Case Study: Bloomington Public Schools
The Hub - No Question It Can't Answer
The Bloomington Public Schools District in Bloomington, MN is a leader in harnessing technology to support student learning. We’ve been working with them since 2012, when we helped them move their K-12 site from a proprietary content management system that was expensive, inflexible and not mobile-friendly to a Drupal-powered site that provided more control over the site structure and content. We also added multi-site capabilities for the district’s 17 schools and departments, so they could manage their own content while retaining the broader district branding.
BPS has always been an early adopter of technology for school systems. However, back in 2012, there weren’t any student information systems like we have today; schools were still using paper planners to track homework. So they challenged us: build an online portal for teachers, students and their parents to access school data that was only accessible internally. The goal was to surface the data and make it easily consumable by everyone.
Nothing like this existed at the time, even in the Drupal world. The TEN7 development team wrote custom code (effectively creating original Drupal modules) to accomplish the task. The end result was a separate password-protected web application called “The Hub.” The Hub compiled data from third-party sources such as TIES, hundreds of Google calendars of students and teachers, data from school and district websites, as well as the district’s internal database.
The first release of The Hub was simple: a dashboard showing the students' class schedules and news feeds. However, the secure portal soon became more than a homework planning resource—The Hub has grown into a student, school and district information portal.
- Pathways to Graduation graph, which allow students (and their parents) to track their progress toward their post-secondary goals
- Data Warehouse, which holds lots of student info, such as student testing results, and even health records
- The Hub Digest emails, which give students and parents an overview of the upcoming week in their classes
- Notes, which lets students, parents and teachers notes to any event or activity in the Hub
- Students can add their own calendar events
“We have weekly meetings with TEN7, and they’re very innovative in coming up with creative solutions for the crazy ideas and problems we bring them. We serve 14,000 parents, almost 11,000 students and 1500 staff members—we have a huge backlog of crazy ideas. There’s always more we can give our stakeholders. With off-the-shelf software, you get what you get. But because we can do whatever we want with The Hub, it’s become the solution for lots of gnarly problems in our system. There are always more gnarly problems to solve and The Hub is almost always the answer.”
—Katrina Mezera, Digital Learning & Data Manager
The Hub 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. 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.
TEN7 continues to collaborate with Bloomington Public Schools to add features and refine the user experience.