ExcelinEd announces winners of school report card design contest

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Instead of building a better mousetrap, the bi-partisan Foundation for Excellence in Education is looking to create a better school report card.

On Tuesday, ExcelinEd announced winners of the My School Information Design Challenge – which honored the most innovative re-imagination of annual report cards.

Washington, D.C., consulting firm Collaborative Communications and digital innovation agency Social Driver are the joint winner of the $15,000 Grand Prize winner. Runner-up, with a prize of $10,000, is digital business and technology consultancy Rennzer.

ExcelinEd asked groups to transform report cards into a user-friendly tool for parents, educators, and administrators.

 “Designers and innovators from around the nation stepped up to the challenge to transform the way accountability information is communicated about our nation’s schools,” said ExcelinEd CEO Patricia Levesque. “Using the power of design, we can help states convey school performance data to parents simply, clearly and effectively.”

A panel of judges representing parents, designers and educators selected the winners. Among the judges were HGTV designer Genevieve Gorder, recent Broad Prize winner and Orange County Florida superintendent Dr. Barbara Jenkins, graphic designer Duncan Swain and global design firm IDEO managing director Sandy Speicher.

Kris Kurtenbach, founder and president of Collaborative Communications and Social Driver founder and CEO Thomas Sanchez said in a statement:

“We find making information about schools accessible is one way of bringing in an important public voice to the conversation about student learning. What we can do today with mobile and digital technologies to engage communities in education would have been unimaginable a few short years ago. We are grateful for the chance to demonstrate our capacities and are eager to do more with states.”

Rennzer founder and CEO Omid Jahanbin said the collaborative use of data to improve learning efficiency, accountability and outcomes are “still at its nascent stage.”

“This Design Challenge was an excellent opportunity for teams like ours to lend rich, concentrated effort out of which true innovation can be born,” Jahanbin added. “We saw this as an opportunity to not only re-sharpen our own skills but bring a fresh perspective to states on how data turns into insight.”

In addition to the overall winners, prizes were awarded to public voting favorites in four categories. More than 1,400 votes were cast over two weeks.

  • Best Summary – HD Web Studio and Melany Stowe
  • Best Comparison – Rennzer
  • Best User Experience – Collaborative Communications & Social Driver
  • Best Trend Data – Collaborative Communications & Social Driver

“So many of these entrants offered ideas that would dramatically improve today’s report cards,” said Andy Rotherham, co-founder and partner at Bellwether Education. “The challenge now is ensuring that this contest is a beginning and not an end to the process of better communicating with parents about educational performance.”

Many of today’s school report cards are inaccessible and confusing for parents and others, according to recent research from ExcelinEd and the Education Commission of the States (ECS).

My School Info Design Challenge attempts to transform school report cards into a modern tool for relevant and easy-to-understand information to parents, policymakers, and the public.

Information about the My School Information Design Challenge: Building a Better School Performance Report Card for Parents and Students is available at www.myschoolinfochallenge.com.

12 09 2014 - My School Info Challenge Winners Announced EMBARGOED

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.