Insights & Analysis

Education, K-12, News, Press Releases

Munetrix Named SIIA Education Technology 2021 CODiE Award Finalist

Academic Module Named to Best Collaborative Solution for Teachers Category

We are proud to announce that the Munetrix Academic Module 2.0 was named a 2021 SIIA CODiE Award finalist in the Best Collaborative Solution for Teachers category. CODiE Award finalists represent applications, products and services from developers of educational software, digital content, online learning services and related technologies across the PreK-20 sector. 

The Munetrix Academic Module is a comprehensive, all-in-one solution for educators being tasked with more—with less time and fewer resources. It was developed to accelerate academic outcomes and facilitate the monitoring of progress made by the whole student—academically, emotionally, socially, demographically, and socio-economically—all with a single, easy-to-use interface.

One award judge remarked, in evaluation of the Academic Module, that the product represents “the ‘unicorn’ that our district teachers and administrators have been looking for! A one-stop shop for data to help support students and achievement! It includes SO many pieces for educators, personnel, finance, achievement, evaluations and improvement plans — for students, staff and operations.” [WATCH VIDEO HERE.]

Acknowledged as the premier awards program for the software and information industries for over 35 years, the SIIA CODiE Awards are produced by the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), the principal trade association for the software, education, media, financial information and digital content industries. The Munetrix Academic Module was honored as one of 152 finalists across the 42 education technology categories. 

“Being named a finalist, among the company we are proud to be keeping, is humbling recognition of the hard work we’ve done as a company and in cooperation with the educators we serve,” said Buzz Brown, vice president of customer engagement and chief data officer with Munetrix. “Our mission has long been to make data accessible, actionable, holistic, and easy for anyone to use and understand.”

By harvesting and contextualizing public and private data into one powerful combination, the product provides schools a unique, holistic platform that empowers districts to analyze all of their data with a single log-in and destination, supporting horizontal succession planning, building institutional knowledge, and workflow management all in one place. Offered in conjunction with a financial analytics and planning engine, the Academic Module is a comprehensive suite of powerful, interdependent solutions that takes multi-level, complex data sets and makes them simple to understand, report and act upon, including: achievement and growth data, student reporting, needs assessment, educator evaluation, progress monitoring, as well as financial budgeting, forecasting and modeling.

“The CODiE Awards recognize the most exciting and transformative products in Ed Tech,” said Jeff Joseph, SIIA President. “This year, these leaders helped our nation respond to the historic pandemic, enabling learners, educators, administrators and parents to remain connected to each other and to critical educational resources via an array of innovative services and platforms. Congratulations to this year’s finalists for demonstrating the vitality, resilience and importance of this important industry.”

The SIIA CODiE Awards are the industry’s only peer-recognized awards program. Educators and administrators serve as judges and conduct the first-round review of all education nominees. Their scores determine the SIIA CODiE Award finalists which accounts for 80% of the overall score. SIIA members then vote on the finalist products and the scores from both rounds are tabulated to select the winners. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Business Technology category winners will be announced during an online winner announcement celebration June 22, 2021.

About Munetrix

Auburn Hills, Mich.-based Munetrix, provides schools, districts, educators and administrators cloud-based data management tools and proprietary performance management applications that range from academic achievement, budget and finance to personnel management, team collaboration and asset management solutions. The Academic Module empowers educators, from the district office to the individual teacher, to easily analyze various student data at the individual student, class, grade, building and district level across multiple assessments with a few clicks. Correlations between state and nationally normed assessment data are calculated using actual district student data — not projected data — providing an accurate picture of achievement trends within the district. It also empowers educators to analyze year-over-year grade-level trends and cohort trends to identify areas of strength and need in curriculum, instructional practices, etc.

Learn more about the full suite of applications for teachers and administrators here.

About the SIIA CODiE™ Awards

The SIIA CODiE Awards is the only peer-reviewed program to showcase business and education technology’s finest products and services. Since 1986, thousands of products, services and solutions have been recognized for achieving excellence. For more information, visit siia.net/CODiE.

About Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA)

SIIA is the only professional organization connecting more than 700 data, financial information, education technology, specialized content and publishing, and health technology companies. Our diverse members manage the global financial markets, develop software that solves today’s challenges through technology, provide critical information that helps inform global businesses large and small, and innovate for better health care and personal wellness outcomes.

