Thanks to Doug “Blue Skunk” Johnson for celebrating a position that is sorely needed in school districts–Systems Integrations Specialist or Systems Interface Specialist. Doug highlights the need in his ASCD Educational Leadership article, Navigating the Seas of Change:
This part in particular jumped out at me:
The job of our Student Information System Manager, however, was becoming more difficult because of increasing needs for intersystem operability—the ability to enter data into one system and then export them to another system without losing or corrupting that data.
What that district needed, and I suspect many districts now need, was someone with a title like Systems Interface Specialist. Positions focused on helping systems interface together are appearing in schools.
The recent job description for a Systems Interface Specialist from the Texas East Central Independent School District near San Antonio reflects some of the skills that data management personnel in schools currently need.
And, I’m grateful to Doug for mentioning the following:
The Texas district launched this position to help organize its various data systems and enable all systems to work together so that the many members of the school community could efficiently access, analyze, and use the pieces of school-related data they needed.
As Miguel Guhlin, technology director for the district, reflected,
One fact is incontrovertible: School districts need access to a bewildering array of just-in-time data collection, analysis, and aggregation and disaggregation tools that intersect along a multitude of points (such as student demographics, teacher quality, end-of-course [data]). Worse, it’s not enough to just house the data from your student information system and be able to query it. You also have to be able to generate a variety of data files.2
He was also kind enough to cite 2 blog entries from Around the Corner. The relevant one is Data-driven districts experience growing pains.
How has your district/school dealt with this need?