INsite transitions to new management, new research opportunities

After helping many school corporations manage their data into actionable information, the INsite initiative will transition out of the IU School of Education to nonprofit organization Education Analytics starting in July. 

INsite, which stands for Indiana Student Information to Empower, is a consortium of school districts in partnership with and supported by the School of Education. The consortium addresses a variety of data-related activities that school districts face. These activities are made possible and affordable by utilizing the Ed-Fi data standard, a common language that allows education technology systems to securely exchange data from multiple sources. 

Over the past year, INsite went through a major Ed-Fi version technical upgrade, leading the team to realize the program needed to be housed in an organization with a strong Ed-Fi technical base. While INsite Director Molly Stewart credits the Education Technology Services team within the School of Education for helping INsite get off the ground and grow with their server management and maintenance, she also recognized the need for specific Ed-Fi expertise: “In addition to the effort required for the upgrade, we also uncovered some issues with our web-based dashboard, in terms of long-term, affordable sustainability of that tool. So everything converged on a solution requiring a larger team than what our business model at IU can support,” Stewart added.

This transition will allow INsite to continue to grow and harness information from data that many school districts around the country rely on.

Dean Anastasia Morrone

Finding a home with Education Analytics (EA) was the perfect fit, first due to EA’s nonprofit nature, and second, because it would reunite the team with Rosh Dhanawade, INsite’s original data architect and a former staff member of the School of Education, who moved to EA in 2021 and has stayed involved in INsite as an external contractor since taking that role. According to Stewart, Dhanawade’s history and expertise with the INsite districts’ use cases will allow the team to hit the ground running.

Additionally, the move to EA will provide additional partnership opportunities. “EA has a strong statistics-focused research team, and I’m looking forward to working with them on research questions. We will still be advocating for research partnerships with IU faculty, as one of EA’s current goals is to increase the use of technology-enabled research,” Stewart said. “Having more capacity on the technical side and research side will allow INsite staff and districts to do more with the strong base that we built at IU, and will allow us to be sustainable as a business for years to come.”

“By building on the foundation laid in place by Molly and her team, this transition will allow INsite to continue to grow and harness information from data that many school districts around the country rely on,” said Dean Anastasia Morrone. “This growth will better allow educators to identify and intervene with their students and ultimately improve education for everyone.”

The transition will officially happen at the end of the fiscal year. Anyone from IU with questions about the change can reach out to Dhanawade or Stewart. The team is also continuing to participate in the Interact Incubator led by IU psychology professor Ben Motz and colleagues, as they all work together toward a common goal of more efficient and secure technical infrastructures for research data.