Education, K-12, News, Press Releases

Munetrix First to Earn Ed-Fi Consumer Badge for Data Consumption

First in Category to Demonstrate Adherence to Ed-Fi’s Rigorous Standards

Munetrix has become the first vendor of its kind to earn the prestigious Ed-Fi “Consumer Badge” in the category of Data Consumption. This badge is awarded to solution providers that have developed a robust Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering that adheres to Ed-Fi’s rigorous quality, availability, and transparency standards.

Ed-Fi Alliance, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering a community of educators with real-time, comprehensive student data, has developed a set of rules for the collection, management and organization of educational data that allows multiple systems to share their information in a seamless, actionable way. The earned designation shows Munetrix’s adherence to the Ed-Fi Data Standard and supports “interoperability.”

“The importance of this achievement cannot be overstated,” said Cesare Tise, manager, strategic partnerships, Ed-Fi Alliance. “We know that school districts and states that implement a modern data management infrastructure based on interoperability standards are better able to serve their educators, students and parents, especially at this critical time. Now, a district or state of any size, any budget, any expertise level can reap the benefits of connected data to support the educators and students they serve. By being the first to earn this badge in its category, Munetrix has paved the way for the districts and schools they serve, such as those in the MiDataHub, to deliver better data in much more accessible and leverageable ways.”

About Interoperability

A data standard defines rules for how data should be formatted and exchanged between systems. Typically, every piece of educational technology has used its own “language” for storing and managing data. One tool’s language was different from the next’s—making integration nearly impossible. The student information system couldn’t talk to the learning management system, which couldn’t talk to the assessment software, and so on.

Drawing from a team of educators in 36 states and districts nationwide as well as technologists (known as the Ed-Fi Alliance), Ed-Fi has crafted the premier data standard for K-12 school districts and state agencies. It’s been used by real educators and tested by real schools. Ed-Fi seamlessly connects education data systems to have a complete, real-time view of every student in new, practical and transformative ways.

“Receiving this badge is gratifying reward to the hard work we’ve done as a company and in cooperation with the educators we serve,” said Buzz Brown, vice president of customer engagement and chief data officer with Munetrix. “Our mission has long been to make data accessible, actionable, holistic, and easy for anyone to use and understand. By making our system communicate seamlessly across platforms, we are achieving the interoperability that Ed-Fi sets the standard for.”

About Munetrix

Auburn Hills, Mich.-based Munetrix, provides schools, districts, educators and administrators cloud-based data management tools and proprietary performance management applications that range from academic achievement, budget and finance to personnel management, team collaboration and asset management solutions. In partnering with Munetrix, municipalities and school districts are able to manage their data and access cost-effective products and advisory services to make meaningful and reliable budgets, financial projections, trend reports and better-informed forward-looking decisions. Learn more at www.munetrix.com.

About the Ed-Fi Alliance

The Ed-Fi Alliance is a nationwide community of leading educators, technologists, and data advocates connecting student data systems in order to transform education. A not-for-profit organization founded in 2012, by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, Ed-Fi aims to boost student achievement by empowering educators with real-time, comprehensive insight into every student.

Ed-Fi technologies streamline data management in school districts and states across the country. By allowing schools to integrate data previously siloed within disconnected tools and software—and organizing it through a single, secure data standard —Ed-Fi solves one of the country’s most perplexing educational challenges: how to get a complete, accurate view of individual student achievement, so that every student can receive the support they need when they need it most.

Education, K-12, News, Opinion, Uncategorized

Creating a District-Wide Culture of “Data Literacy” to Achieve Equity in Education

How to Map a Path to Your Equity Goals Tomorrow by Understanding Where Your District Stands Today

By Peter Solar and Mike Geers

A version of this article originally appeared on District Administration magazine.

As educators everywhere place an increasing focus and emphasis on achieving equity and equality in education—working to address historical inequities and increase opportunities for all students—a new challenge has emerged to present an even greater hurdle: not knowing what we don’t know. This is especially critical as stakeholders work together to specifically address the equity piece of equity and equality, as equity should be regarded as a destination, or something demonstrably achievable, as opposed to a mere goal of ambiguous “improvement.”

As the trope goes, there are things that we know, things that we don’t know, and things we don’t know that we don’t know—and it’s in that last category where lies a danger that, gone unaddressed, could result in well-meaning intentions causing purpose-defeating ends. 

With so much at stake, at a time in which so many are uniting in common purpose and resolve, it’s critical to get this initiative right, for current students and for future generations to come. 

