Texas District Thrives During COVID-19 Using Mesa Cloud
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted daily life across the world, and American public schools are on the front lines. Texas had to introduce remote learning to its more than 5 million public school students, many of whom the Texas Tribune reports “will receive a worse education, some struggling just to get online.” However, the 77,226 students in Texas’s Fort Bend school district have a unique advantage.
“Because we had started working with Mesa Cloud prior to the pandemic, a lot of the transcripts and scheduling errors that we were encountering in Fall 2019 were cleaned up by the time we got to March 2020.” says Carlete Metoyer, Coordinator for Counseling at Fort Bend ISD, Texas. Here’s how Mesa Cloud helped the Fort Bend ISD address its guidance challenges and thrive during the coronavirus pandemic.
Unifying student data across disparate systems
Fort Bend ISD’s school counselors work in teams to support more than 400 students at a time. These counselors had evolved their progress tracking from pen and paper processes to spreadsheets in their SIS, Skyward, as well as Naviance and EduThings. However, these patched-together systems were failing to effectively manage this high volume of student data. Too often the counselors lacked the insight to ensure student graduation progress because the data was too scattered.
Fort Bend Superintendent Charles Dupre and Director of College and Career Readiness Steve Shiels saw Mesa Cloud as a must-have for their district: “Mesa Cloud is another pair of eyes to make sure that a student has fulfilled their graduation requirements.” By fixing errors and automating student progress tracking, Mesa Cloud prevented students from falling through the cracks of high student-to-counselor ratios.
Empowering counselors to focus on students
Fort Bend ISD’s counselors had a critical role to play in preparing students both for remote learning during COVID-19 and for graduation. This meant every hour of counselor time was crucial—and they couldn’t afford to waste hours manually resolving transcript and scheduling errors.
“The pandemic caused a shift we never saw coming. Luckily, our particular school district had invested in online platforms that enabled us to make the shift into online learning quickly,” said Metoyer. Because Mesa Cloud integrated with the district’s existing SIS and other education technology solutions, it was able to automatically identify and clear errors that would have sapped counselors’ time. As Metoyer said, “That enabled our school counselors to focus on the social and emotional aspects of their role. It helps me to be a better school counseling professional.”
Creating a digital safety net for more equitable remote learning
With more than 75,000 students and 90 languages and dialects spoken, Fort Bend ISD is one of the most culturally diverse school districts in the state of Texas. However, with 43% of their student population considered economically disadvantaged, it is vital for the district to have clear insight into every student’s progress toward graduation so no one was left behind.
Mesa Cloud provided real-time reporting into all students’ progress to promote equitable scheduling across Fort Bend ISD. This made it easier to identify students who should be in advanced courses and place them in the classes that matched their potential. “Reporting allows us to have those quality conversations, no matter your background, to help students dream and imagine futures beyond what we currently see.” Metoyer said.