CCSD’s Superintendent Is At It Again

Today, Data Insight Partners served the Clark County School District (CCSD) and its Superintendent Jesus Jara with a demand letter to Cease and Desist. 

Trust us, it’s worth a minute of your time to read this and learn what he’s up to now. It gets crazier the more you read!

Here’s a summary:

  1. Data Insight Partners builds the MyEducationData system and invests over $1 million in its development.
  2. MyEducationData is implemented by numerous elementary, middle, and high schools in CCSD over the past three school years.
  3. The Superintendent had data dashboards schools weren’t using.
  4. The Superintendent said he wanted new dashboards.
  5. The Deputy Superintendent said they didn’t have the talent to design quality dashboards.
  6. CCSD central office staff are directed to access and investigate MyEducationData dashboards.
  7. CCSD builds “new” dashboards that infringe MyEducationData copyrights but with inferior quality.
  8. CCSD leadership violates Nevada law denying all schools’ requests for MyEducationData and forcing them to use the “new” dashboard infringing on the MyEducationData copyright.

Here’s the kicker, CCSD is spending MORE money to create an inferior copy of MyEducationData and is violating the CCSD reorganization law.

It’s a shame, because we, like many others, had high hopes for this Superintendent. Unfortunately, his actions have continuously indicated our trust and hopes were misplaced.

Ask yourself, what traits do I demand in leaders responsible for supporting the development of the minds and moral character of our children?

As you read, decide for yourself if those are the traits you see in our leaders.

CCSD Took MyEducationData’s Copyrighted Charts

In February of 2019, Superintendent Jara presented his strategic plan to the Board of Trustees. The plan called for the implementation of a new data dashboard system.

The district’s initial attempt was floundering and not engaging schools. Here’s what the Deputy Superintendent said about CCSD developing dashboards:

As I mentioned, quite honestly that we do not have the capacity internally to create it.” – CCSD Deputy Superintendent Diane Gullet

Below is an image of CCSD’s ORIGINAL absenteeism dashboard. Yikes! You can see why the Superintendent said they needed a new system and the Deputy Superintendent didn’t think they had the talent to do it. 

This is where Data Insight Partners comes in. Our data dashboard system, MyEducationData, was in multiple CCSD schools at the time and growing quickly. 

The Data Insight Partners team has over a decade of experience working in education analytics in Nevada and our work has been sought out by national organizations such as:

  • Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO)
  • The George W. Bush Institute
  • Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Chiefs for Change
  • The Strategic Data Project – Harvard University
  • New York Department of Education

Below is the MyEducationData design for displaying absenteeism data. It’s an elegant chart that:

  • Tracks performance by day
  • Provides year over year comparison for context
  • Projects end of year NSPF points (Nevada’s school rating system)
  • Utilizes advanced algorithms to dynamically create plain language explanations of the data
  • Combines with tools to easily identify students and communicate with parents

With the district’s initial attempts at data dashboards floundering, CCSD sent central office staff to schools using MyEducationData to take recordings of our dashboards.  Then, they released their “new” data dashboard system that included the same Chronic Absenteeism chart from MyEducationdata.

CCSD Took MyEducationData’s Copyrighted Charts.

CCSD Took MyEducationData’s Organization

It’s not just the charts they copied. CCSD tried to copy the organization, too!

CCSD’s original system was a disjointed, incoherent experience. Users couldn’t get from one dashboard to another without going through multiple folders with lists of dashboards. 

By contrast, MyEducationData provides access to dashboards with a navigation panel within the application, allowing the user to seamlessly move from one set of dashboards to another.

After CCSD staff inspected MyEducationData, they also took MyEducationData’s organization of dashboards.

Can you see why the Deputy Superintendent didn’t think they had the talent to make dashboards? They didn’t have the talent to come up with new names for the dashboards! They even tried to mimic the look and feel of our logo. That’s insane! That has nothing to do with supporting schools.

CCSD Took MyEducationData’s Organization.

CCSD Took MyEducationData’s Design

After taking charts from MyEducationData, and after taking the organization from MyEducationData, CCSD further took the look and feel of MyEducationData into their dashboards.

Dashboards in MyEducationData have Overview pages that feature data tiles designed to allow drilling into the data. CCSD also took this data tiles concept from MyEducationData.

You may have noticed that the tiles in CCSD’s product look slightly different than the ones in MyEducationData. That’s because those weren’t the tiles MyEducationData used when CCSD sent central office staff out to schools to record our dashboards the first time. 

CCSD’s infringement on our copyright is so blatant that when they first shared their “new” design with principals we were getting principals congratulating us for signing a district contract.

CCSD Took MyEducationData’s Design.

