Spokane School District’s Chief Academic Officer, Steven Gering, had a mission: Identify and engage with struggling teens early enough to keep them from dropping out of high school.
With nearly 30,000 students, 45 schools and close to 3,500 employees, the task of battling the district’s 33 percent dropout rate called for a solution that could be placed in the hands of every staff member that interacted with students so they could have the power to drive change. Gering knew that data was the key since so many of the early warning signs for learners at risk of not finishing school were often prevalent as early as middle school in the form of grade dips and spotty attendance behaviors. But the challenge was how to get these warning signs out of different databases and in front of teachers in a way that they could make sense of it quickly and act accordingly. Big static reports of numbers that were stale by the time they were produced had already been tried, and even when they were available to teachers, they took too long to sift through.
Using Tableau, Spokane School District was able to develop a solution called the Early Warning System that combined live data from multiple sources and visualized the results as well as made it available for every teacher to see in seconds. The result? A 13 percent decrease in Spokane’s dropout rate over two years.