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School Department creates new data processing post

Date: 9/11/2012

By Chris Maza

EAST LONGMEADOW — East Longmeadow Public Schools hope to soon implement a plan they have been budgeting for to streamline its educational data processing.

Superintendent Gordon Smith told Reminder Publications that he hopes to post an opening for an educational data and information specialist in the next few weeks, a move that he says will increase the efficiency of the reporting of important data regarding the district.

"The responsibility of reporting information to the state has gotten more and more involved," he said. "One of the biggest things schools face these days is state reporting, specifically through SIMS [Student Information Management System] and EPIMS [Education Personnel Management System]."

Smith explained as an example that SIMS reporting includes enrollment numbers, schedules, courses offered, graduations, transfers and drop-outs and that data is ultimately translated into state aid.

"All of this information has to be coordinated. It is very comprehensive and very complex and it's becoming increasingly important," he said.

Data collected through other testing and assessments is also used for professional development and the educational data and the information specialist would also be charged with translating the data received into a usable format.

"All of the student achievement data we accumulate needs to be brought into our database and taken out in a user-friendly way," Smith said.

Currently, the responsibility of data reporting is spread out among different staff members within the School Department, Smith said.

"What we're doing with state reporting right now is offering a stipend to people who are doing it after hours and we're finding that to be less and less efficient," he said.

Smith added that he was interested in seeing the kinds of candidates the posting would bring out.

"It's going to be an interesting process. This is a position that will require technical skills, but also requires the ability to present data," he said. "[Hampden-Wilbraham Regional School District] recently had a similar position open up and most of the candidates were from business backgrounds."

Smith did not specify a salary range for the position, stating only that they would offer a "competitive salary."

"We don't have an IT [Information Technology] department, so we have been trying to establish what would be comparable to other IT personnel in town and also with other districts that have similar positions," he said.