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January 2017 | Epicenter

10 Jan


The Power of Discussion Notes

January 10, 2017 | By |

Epicenter provides not only a means to track and store documents but also a place to house discussion notes on a board, board member, management organization, or a school.  For example, a field representative can use Epicenter to record notes or follow-ups while visiting a school.  The field rep can subscribe to any notes written on their schools and easily find any previous notes written about a school.  Also, if anyone from the authorizing office writes a note on a field rep’s school, that field rep will receive the note via email and can easily follow up.  If a field rep leaves the authorizing organization, all notes will remain in Epicenter’s Notes Section.

Epicenter also provides an efficient way to communicate about submissions.  Users who review and approve submissions can easily communicate to the submitter by selecting the New Topic button found at the bottom of the Notes Section of their review or approval task.  The submitter will automatically receive any notes via email, and the submitter can then follow-up (as long as the submitter has permission to view notes).  This is a timely and efficient way to communicate on a submission. Also, all notes are stored indefinitely for future users to see, so it’s a great way to build a history around each item.

06 Jan


Epicenter Working to Make the New Missouri Charter Public School Commission a Success

January 6, 2017 | By |


The Missouri Charter Public School Commission (MCPSC) is approximately two years old but they are already having a positive impact on education.  Their commissioners were appointed in September 2014 and Robbyn Wahby was hired as the Executive Director in May 2015. They sponsored their first school in October 2015 and that school opened in August.


Before working at the MCPSC, Wahby spent nearly fourteen years in the office of St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay.  In the mayor’s office she worked on education policy, and had a hand in the launch of an exciting charter school effort in that city.  That effort led to a successful policy that currently has over 10,000 students in charters.  Under the leadership of Mayor Slay, St. Louis opened 26 charter schools in almost 10 years and also successfully increased enrollment in public schools by three percent.  The mayor also closed six low performing charters, which demonstrates that the mayor’s plan was not about charter schools, but about promoting quality education.


Missouri opened their first charter school in 1999, and the MCPSC was created add to the state’s charter schools landscape by ensuring that there were enough independent statewide sponsors of charter schools.  The goal of the MCPSC is to make sure that all children in Missouri have access to high-performing public schools, whether that be a traditional public school or a charter school.


“We’re really careful about setting numbers—our goal is quality,” said Wahby.  “Ultimately our goal is to sponsor high-performing schools so everyone has access to a good school, especially in our two urban areas of St. Louis and Kansas City.”


The MCPSC also strives to disseminate best educational practices.  They want to make sure that whoever is involved in education–whether it be teachers, parents, or principals–knows what charter schools are about and knows that positive events are happening in charter schools that can be replicated elsewhere.


And Epicenter has been a tremendous help to the MCPSC team.


“Epicenter has been a terrific addition to our operations,” said Wahby.  “We want to share quality and that quality is seen throughout our accountability work.  We are public schools and the public has a right to information that is as transparent as possible.  Epicenter allows us to take all contracts, data, and information from the schools and simply and easily give that data to the public so they can determine whether we are doing our job and whether the schools are doing their job–both on the finance side and on the academic side.”


“Also, we need to have the information necessary to make the best decisions and protect the autonomy of our schools.  Epicenter gives us all the tools to accomplish these goals by giving applicants equal access to data and information, and allowing us to process data.”


When MCPSC was established, they wanted to be lean and ensure that resources went directly to the schools.  As a public agency, MCPSC went through the bidding process for a software firm.


“We were familiar with Epicenter, but we also asked others to bid on our technology needs,” Wahby said.  “Epicenter was head and shoulders above the rest.  It was easy to select them.  There are a lot of products out there that gather and aggregate data, but Epicenter had the ability to aggregate the performance data and give that to the public through our website.”


“There is an interest to get data out and to be as transparent as possible.  The key is to give the public data and also perspective on the data.  That is where Epicenter shined, especially in the performance center portion of Epicenter.  The ability to track the academic and financial performance of schools was critically important.  It’s also important for the public and legislature to see the status of our schools.”


“Finally, one of the great things about Epicenter has been that it’s easy to use.  The Epicenter team that offers assistance was phenomenal, and a special kudos to Stephanie for her help!  I would absolutely recommend Epicenter to others and I hope others in Missouri would use Epicenter–we would highly recommend it!”

06 Jan


Did you know?

January 6, 2017 | By |

Did you know that you can now update file submissions as long as they are in Edit Mode? A file uploaded will remain in Edit Mode until the Due Date (compliance submission only) or the Submission Status has changed since it was first uploaded.  Check out this new feature added in our Holiday Release.


06 Jan


JAN 2017: Meet Our Newest Partners!

January 6, 2017 | By |

We would like to welcome the following organizations to Epicenter!

We are excited about these new partnerships and look forward to sharing our passion for improving the quality of education for all children.

Alameda County Office of Education: Charter Schools Office

Alameda County serves East Bay communities in the greater San Francisco – Bay Area. Led by County Superintendent Karen Monroe, the County Office serves communities as diverse as Oakland and Berkeley in the north and Fremont, which borders Silicon Valley to the south. The County Board of Education has authorized seven charters including those serving high need communities in Oakland, an urban Montessori, an urban Waldorf and a Mandarin Dual Immersion school.

Dayton Public Schools

The mission of Dayton Public Schools is to equip their students to achieve success in a global society by implementing an effective and rigorous curriculum. Dayton Public Schools currently sponsors two charter schools in Ohio. Dayton Business Technology High School is a conversion charter school. The Dayton Early College Academy is focused on preparing urban learners to go to college and graduate.