I’ve had a strong relationship with CoSN and have supported its goals for quite some time. I’m a founding member and chair-elect of CoSN’s Missouri state chapter and was one of the first people in the U.S. to attain certification as a Certified Education Technology Leader. When the Trusted Learning Environment Seal was being developed, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity for Raytown Quality Schools being among the first cohort of TLE districts.
So, when CoSN announced a focus on interoperability, I had no doubt that it was an initiative in which Raytown should be involved. We had already begun our interoperability journey and the collaboration CoSN helped our efforts.
The beginning of our journey took place several years ago. Part of that happened naturally as the district found it cumbersome working with different programs and systems that did not speak a common language. Companies would push back and say, “No, this is not the way we do it.” We didn’t accept that. In the last four, five years we really started putting an emphasis on automating everything we could.
Our start was with rostering students in our textbook system. Prior to automation, teachers would notify the technology department of a new student, or student move, and staff would have to manually enter or update the system. This process could take two to three days and would result in a student in a class without the necessary resources. 
Now, the new student is entered automatically and when a student moves, all their data moves with them on their first day in the new school. This sets up the student, and teacher, for success immediately.
This year, the district reached its goal of automating transportation routing. Now, the transportation system is updated nightly with this new information, the student is routed automatically and assigned a bus stop and number, which is transferred back into the SIS that same night. This automation has saved the transportation department over 1,000 hours per year.
The bonus to all of this work is that it ties directly into our work with CoSN’s Trusted Learning Environment. Interoperability allows us to have a higher level of control over the dissemination and integrity of our data. And, since we are documenting all of our integrations, we also have solid documentation of our data, where it is and who has access to it.
Raytown’s commitment to making its systems interoperable is paying off by giving teachers more time to teach, students and parents the tools they need whenever they need them and for Raytown’s taxpayers, a more efficient school district.
About the author: Melissa Tebbenkamp has served as the director of Instructional Technology for Raytown Quality Schools since 2006.