El Paso ISD Seamlessly Adapts to Remote Student Tracking with Mesa Cloud
Even before the pandemic, administrators and counselors had enough on their plate when it came to tracking student progress. Research has cited the most demanding aspects of counselor's jobs as juggling the manual paperwork requirements with daily disruptions. The size of a counselor's caseload compounds these factors and creates an environment ripe for errors.
However, El Paso ISD's over 55,000 students don't have to worry about falling through the cracks or missing out on an academic opportunity due to human error. The district decided to take a deliberate and proactive approach to eliminate the manual processes associated with schedule and transcript errors. A step that ultimately gave the district an advantage in navigating the added pressure from remote learning.
The district's Executive Director of 21st Century Learning and Well-being, Michael Phillips, said: "Mesa Cloud has really helped streamline and made [counselors'] work a lot more efficient and more effective. Counselors now spend less time on scheduling and audit cards and more time supporting students in other ways than just asking, 'Are you in the right classes? Do you have the right grades? Do you have the right number of credits?'"
Mesa Cloud Gives Time Back to Counselors
Cleaning Up Data and Mitigating Transcript Issues
Manual data input processes were threatening to overwhelm school administrators and counselors. "Our counselors always have to deal with transcripts from other places, whether it's other countries because of the nearby military base or from Mexico. So they'll bring those transcripts or have them emailed or faxed over. That means a lot of manual entry for our staff to get that information entered in," Phillips continued.
El Paso had an in-house solution, but as new priorities arose and IT staff got pulled into different directions, the insights and reports quickly became outdated. Phillips said, "we had an in-house program, but with software developed in-house, you have inherent problems because you have one person who holds all of that knowledge. And if that one person leaves or gets pulled in a different direction, it's not maintained like it needs to be. We're in the business of school. We're not in the business of software. So we needed to find a solution that met our needs."
Giving Counselors Actionable Insight
Mesa Cloud's platform fit the district's goal of providing action-ready insight to any of their 450 students so counselors could fix schedule issues quickly while also integrating well with their existing SIS, TEAMS, (later acquired by Frontline).
Beyond the technology itself, El Paso's administrators also had a great working relationship with the Mesa Cloud team. "Another thing we really liked about Mesa Cloud was their team's flexibility and collaboration. I could call or email them and get a response right away," Phillips said. "The expectations of what we needed were clear upfront, and the training has been very good also. The flexibility and willingness to work with us and hear different stakeholders share their needs has been great."
Addressing Inequities in Scheduling
El Paso sits across the Rio Grande from Juarez, Mexico, creating the largest bilingual and binational workforce in the Western Hemisphere and driving incredible diversity in the school district. However, with over a third of their student population dependent on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), it is vital for the district to have clear insights into every students' progress toward graduation, so no one was left behind.
"Mesa Cloud's ability to flag students who belong in advanced placement classes is helping us level the playing field," Phillips said. "We can pull demographics now and see if the percentage in our advanced class matches the percentages in our district. This high level of visibility is really useful to someone in an administration role."
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