OTC Check-ins: There’s an App for That

Data Tools and Practices

The work of an On-Track Coordinator (OTC) is important and complex. Each of the 60 students they support is unique and deserves individualized attention to stay on-track. So, how do OTCs document and organize all the steps they take to support their students? In speaking with OTCs across the network, we found they often rely on a constellation of secure spreadsheets, dashboards, and district data systems that can create redundancy and require a lot of time and effort to keep organized, but now… there’s an app for that! With RISE’s newly created OTC Check-in App,  OTCs now have one place where they can see all the information they need to support their students. Additionally they can enter notes, action plans, and steps they take and ways in which they collaborate with students, families and other educators as they help their students stay on track.

The app securely integrates the latest information from the student information system, bringing it into OTC hands so they can act on it in time to be the most helpful to their students. The app also allows OTCs to review and reflect on the steps they collectively take to support their students. For example, OTCs can use that information to better determine how different students respond to OTC interventions, which could help with building caseloads or even help determine which interventions work best for each student. 

Why build an app?

One of the challenges that occurs when developing new data tools is the need to not only access and filter information, but also to record new information. The app is a more sustainable and functional evolution of what initially started as a Google Sheet prototype that OTCs used to access and enter information. As an ‘end-to-end’ system, the app provides the user with actionable information and also collects and organizes information in a reliable, secure, and consistent way. 

How do the app’s features support OTCs in their day-to-day roles?

Previously, OTCs had to log in to multiple sites, and then navigate back and forth between a Google Sheet, various RISE dashboards, and PowerSchool. Now all of the necessary data — such as on-track status (grades, attendance, behavior), course data, and check-in history — are available through the app where they also record new check-ins. Additionally, the app leverages features common to modern smartphones and allows OTCs to speak their notes into the app, letting the phone transcribe their words into text.

OTCs frequently meet with groups of students to provide support on a shared experience or common challenge. To minimize the effort needed for record keeping, the app has a “Group Check-in” feature. Instead of logging the meeting for each student individually, the OTC can enter their notes once, then select all the students who participated in the group meeting, thus attaching the record of that check-in to all participating students in one entry.

What happens next?

Currently, RISE-employed OTCs are beginning to use the app to test its functionality before RISE makes it available to all OTCs. The RISE Data Systems Team is also developing a web version to make the app available beyond mobile devices, and will collaborate with OTCs to develop new features, such as alerts and recommendations to better facilitate their workflow.