Bloomington Public Schools: How We Created a Centralized Hub for Student Information

The Challenge

The Bloomington Public School District in Bloomington, MN is a leader in using technology to support student learning. In 2012, they were looking for an alternative to their previous website vendor, a proprietary system that was expensive, inflexible and mobile-unfriendly. They also wanted more control over the site structure and content. TEN7's first project for Bloomington was a new K-12 site, built using open source software, with content migrated from their old system.

In addition, they wanted an application that would allow students and their parents to plan their weekly assignments. The District's tentative name for the project was Family Planner. However, after much thought and discussion, it was renamed The Hub, a portal for teacher, students and their parents to track homework plans in lieu of a paper planner.

The Solution

We developed a password-protected site, separate from their public K-12 site, that compiles data from a number of third-party sources such as Infinite Campus, a student information system (SIS), hundreds of Google Calendars, as well as the District’s internal SQL database.   

Although the framework is Drupal, many of the required modules were simply not available. As the data was very bespoke, the TEN7 development team eventually wrote custom code to build it, effectively creating original modules.

With input from Bloomington’s User Experience Designer, we created a dashboard for each student with grades, attendance and standardized test scores. The secure portal soon became more than a homework planning resource – it grew into a student information portal that incorporates all the information needed to plan a student’s academic journey.

Bloomington PS HUB

The Result

The Hub is in its fourth year and is considered an indispensable tool by parents, students and staff. On any given day, thousands of students (up to 50% of the student body) use The Hub. TEN7 continues to refine the user experience and add improved features, such as the addition of personalized growth plans, testing benchmarks, teacher lesson plans and more.

Other school districts have reviewed and admired the functionality of the portal. Bloomington Public Schools presented The Hub at the 2015 Google in Education Conference in Mankato, MN, and other school districts inquired about having the same system implemented for their district!

Madeleine Lowry

Technical Project Manager
 
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Madeleine Lowry

Madeleine is our queen multitasker and copious list maker. Clients love that she intuitively senses their urgency and needs while minding their budgets; developers dig that she keeps them challenged but not overloaded. She’s a particularly gentle PM with a calming presence. Madeleine uses her business background to contribute to big-picture marketing and strategy for clients as well as the home team. She founded Southwest Coder Dojo, where teens learn programming, but she believes that kind of work should be left to the real code wizards. Madeleine has often reinvented herself professionally, but her love of food and polka dots stays constant.