On Wednesday, January 8th the Joint Committee on Finance (JCF) approved the department’s proposed data collection system as mandated and funded in the current state budget.  The JCF decision approves use of the funds in the 2013-15 biennium to begin development and implementation. Additional resources are required in the 2015-17 biennium to complete the project.

What does this mean for Wisconsin School Districts?

There is no immediate action required from districts.

Districts in the process of choosing a SIS no longer have to “wait and see what happens with the State.”  Districts should move forward with their usual purchasing process and select the SIS that best fits each particular district’s  needs.  The State of Wisconsin will not be purchasing a SIS on behalf of districts, nor will a list of prefered SIS vendors be established.

For districts already using a SIS from a vendor, there is no longer a statutory mandate to change to a single vendor platform at the district level.  

Additional information will be sent to districts and SIS vendors.  The following is a brief overview of the proposal that was approved.

What Does the Approved System Do?

Under the plan approved by the legislature, the department will create a multi-vendor, open data collection system that allows school districts, charter schools, and private schools participating in a parental choice program to submit data to the department from the student information system (SIS) vendor of their choice. The system addresses the following goals:

  • Meet all required state and federal reporting mandates.  Only data which are state and federal legislatively mandated and required are to be submitted in the system.
  • Create value at the school and classroom level by presenting data through the district WISEdash data portal to support instructional decision-making.
  • Eliminate duplicate data collection tools and processes work by school district, charter school, private school, and department staff.
  • Partner with SIS vendors on data collection standards making high quality data available more easily and frequently.

The proposed system includes four specific projects each of which are described below.  Various phases of the project are to be completed between now and the beginning of the 2016-17 school year.  As they develop, details of the project work plans and time lines will be posted to a web page and shared with school districts to help them plan for these changes.

1.  Provide Privacy Protection to Users

The system is to include an integrated Access Management System that allows districts flexibility, while maintaining privacy and security in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and Wisconsin statutes. The new system provides the right people with the right access to the right data at the right time, while ensuring that districts and schools maintain local control over granting user rights to secure DPI applications.

2.  Provide Unique ID Numbers for Students and Staff

The system creates a single, secure and consistent statewide identification number assignment system, to be used across both staff and students, that protects and safeguards data. The system consolidates the existing student unique ID generation system and a new staff unique ID generation into one interface resulting in efficiencies in support, training, security, and application maintenance while improving data quality.

3.  Replace Outdated Data Collection Software

The department plans to create a data collection system that is adaptable to changing federal and legislative requirements. Instead of collecting specific data through many different software applications and interfaces, the new system involves districts sending required data to the department with one tool.  This also saves time for districts as it eliminates the need for them to create specific file exports for specific collections. The project calls for partnering with school districts’ existing SIS vendors to automate processes and validate data integrity to ensure accuracy.  This is critical to ensure the legislatively required data uses are of the highest possible quality.

4.  Integrate the New Data Collection Systems with the Department’s Data Warehouse

The department will integrate the new data collection system with WISEdash, the Wisconsin K-12 data warehouse. These changes will impact both the secured version of WISEdash (WISEdash for Districts), accessible only to school district staff, and the public version (WISEdash Public Portal).


For questions about this information, contact Jeffery Post (608) 267-9222