Our secret weapon in this cause is something districts have at their ready disposal, but which has historically presented difficulty harnessing: data. It’s not that districts and educators don’t have access to data—quite the contrary. Data is everywhere: public databases, district-owned systems, spreadsheets, census bureaus, government entities…even desk drawers and computer hard drives! 

Yes, districts are data-rich. But they’re knowledge-poor.

Start with a Clear Picture

It’s one thing to set generalized standards for what a better future might look like—greater equity, more equitable access, etc.—but quite another to set definitive metrics for what improvement looks like, and what the final destination might be. The latter are hard numbers, and they’re specific, measurable milestones.

But to achieve progress toward a goal, you must have a clear picture of where your district stands today. What, precisely, is the current reality when it comes to existing equity gaps—social, emotional, educational and financial? The only way to truly understand the disparities (and the degree/extent of disparity) is to look at hard data. Numbers don’t lie, and there are numbers everywhere.

If there were ever a critical time and clear justification for the modernization of school districts’ data management systems, this is it. No longer is it enough to have data storage systems. We must get the numbers off of the paper, out of the spreadsheets, unlocked and out of disparate systems that house our data, and get them all into one system, where they can be analyzed and cross-analyzed, aggregated and disaggregated, compared, contrasted and shared.

“Using data to inform all of our practices in K12 education—from budget management to student instruction—is more important than ever,” says Paul Liabenow, Executive Director with The Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principals Association (MEMSPA). “We must analyze the data that we find at our fingertips to make timely course corrections if our desired outcomes are not being met. Most importantly, we must use data to expose and correct inequities in our systems and immediately make changes for the benefit of our marginalized students.”

Making the Invisible Visible

As districts and educators, and as the cornerstones of the communities we serve, we should be cross-pollinating and overlaying publicly available census data, district financial and modeling data, student achievement and educator evaluation data, population demographics and economic data, student migration and graduation data, grant and budget-forecasting data…all of it. And more. We should be working with our partners (public and private) in the communities we serve to harness as much information as possible. 

Only then will we truly understand the equity gaps that exist in our buildings and in our communities. And only then will we be able to conceive of and implement data-driven strategies, plans and programs to overcome them. Anything less, and we risk applying a well-meaning solution to the wrong problem, thereby missing the opportunity to achieve the end itself, or worse, exacerbating the problem.

A complete data set has the effect of “making the invisible, visible.” That danger of not knowing what we don’t know is very real. What if a root cause of a given inequity is presumed to be financial in nature, but in reality, is socio-political? Will throwing more money at this particular situation address root causes, or will it merely present the illusion of effort? And can you even measure progress toward a goal if you’re addressing the wrong underlying cause? Given that scenario, will your efforts be rewarded and applauded, or be met with cynicism and demands for greater transparency or compliance, when reporting demonstrates lack of progress?

If we truly want to address the drivers of inequity, we must first see them, later make sure we understand them, and finally show our work in overcoming them. By tapping into all available data sources, and enabling the data points to talk to each other, we can determine if a particular gap is driven by economics, demographics, geography, educator experience, or geopolitics.

You simply can’t see the invisible by looking at spreadsheets, one at a time.

Create a Culture of Data Literacy to Measure Everything—Even the Invisible

The challenges that educators face when it comes to equity—as well as equality—in education are similar in nature to all of the other myriad challenges confronting district personnel:

  1. Understanding the issue, problem, challenge or opportunity;
  2. Understanding what steps to take to overcome the shortcoming or achieve the aspiration; and
  3. Reporting out to the various stakeholders and compliance officers that action is being taken, and to what effect.

Achieving a district-wide commitment to what we call a “culture of data literacy” is a district’s best opportunity to check all three boxes, including for today’s equity and equality initiatives. This means having a very real, very consistent commitment to optimal data-use practices in order to facilitate better data-driven decisions. Enough of the invisible; enough of not knowing what we don’t know. There are easily implemented and easily understood systems that take all of the time and labor we used to devote to the administrative headaches of keeping data systems current and execute it all for us…way better and faster than we humans ever could.

Take these actions as a district, and yours will be well on its way to achieving this culture of data literacy, and making measurable, demonstrable progress toward greater equity and equality:

Understand the whole community. Know the district you serve, and not just its students and parents. What portion of the population rents versus owns? What is the size and nature of its homeless population? What about its percentage of single-parent households? What is the district’s complete demographics picture, from ethnicity to income, and everything in between? What are the geographic boundaries, anomalies and trends? All of these data points are potential contributors to inequality. But until you see them all, overlaid against one another, it’s difficult to discern which are the drivers, and which are the resultant outcomes.

