Not many organizations can say they’re a growing technology company that’s also making a difference in people’s lives, driving impact, and moving the needle in the social good sector. I’m very proud to say that Social Solutions is one company that can. Last week, we announced that Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) officially became the first district in the nation to join our initiative to drive greater collaboration between school districts and the nonprofit organizations serving their student populations.
The data-sharing agreement furthers the strategy launched by our partnership with Ballmer Group (the philanthropic arm of former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, and philanthropist Connie Ballmer) and enables K-12 school districts and local nonprofit organizations in Kansas City to collaborate around student outcomes and program insights. By taking a “whole child” approach to enhancing opportunity, the collaboration aims to improve student performance and the trajectory for children wishing to achieve the American Dream.
With this partnership, Social Solutions, Ballmer Group, and KCPS are providing a 360-degree support network for students, giving each an equal opportunity to learn, grow, and improve their academic achievements and outcomes in life.
A LANDMARK AGREEMENT
The partnership with KCPS marks a significant milestone for Social Solutions and Ballmer Group. As the first district to agree to share school information system (SIS) data, KCPS is paving the way for other districts who are excited to implement innovative education solutions enabled by a public-private partnership.
Education services like public schooling, after-school tutoring, and nonprofit youth mentoring often work in silos. When this happens, it’s difficult to provide students with all the support they need to succeed. By connecting data across public, private, and nonprofit agencies, we can have visibility into every aspect of a student’s education and can provide better support and resources for students. When we communicate across sectors, everyone wins.
What does the decision to share data across sectors mean for Social Solutions, Ballmer Group, and KCPS? And on a larger scale, what does it mean for the future of education?
Rather than focusing on traditional but isolated information like test scores to provide insight into a child’s academic progress, Social Solutions’ Apricot 360 platform increases transparency and deepens our understanding of each student. For KCPS and local nonprofits, this means that using Apricot will allow all organizations that serve children to look at a breadth of data. This ability gives each child the highest chance of succeeding in, and beyond, the classroom.
For example, it is well understood that chronic absenteeism has a direct and profound impact on student outcomes. If a high school student has 10 unexcused absences from the last semester, this will negatively affect his or her grades and put him or her at risk of academic probation. However, if the district and the after-school support programs can share information on attendance and generate real-time interventions and support, that data sharing will afford him or her, and those supporting him or her, an added layer of support and resources. Ultimately, this allows the student the maximum opportunity to address issues leading to absenteeism, as early as possible, driving improved attendance, improved grades, and ultimately, better outcomes.
This is just one example of how Apricot 360’s data analytics capabilities will seamlessly integrate into nonprofit programs and Kansas City district curriculums. The ability to receive recommendations allows educators to be more proactive in supporting students, rather than reacting to situations once they’ve already occurred.
KCPS AND SOCIAL SOLUTIONS: TECHNOLOGY FOR GOOD
In August 2018, Social Solutions and Ballmer Group partnered together with a unified vision to drive positive social impact by transforming lives, starting with the lives of young people. As technologists at heart, we connected over our passion to use technology for good and built our mission around one shared belief – if we provide a more comprehensive view of each student, we could both transform lives and revolutionize the education system.
Today, less than a year after beginning our partnership with Ballmer Group, our organizations continue working toward our shared mission, and this data-sharing agreement with KCPS is another monumental step in a positive direction.