The different types of charters

2/6/2015
 

We launched our beta in mid October.  Since then, we have seen many different types of organizations using our easy-to-use and beautiful performance improvement software - Chartlytics. It has been interesting to watch and fun to help as each type of organization, whether it be an individual or an entire school district, has different workflow needs surrounding their use of the chart. 

In today's blog post, we will examine the workflow needs for the majority of our users.   We will also discuss what we're doing to address their specific needs. The list below represents most of the organization types we have identified above and beyond personal accounts.  We have found that most of our users fall into the following groups.

  1. Small behavioral therapy or tutoring centers - "A Center"
  2. Small, single class schools - "A Classroom"
  3. Multi-class schools - "A School"
  4. A multi-school district - "A School District"
  5. A University class setting to teach the chart - "Academic"
  6. A consulting practice - "A Practice"  (Not to be confused with practicing!)

1. Centers

Centers are generally small organizations with 20 to 30 performers in a special needs/behavior therapy or tutoring setting. They may have more users (tutors or behavioral therapists) than performers. Due to the sometimes medical nature of working with these performers, they need the ability to restrict access to performer information on a per user basis. For example, a speech therapist should only be able to work on charts for the handful of performers they work with and then only for those respective charts.

We're addressing this issue with Performer Level Access Controls. This will allow Organization Supervisors or Owners to assign individual performers to users.  If, as a user, you don't have access to a performer, you won't be able to see any of the data for that performer.  Potentially a user may not see any information for performers when access has not been granted. This capability is being tested right now, and we hope to have it released to the app sometime next week - i.e., Coming Soon™!

2. Classrooms

A Classroom is a single class within a larger school organization where the lead instructor or teacher has introduced Precision Teaching into his or her curriculum. In this setting, the sharing of chart information between the performers is a probability but not a certainty depending on how the class is managed. For instance, in a class wide competition of "who can improve the most on their single digit addition facts", it might be beneficial to make individual progress public. On the flip side, a learners reading performance might be something best kept between the individual performers and the teacher and teaching staff.

We have been working on our Performer specific interface designs for some time now. As we learn more use cases for the Performer Interface, we've incorporated functionality to address those use cases into the design. Performer specific interfaces with limited "social sharing" capabilities will soon be in the works and we hope to release it mid to late second quarter. In the mean time, to allow performers to self chart, we think our Performer Level Access Control capabilities will support the privacy needs of the performers. In fact, we'll be testing this out soon with a local charter school that we have been given the privilege to help with improving computational math facts.

3. Schools

In a school setting we have many teachers, many performers, and many teaching assistants. We also have parents and guardians, administrators, and specialists. All of these users are part of the performers education team - the group of collaborators responsible for the learners ongoing instruction. Each of these users will have different access to data requirements depending on their performer specific roles.  For instance, in 4th grade, you may have one teacher and several teaching assistants that work with all of the kids on certain subjects, but introduce another teacher for a specific subject depending on the level of acumen of each performer. For example, an advanced math class teacher works with a subset of the students in a class. We need an easy way to provide for grouping and assigning different roles to different users within a group context.

We semi-support this currently with our Groups functionality. If you create a Group of Performers, you're able to assign Advisor and Manager roles to the Group. While this is not concrete, Advisors in the group can generally do anything they need to do with the Performers data - like create charts, edit measures, etc, and Managers are restricted to only measuring and recording data for a Performer and can only edit their own information. I say "semi-support" because it might not be the most intuitive way to manage all that. We're working on cleaning that up and hope to make it more intuitive to manage performers within groups.

4. School Districts

School Districts consist of many Schools and have additional stratification and technical requirements. District administrators are in charge of managing curriculums across schools, they generally have district-wide deployments of student informations systems, and have many more teachers, performers, and education team collaborators. In this environment, standardization is critical. We need to eliminate duplication of student information in separate silos of information across many different applications. School Districts require single sign on capabilities to reduce the number of user credentials that need to be managed, a centralized student information repository, and enhanced curriculum management capabilities.

It will be a large undertaking for us to address the many needs of School Districts that want to improve student performance while increasing teacher efficiency by introducing Precision Teaching into their Schools. Fortunately, there are outside services and tools, like http://clever.com that are making it easier for schools (and developers) to integrate heterogeneous software applications into a single student information record while providing important student management functions like grade-level scheduling and enrollment. Once we've perfected the basics of charting we'll move forward on providing advanced integration capabilities into the software to support our expansion into School Districts.

 

5. Academic

We have many users who are teaching subjects where learning how to chart is a great arrow in students quiver's of teaching techniques. In fact, most of our very early users are professors in academic university settings. Academic organizations present a unique challenge to us in that we need to balance the need to remain profitable while facilitating the adoption of the chart in all aspects and settings of human learning. The more teachers and behavioral therapists that are trained to use the chart, the more charters!  As an organization adds users to their account, invariably, the usage of the software and the support requirements increases incrementally. Luckily it's a linear increase and not a geometric increase in computer power and support consultants requirements! But nevertheless, the demands on us increase by each new user we add to the software. In order to support these increasing demands we need to having the funding in place to do so.

For our Academic users we are working on providing per-semester access to the software in blocks of 3 or 10 Performers per user, where the user (i.e, the student) would be responsible for purchasing a "semester license" to the software. This is very similar to other required course materials, like calculators, textbooks, and other services. This way we pass the cost on to the student so we can support them in their chart learning endeavors, while making it easy on the professors and their limited discretionary budgets. We're also going to provide instructional tools like webinars and screencasts. Professors would be the organization owners/supervisors and have access to all the students collected data, but each student would be limited to viewing and working with their own data including pinpoints and performers. 

6. Practice

We consider a Practice to be... well we're not exactly sure yet. But what we do know is that it's a group of therapists or tutors that work with various performers as outside consultants to another organization. For example, we may have a group of tutors, that is recommended by a school district, to help at-risk students learn a particular subject. The parents or guardians of the student are responsible for paying for the costs of the tutor. In this scenario, the tutor, who is a devoted Precision Teacher and Chart evangelist, would like to use their vast program library (coming soon!) and associated pinpoints when working with each student. Currently, they could manually recreate all pinpoints in each performers specific organization account, or, they could pass the costs of the service on to the performer as part of their tutoring package, and add them temporarily to their own organization. We've had several requests for that exact capability. 

To address this user need, we are going to add a "Practice" Organization Type where by the Organization Owner or Supervisor can add Performers that they pay for, or invite, "guest" performers to the system who have their own Chartlytics account. The costs of the "guest" performers account, would be passed on to the performer or their parents/guardians. In this scenario, the tutor, has access to the performer's record in order to provide tutoring service. Tutors can easily use their central library of pinpoints and programs, and the performer gets to keep their data as they move on after tutoring ends. We hope to have this capability early in the second quarter as well, but as things always go when developing software, this is probably optimistic and it may not be until the third quarter  that we have this functionality in the software.

Summary

As you can see, we have a lot of work ahead of us to support the various needs of all our charters. While it may seem overwhelming (at least it did for us at first!), we think we've identified elegant solutions. When we set off to create the ultimate Charter's interface, we knew we'd encounter some of these scenarios, but we're happily surprised at the feedback we're getting from our users on how we can best serve their needs. And in the end, that's what we're all here to do - serve each other. 

Feel free to send us an email if you think we've missed a scenario or disagree with some of our assumptions. Also we're always excited to get the "can it do this" feedback from you all!

Happy Charting and we'll be providing more information about our upcoming Organization Types in future blog posts. Thanks again for your patience with us as we work on improving the software to solve as many of your charting challenges as possible!

Dave & Rick

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