the integrated content to reflect best practice technology. In parallel with these tasks, we will develop a unified glossary and a single technology resource section. TD&C agreed to a plan to begin the first four steps immediately. Step 5 will then occur in two phases—straightforward updates (e.g., search/replace “386” with “Pentium”) can be done without much trouble, however, certain topics may require more research with regard to changing best practices, which may need to be addressed over longer periods of time. TD&C members Tom Purwin and Raymond Yeagley agreed to assist with review aspects associated with the revision. It is hoped that this streamlined revision process will allow for publications to be updated without going through the longer review process associated with new publications. Jerry, Tom, and Andy hope to have a product on the Web to show TD&C by the Winter 2004 meeting.

Every Student Counts: School and District Report Cards Built with XML and SVG

Steve King (Wyoming) gave a PowerPoint® presentation about the potential of SVG (Scaleable Vector Graphics) and XSL (Extensible Stylesheet Language) as a graphics tool for online report card systems. TD&C was quite impressed by the power of the data tool and the quality of the graphics.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Developing a Standardized RFP for Decision Support Systems

Dale Mann (CELT Corporation) announced that the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is working with CELT to develop a common/standard/customizable RFP for building or updating SEA decision support systems. They hope to establish a consortium of states to design and procure a comprehensive model for state data systems. States participating in the RFP would eventually receive a plan/design/performance specification for its data system.

Update on Hawaii’s Special Task Order

Tom Saka (HI) shared a presentation titled “Developing Enterprise Architecture,” the core of which was funded by a Cooperative System Task Order. Tom emphasized that the development of data architecture (see the CCSSO/CELT initiative above) should be based on findings from two previous steps: (1) identifying the organization’s purpose and (2) identifying an organization’s processes. The data architecture then supports those tasks (as does subsequent IT architecture). Tom announced that he would also be giving a presentation on the Hawaii experience at the Summer Data Conference.

Task Order Reviews

Blair Loudat and Tom Ogle agreed to participate on behalf of TD&C during NCES/Forum task order reviews.

The Forum Booth

The Forum booth has not been used as often as anticipated (i.e., records show nine times in three years). The booth is starting to look worn and many of the panels are now out-of-date, not to mention that panels have not been developed for recent publications—all of which raises the issue of whether funds should be spent to update the booth.

TD&C members suggested that each Forum member be asked to list three (3) state/local conferences (and dates) at which they would be willing to display the Forum booth if it were mailed to them. A master list could then be developed for use throughout the course of the year. Members would simply get a reminder email that the booth was coming unless they canceled delivery. By these means, it is hoped that the booth would be used more frequently and that the Forum be publicized more effectively. If the list of state/local conference list develops as hoped, TD&C would recommend that funds be spent on updating the booth. If Forum members are not receptive to this effort, no more money should be spent on the booth (and it will be shelved).

TD&C also suggested that a “conference package” be developed to help with dissemination efforts (assuming that Forum members agree to use the booth at conferences). This package would include Forum brochures, a desk copy of all recent publications, mailer postcards to order pubs (e.g., pre-set so that the receiver need only add a name and mailing address and drop it in a mailbox), and a Forum mini-CD. The Forum mini-CD could have the entire Forum website on it with links to the live site. It could also have PDFs of our pubs and our PPT. Steve Lanphear (WI) showed CDs developed by the University of Wisconsin. They cost $1.50 per unit (and about $5000 to develop, but the Forum artwork is already available from the brochure!). Everyone loved the concept. We need to follow up on it.

Also, SEA reps should try to get their agency website to link to the Forum.

Election of New Officers

Tom Purwin (Jersey City Public Schools, NJ) was elected chairperson of TD&C for the 2003-2004 term and Madalyn Quinlan (MT Office of Public Instruction) was elected Vice-Chair.

 Meeting Notes

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Publications of the National Forum on Education Statistics do not undergo the formal review required for products of the National Center for Education Statistics. The information and opinions published here are the product of the National Forum on Education Statistics and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the U.S. Department of Education or the National Center for Education Statistics.


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