Okemos-based Orange Grove Tuesday announced its first enhancements to its online school performance management platform.

Orange Grove was developed by a team of Michigan educators who believe these most recent enhancements to the system could transform how Michigan schools approach their school improvement activities.

“The latest enhancements to Orange Grove get us much, much closer to supporting a continuous model of school improvement, which is what we’re hearing educators around the state say they need,”  said Andrew Henry, president and founder of Orange Grove. “The features we’ve added are all about empowering schools to focus significantly more resources on ‘doing’ within the ‘Gather, Study, Plan, and Do’ school improvement framework. This is critical change for educators around the state who are desperate to see meaningful, positive change in their student achievement.”

Orange Grove provides educators with an easy way to view their students’ assessment data, including the MEAP, MME and other widely used annual and interim assessments. Once schools have uploaded their data into Orange Grove, the system analyzes the data and create interactive graphs identifying the most crucial areas for improvement.

Orange Grove then provides a guided process for both creating and managing plans aligned with Michigan’s school improvement process.
The new features in this release include tools to assign tasks, build implementation schedules, and add additional student data to monitor ongoing progress toward school improvement goals.

The most recent release also includes:

* An expanded list of supported data sets schools can now include in their analysis and monitoring activities,
* Easier, more intuitive capability to “drill down” on the interactive graphs in order to understand important factors contributing to student performance, and
* Increased capabilities for defining, monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of school improvement efforts and interventions.

Twenty eight Michigan schools have signed up for Orange Grove since it was launched Nov. 1, including Woodward Public School Academy in Detroit.

“Woodward Academy wants to ensure our primary focus is  that all students achieve at high levels,” said David Patterson, chief administrative officer of Woodwarde PSA. “Having a tool that streamlines the school improvement process and creates a one-stop-shop for all of our student data, analysis, and planning and monitoring activities helps us achieve that. 

According to Patterson, his school is excited to be using Orange Grove for two fundamental reasons: “First, Orange Grove is committed to delivering a complete solution for continuous school improvement, which schools really need. Second, the Orange Grove development team has said they won’t build a tool without ongoing input from the education community that is using it, and they meant it. When we were introduced to Orange Grove their team was present and taking notes on our feedback, and they have continued to reach out to us for more feedback ever since. We’re already seeing the results of our input in the solution today.”

Henry said he believes Orange Grove can alleviate many of the challenges facing Michigan schools today. 

“A recurring and important theme in the 2010 National Education Technology Plan is the need to use data to drive continuous improvement in schoolsm” Henry said. “This is precisely why Orange Grove was developed – to give educators an effective and efficient way to manage the gathering, studying and planning and to focus on doing…doing more and doing it better, which will result in powerful change in our schools and student achievement.”

Orange Grove is a completely online system, removing the need for schools to purchase any additional software or computers.  The suggested annual school-site subscription for Orange Grove starts at $5,000. Interested schools are able to request a demonstration or participate in a free 30-day trial by visiting www.orangegroveschools.com.


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