In the past five years, collaboratives and districts have had a significant number of mandates that have needed to be implemented in a short amount of time. This includes: RETELL, new evaluation system, District Determined Measures (DDM’s), and now the new physical restraint policy, procedures and reporting requirement. We believe each mandate has an important impact on student learning, but getting up to speed on all these mandates has been challenging.
With the new physical restraint regulations, we needed to find a way to build a system to ensure we are in compliance. This system would need to provide a way for all of our programs to record the needed data to run reports to comply with the mandate for weekly and monthly review of data on the use of physical restraint, and to compile data to send an annual report to DESE. All collaboratives and districts will be required to do this starting on January 1, 2016.
Instead of waiting to see what everyone was going to do, LABBB decided to get ahead of the game. We knew this would have a big impact on our programs and staff, considering we are located in 17 different buildings. This mandate was rolled out very quickly and there was not a program in existence that we could purchase to record this data.
For all you Red Sox fans out there, I am sure you have heard of Carmine. Carmine is a computer program that the Red Sox use to evaluate and pick players. It is a data machine that runs the numbers and statistics of prospective players. The Red Sox organization places a heavy emphasis on this data, and they decided to call the computer program Carmine.
Considering the new physical restraint mandate was approaching quickly, we decided to use the talents of our computer technician and programmer, Kerson Belizaire. He is a very talented programmer, and has built many programs and apps for LABBB that have been very helpful to our staff. In response to this new mandate, Kerson built a new app for recording data on the use of physical restraint, which we decided to call Newton.
Newton will be able to record and produce reports on all incidents in LABBB in compliance with the DESE forms and procedures. Newton will also be compatible with the DESE server so we can transmit data directly to their system. We are also using the highest level of security for all data, similar to banks and other IEP on-line programs.
Our purpose in creating Newton was to try and find a way to make this process as easy as possible for our staff, so they can focus more time on teaching. This is a very important project, and we will be using this data not only for DESE reporting, but also for our own knowledge of student and program progress.
Interestingly, a few districts have heard about Newton, and they have asked for a demonstration of this software. They have been impressed and will also be trialing Newton in their district.
We want to be a collaborative that is an innovative leader, and we believe that technology can be an important part of this evolution. Taking more data in all our learning environments has been an initiative over the past two years, and Newton is going to help us in one very important component of it.
I want to thank Donna Goodell and Kerson for all their hard work on building this program. Kerson was the programmer and Donna was the designer.