After the end of the 2003 Legislative session, the Wyoming Department of Education
(WDE) had an ambitious task to complete in a short amount of time. In just nine
months the Department had to determine the costs associated with implementing a
statewide education data system based on the Schools Interoperability Framework
(SIF). Study results would be provided to the Joint Education Interim Committee
(JEIC) during their December meeting. HR1 Section
327 "...(ii) The statewide education data system shall provide a statewide capability
to share and access educational information between school districts and the state,
through common labeling and storage of data, both internally for school district
use and externally for state and federal data collections. To the extent possible,
the data system shall use existing databases of districts and the state, and focus
on acquiring the necessary system components to enable uniform, statewide reporting
of educational information..."
A design team consisting of two legislative members, two data experts, two district
technology coordinators, and a district superintendent was created in April 2003.
Riverton was the site of the first design team meeting in May 2003. Focused on outlining
the requirements of the system, the team constructed a Request for Proposal (RFP).
Timelines for vendor questions and presentations, study activities, and reporting
were discussed and set. The RFP was released to the public during July of 2003 with
vendor presentations to follow the next month. The design team selected the proposal
submitted by ESP Solutions Group as the prime contractor with assistance from SchoolNet,
Computer Power Solutions of Illinois and various SIF experts.
Respond to Legislative Directive Wyoming Session Laws, Chapter 131, Section 327(b)(iii))
- To the extent possible, use existing databases of districts and State
all data categories
- Leverage existing infrastructure
- Include resources for training
- Universal Participation
- Schools Interoperability Framework
The ESP Solutions Group approached the study from many directions. They started
by reviewing the data needs of the WDE from the local school districts. They reviewed
the forms WDE uses to collect the data and the data base tables into which the collected
data is stored.
They set up a web survey, completed by all 48 school districts,
that gathered information about the current applications in use in the districts
and the capacity of the district to implement a SIF-based solution. Capacity includes
current application and technical infrastructure, but also includes staff technical
skill levels and policy implementation.
The contractor then compared the data needs
of the WDE and the data capacity of the school districts to the existing set of
SIF data objects in the specification. This analysis documents which data can be
shared via SIF, where WDE needs to encourage SIF to develop object specifications
and where WDE may need to develop custom agents to handle unique Wyoming data needs.
The next step was an implementation design of SIF for Wyoming. The System model
addresses such questions as where the ZIS’s will be located and how they will be
With the System Model in hand and the status of each district defined, the next
step was to analyze the gap between where individual districts were and where they
needed to be. A web-based planning tool was developed to build individual district
implementation plans. Workshops were conducted regionally to train district staff
on the use of this implementation tool.
While districts were creating their individual implementation plans, a system management
plan was being developed. The management plan covers such issues as governance,
policy recommendations, dealing with system changes, and levels of responsibility
for each of the participating organizations.
From the individual district implementation plans, costs were extracted and a summary
system cost estimate was developed. This total system cost is what was shared with