Case Study: Bloomington Public Schools: How We Created a Centralized Hub for Student Information
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.
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.
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!