In collaboration with the National High School Center (NHSC), the TXCC adapted the NHSC early warning system for use by Texas grant recipients. The resulting EWDS is a database application that collects data on research-based dropout indicators: academic performance, attendance, and behavior. Students who are identified as potential dropouts are flagged and provided with interventions that are also tracked in the database. To support implementation, the TXCC provides training around the state on using the EWDS, which is available free of charge to Texas schools and districts.
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) and the TXCC conducted a webinar on the Early Warning Data System (EWDS) on November 12, 2013. Two TXCC staff members and one TEA manager participated in the webinar at SEDL headquarters; two additional TEA staff members, with expertise in the studentGPS™ Dashboards, participated from off site.
Seventeen of Texas’ education service centers (ESCs) either joined the webinar or viewed the recorded broadcast. TXCC staff provided access information for the updated EWDS training material, and several ESCs requested the updated materials on flash drives, which were sent within the week to the requestors. The TEA manager emphasized the need for ESCs to facilitate the transition from the EWDS to the studentGPS™ Dashboards to ensure a seamless change for districts and high schools.
The TXCC and TEA are planning for a November webinar in which to share the EWDS and updated resources with education service center (ESC) staff. The TXCC personnel will be demonstrating features of the EWDS, an activity that ESC staff will replicate when meeting with school staff. The TXCC staff will also share updated resources designed for both a short overview session and for a longer, 3–6 hour hands-on session for ESCs to use for presentations. During the webinar, the TEA will be communicating expectations for ESCs in using EWDS. In addition, TEA staff will discuss the upcoming studentGPS™ Dashboards, a similar data tracking component that will align with the new Texas Student Data System.
TXCC staff worked with the program manager of TEA's Division of Federal and State Education Policy and determined that an updated process is needed for ESCs to provide to high schools using the EWDS. A webinar during the fall of 2013 will give ESC staff an update of the EWDS process and materials; it will also include information about the Texas Student Data System to help ESCs begin planning for support of this new data-based early warning system. The EWDS materials and processes will be designed to facilitate multiple formats of presentation by the ESCs. Additional technical support for the various computer systems used by schools across the state will also be provided to allow for successful EWDS implementation.
A representative from the education service center supporting the pilot of the updated Texas Early Warning Data System came to the TXCC offices to receive in-depth training on the process. This training will enable him to introduce the EWDS effectively and answer questions about it for the potential pilot district. The presentation was made in late March, and the TXCC is awaiting a decision about starting the pilot program.
TXCC and TEA staff met and discussed results from the survey sent to the ESCs early in the month. The Early Warning Data System team planned how to communicate about the resources that were currently available to support ESCs in presenting information about the system to districts and schools. They also discussed additional supports that could be designed to help ESCs provide further information about the EWDS. The team identified a potential school district that would pilot the updated version of the system and planned a process to share needed information with the district staff.
TXCC staff met with representatives from TEA to establish a timeline for sharing the updated version of the Texas Early Warning Data System. TEA staff were also interested in what kind of support the education service centers (ESCs) needed as they presented information about the Texas EWDS to districts and schools in their regions. TXCC and TEA jointly designed a survey to be sent to the ESCs to determine the level of support needed.
A monthly planning meeting took place between TXCC and TEA to discuss the implementation of the current version of the EWDS and the plans for rolling out the updated version.
TXCC staff met with staff from TEA to demonstrate the updated version of the EWDS. The meeting focused on identifying a school system willing to pilot the new system and work together with an education service center to provide the TXCC with feedback on the benefits and challenges of the system.
TXCC staff continued to work on an update of the Texas Early Warning Data System that would provide school districts with the means to review summary data across the school district. Currently, the system is a stand-alone database within a school and includes specific student data to help school staff develop interventions targeted to groups of students with similar needs. The new system will not include information about individual students but will help a district make decisions about the kind of support schools will need to help students in need of assistance before they drop out.