In the old, Servoy-based DataCenter Schools and District information had to be entered separately. This increased the amount of data entry required and often lead to inaccuracies in reporting. There was also the problem of Title 1 data, which we expected Participants to provide when the fact was many Participants did not know the Title 1 status of their school.
To avoid these issues, we turned to the TEA's own database of schools and districts. By mapping this data to the TEA's Teacher Master List, we were able to come up with a solution that would make dealing with schoold and districts much easier.
When a Participant is entered using the Master List Method, the school and district information associated with the Participant is automatically added to the Participant's record. Title 1 data is also located and added to the record as well. At the same time, the Participant's recorded school and district are added dynamically to a list of active schools and districts.
Of course, it's not that simple. If no one ever changed schools this system would work perfectly, but that's not the case. Teachers do change schools. Also, TEA does not track or provide data for private schools. So how do we deal with these situations?
If you enter a Participant using the Master List Method and the pre-filled school information in their record is incorrect, you can change schools by selecting the School Name field, which is a dropdown, and then select a different School from the list.
Selecting the new school name from the list will update the other fields in the School/District section of the form.
As mentioned, the dropdown list of active schools is created dynamically. As new Participants are entered, new schools/districts are added to the list. So it is possible that the school you are looking for will not apear in the list, if you haven't entered anyone from that school yet. I know that is a bit confusing, but it is how we can keep the School list limited only to Schools which have participants in the program.
A strategy for dealing with this situation might be to simply complete the rest of the Participant's record and then make a note to update the School information for the Participant in question after you have entered Participants from the missing school.
As mentioned in the introduction, there are two situations in which it will be necessary to actually enter School/District information from scratch.
- TEA doesn't track private schools or teachers so these Participants and Schools will have to be entered from scratch.
- Since there is some delay in collecting the TEA Master List data, a new school which has opened since the last collection period will not be reflected in our current data. This school would also need to be entered from scratch.
To add a School from scratch, you simply need to manaually fill in the School fields to the best of your ability. Doing so will add the new School to the active list, so the next time you enter a Participant from that School, you can just select it from the dropdown list. No need to re-enter everything twice.
If the Participant already has School information list, but needs to have that replaced with information for a school which doesn't appear in the dropdown list, then we need to add a coupe extra steps to the process.
- Select and highlight and name of the School in the name field, then write over it with the new School's name.
- Do the same for the other School fields.
Don't worry, you're not deleting the previous school or removing it from the records of other Participants.
Also, as above, the new school you enter will be available via the dropdown for adding to the record of other Participants.