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Waterloo Community Schools´s agreement

Waterloo Board of Education hires research firm for data analysis

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Administrators will get help in analyzing student and program data as Waterloo Community Schools increasingly relies on the information to make educational decisions.

The Board of Education Monday approved paying Hanover Research, which is based in Washington D.C., $32,500 annually for services during the next two years. The agreement can be canceled after a year if the district chooses.

"We were really looking for some assistance in data analysis," said Jane Lindaman, associate superintendent for educational services. She led the district´s effort as executive director of research, testing and evaluation before being promoted to her current position in 2010. Since then, the position has not been filled in an effort to conserve resources, saving about $150,000 per year.

The contract will assist district administrators in three areas: Evaluation of programs to see if they are effective and should continue, benchmarking against student achievement in other urban districts to check if there are needed instructional improvements, and accessing Hanover´s best practices data to determine how to boost lagging academic areas.

Lindaman said data requests are placed in a queue and are analyzed in three to eight weeks, depending on which service is sought. She and Norris gave examples of examining the effectiveness of the Title I program or the new mathematics curriculum as potential reviews Hanover could do for the district.

A resolution authorizing interfund loans from the general fund to the capital projects fund for up to $6.5 million, to the physical plant and equipment fund for up to $1.5 million, and to the food service fund for up to $1.2 million. The transfers are taking place due to the timing of building projects and the receipt of property tax revenues and government school lunch reimbursements. They must be repaid before Oct. 1, 2014.

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