CCSD Couldn’t Take MyEducationData’s Quality

When CCSD first revealed its new data dashboards, it looked so similar to MyEducationData we received congratulatory calls from principals because they thought we had received a district contract.

But, for the principals piloting the new system, we heard a different story.  We heard stories of missing data, incorrect calculations, and slow loading times. This validates the concerns of the Deputy Superintendent when she said, “As I mentioned quite honestly that we do not have the capacity internally to create it.”

CCSD copied the design of MyEducationData, but they couldn’t copy the quality of service.

CCSD is Violating Reorganization Law

The Nevada legislature passed the bipartisan reorganization law believing “When more decision-making is transferred … to the site-based administrators, teachers and other staff and the parents and legal guardians of pupils in each local school precinct, the State’s system of public schools better structured to educate efficiently, effectively and successfully…” [NRS 388G.500]

Data Insight Partners has supported many CCSD schools with the MyEducationData platform for the past three years.  But, in violation of Nevada’s bipartisan reorganization law, CCSD has blocked ALL schools’ requests to purchase MyEducationData in the 2020-2021 school year.

The reorganization law was bipartisan legislation that stripped power away from the Superintendent and gave it to schools and their locally elected School Organizational Teams. 

If CCSD wanted to support schools, they wouldn’t take choices away from schools. 

They would allow schools and their School Organization Teams to continue to purchase the tools and services they find most useful to support their students. They would allow schools to purchase MyEducationData.

CCSD is in violation of reorganization statues.

Who is Responsible?

As the leader of CCSD, Superintendent Jara is responsible both for CCSD infringing on Data Insight Partner’s copyright and for violation of the CCSD reorganization law.

Superintendent Jara recognized MyEducation did it first:

“… there won’t be a need for principals to outsource. I know there’s vendors out there that are doing that.” – Superintendent Jara

By taking away the school’s choice to purchase MyEducationData from Data Insight Partners, CCSD and Superintendent Jara are in direct violation of the reorganization law.

Superintendent Jara is responsible.

Is CCSD Saving Money? No.

CCSD could turn on MyEducationData for every student, teacher, and administrator in the district for significantly less money than they are spending to infringe on our copyrights.

This Isn’t the First Time

Superintendent Jara has shown disdain for the reorganization repeatedly over the past two years.

  1. Last summer a judge had to stop Superintendent Jara from usurping school authority when he attempted to unilaterally fire all deans by video. That too was a violation of the bipartisan reorganization law. Ultimately, the deans were reinstated.
  2. Superintendent Jara was at it again this summer when it was revealed that he initiated a bill to take control of schools’ money that was protected by the reorganization law. When confronted Jara denied responsibility and impotently placed blame elsewhere resulting in the Governor lamenting:
  1. Even now, Superintendent Jara is being hauled into court over the unilateral placement of staff into schools without the schools’ consent, which is a right protected by the reorganization law.

CCSD’s Superintendent Jara has shown a clear, repeated pattern of violation of the reorganization statutes.

Do you believe this shows the leadership needed to support the development of the minds and moral character of our children?

CCSD Can Make A Better Choice for Students

  • CCSD is infringing on Data Insight Partner’s copyright.
  • CCSD is in violation of Nevada’s bipartisan reorganization law.
  • CCSD is forcing an inferior product on schools.
  • CCSD is spending MORE money to get less.
  • CCSD is wasting money and breaking the law to grab power from schools.

Instead, CCSD must immediately stop the infringement of copyright.  CCSD must follow the reorganization laws and allow schools to purchase MyEducationData.

How You Can Help

  • Contact your CCSD Trustee to demand they hold the Superintendent accountable to our laws.
  • Vote for CCSD Trustees that will commit to holding the Superintendent accountable.
  • Participate in your School Organizational Team meetings and exercise your local autonomy to advocate for our students.
  • Share this blog post.
  • Share your thoughts and feedback with us.

About Us

Data Insight Partners is a Las Vegas team of dedicated educational professionals with decades of experience working with education data. Learn more about Data Insight Partners.

To learn more and share your thoughts, email us at nathan@datainsightpartners.com or justin@datainsightpartners.com.

3 thoughts on “CCSD’s Superintendent Is At It Again

    1. We will be updating as updates become available. Here are some updates since this was posted:

      – An article in the Review-Journal about the situation can be read here: https://www.reviewjournal.com/local/education/company-claims-school-district-copied-data-visualization-platform-2158150/.

      – The initial response from CCSD can be read in a Twitter thread here: https://twitter.com/DataInsightPart/status/1321582973703974918?s=20

      – We did an interview with Erik Huey of Clark County School Watch that you can view here:

      Like

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