Educational Service Agencies Team with Certica Solutions to Certify District Data

Two New York State Regional Information Centers Offer Data Certification Service to Member Districts

WAKEFIELD, Mass., June 1, 2009 – Certica Solutions today announced that Lower Hudson Regional Information Center and Suffolk Regional Information Center/Eastern Suffolk BOCES, two of the twelve Regional Information Centers (RICs) that provide technology services to New York State school districts, have partnered with Certica Solutions to help their member districts improve the accuracy and completeness of data reported to the New York State Education Department (NYSED). The partnership has focused on a hosted service offering based on Certica’s K-12 data certification software, called Certify™, which enables school districts to review and address data issues well before state data submission deadlines.

Until the RIC’s introduction of the data certification service, there have been limited means for New York State districts to automate data quality improvement processes in a way that reduces the time, cost and resources associated with researching and resolving incomplete and inaccurate data. Lower Hudson RIC and Suffolk RIC/Eastern Suffolk BOCES sought a solution for their member districts that would help them resolve data and state compliance issues in a fast, efficient manner, prior to submitting data to Level 0, NYSED’s district data validation system.

Certify runs a nightly certification against a district’s critical databases (e.g., student management and special education systems), typically comprising hundreds of data rules. The initial focus of the RIC data certification service has been to certify data against the requirements for Level 0 and for the NYSED special education data “snapshot.” On a daily basis, district and school personnel review Certify’s online data certification scorecards, providing details on data issues requiring resolution and prescriptions to assist users with the resolution process. As such, districts no longer need to constantly extract data from their student and special education systems, just to test its quality against Level 0 requirements, which can be a cumbersome and time-consuming process; but upload data to Level 0 only when making a submission to the NYSED data warehouse. The service allows districts to certify data in their student and special education systems directly.

Said Mark Rankovic, Certica Solutions’ president and chief executive officer, “we appreciate the opportunity to be involved in this collaborative partnership with these RICs. Clearly these two organizations understand that much is at stake in terms of school districts’ ability to provide NYSED with complete, accurate and timely information. Funding, compliance and accountability are all tied to a district’s data submissions, so it is essential that districts have an automated, pro-active mechanism to address data issues expediently. We’re also excited by the prospect of additional RICs providing the same service to their member districts.”

Lower Hudson RIC, which provides services to 62 school districts in Westchester, Putnam, and Rockland Counties, first evaluated Certify in July 2008 with pilot projects in two districts, New Rochelle School District and Nanuet Union Free School District. The pilot projects helped to solidify the partnership between Lower Hudson RIC and Certica Solutions, and spurred Lower Hudson RIC to offer the data certification service to all its member districts. In early 2009, Lower Hudson RIC secured commitments from six additional districts, representing one-fourth of the student population served by the RIC.

Said Joe Fitzgerald, Lower Hudson RIC’s systems integration manager, “like districts all across the nation, New York State districts are challenged by the time and resource commitments required to sustain a high level of data quality. With the Certify data certification service, school and district personnel will now correct data well before they are required to send their data to the state.”

Suffolk RIC/Eastern Suffolk BOCES, which provides services to 69 districts in Suffolk County, began its evaluation of Certify in late 2008, and in March 2009 began the roll-out of Certify to an initial group of districts which represent approximately 20% of the student population served by the RIC. Both RICs plan to expand the number of districts using the service in 2009 and beyond.

The RIC data certification service is primarily focused on districts’ student and special education systems, but can be used with other data sources, such as finance and human resources systems, and can compare data across multiple systems. Certica has developed the RIC data certification service in a manner that is applicable across all administrative systems, so that any district can take advantage of the service, regardless of their student system’s underlying database. Initially the RIC data certification service supported districts using SunGard Public Sector’s eSchoolPLUS and Centris Group’s IEP Direct. With additional districts coming onboard, Certica has expanded the service to assist districts using Infinite Campus and the ClearTrack 200 special education system, and is in the process of expanding to Pearson’s PowerSchool and eSchoolData. Certica has plans to include Mindex Technologies’ schooltool, based on discussions with other RICs that may elect to adopt the data certification service in 2009.

>About Certica Solutions, Inc.
Certica Solutions provides compliance and accountability solutions for the K-12 education system. The company’s data certification software, called Certify™, enables education agencies to maximize funding, optimize regulatory reporting, and ensure compliance with education policies and mandates. Founded in 2001, Certica counts among its customers several state departments of education, educational service agencies, and numerous school districts nationwide.

Trademark Information: Certica Solutions, Certify, and the Certica Logo are trademarks of Certica Solutions, Inc.  All other names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.

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Sarah Bassett
Certica Solutions