Follow the money. Do you truly and completely know your financial spend at a district level, and at a building-to-building level? Do you know which schools have more active and more successful grant writing initiatives, and do those (or lack thereof) have an impact on financial gaps or inequities? What are the tax revenues, as well as state and federal funding sources, relative to your neighboring districts and statewide peers? “More money” is one solution, yes. But if a district doesn’t know how the money is spent now, how can it make a better plan to more efficiently allocate resources to greater effect, equity and equality, so that the new good money doesn’t go out with the old, bad?

Evaluate personnel. Consider cross-referencing student achievement data with financial data sets and educator evaluations. Are the higher-income areas of the district being served by teachers with more experience, and is that contributing to (or working against) student achievement metrics and educator outcome inequities?

Quantify the gaps and articulate the needs. With some $54 billion coming to schools in the second federal stimulus, a significant portion of that will be earmarked to address learning loss and student well-being (social, emotional and learning deficiencies). If you can’t quantify your district’s needs with hard numbers, it will be difficult (if not impossible) to demonstrate measurable progress toward closing the gaps, which will be a reporting requirement to be eligible for those funds. For example, can you demonstrate that your Title-I population experienced greater learning loss than the general population? Start this analysis now so you can expedite access to much needed federal funding and assistance to come as it becomes available.

Make it a team effort. Collaborate with district leaders, local office holders and city councils, police departments, and other entities that share your commitment to addressing community-wide inequities, and invite these stakeholders into the tent. Ask them to share their available data. Consider forming a task force with each entity represented at the table, and create a project workflow with assignable tasks and accountability, so that the entire community can share in the progress the district makes.

Get it together. Most importantly, get all available data sets into one, centralized, intelligent system, so that you can start with a clear picture of today, conceive of a measured plan for demonstrable progress, and implement that plan with purpose. With all of the data in one place, and with all stakeholders working together, reporting out to state and federal agencies will be easier, more transparent, and more accurate than ever before.

As with any important initiative, one cannot address such a critical goal of achieving equity in education by “going a mile wide and an inch deep.” There are so many interdependent forces at work—both historical and current, both plainly visible and subtly latent— that to make presumptions based on limited information or intuition does a disservice not only to the challenge before us, but to the requisite remedies as well.

Mike Geers

Peter Solar (left) is Director of Client Partnerships with Munetrix. He can be reached at peter@munetrix.com. Mike Geers is Client Partnership Manager with Munetrix, and he can be reached at mike@munetrix.com.

Education, Municipal, News

Munetrix Again Named to the GovTech 100 List

Munetrix Named to GovTech List for Fifth Year Running

Munetrix is proud to be once again featured on Government Technology’s GovTech 100 list, a compendium of 100 companies focused on, making a difference in, and selling to state and local government agencies across the United States.

Munetrix has earned this prestigious honor every year since 2016, each year the list has been researched and published.

The announcement reads, in part, “In 2020, as detailed in this feature-length article in Government Technology magazine, the gov tech market brought bigger deals, more investment, new companies and many fresh new innovations that moved the needle in the public sector.”

“We are thrilled to once again named to the GovTech 100 list,” said Bob Kittle, Munetrix President and CEO. “This annual recognition is a reflection of our team’s commitment to innovation, product development and, perhaps most of all, personalized customer service. We continue to try make data analytics easy, intuitive and centralized for our users in the municipal government and education sectors.”

Government Technology wrote in support of the 2020 announcement:

“Five years ago, Government Technology saw something happening: Civic tech was changing. Fueled by new technologies, modern methodologies and a sudden interest from investors, startups were beginning to work more with government. In a space long dominated by incumbents, notorious for complex procurement and implementation cycles, agencies were hungering for something new. We took note, and launched a list of 100 companies that represented that ecosystem.”

school assessment data
Education, K-12, Opinion

Addressing Inequities and Assessment Challenges Facing Educators, Students and Families Amid Imperfect Educational Environments

How Adopting Emerging Technologies Facilitates Learning, Simplifies Progress Monitoring, and Improves Student Outcomes

A version of this article originally appeared in District Administration Magazine.

As we approach the midpoint of this school year, students are learning via a variety of instructional modalities, including face-to-face, virtual and hybrid instruction.  As COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are rising again, schools are shifting between instructional models to flex with changing health safety guidelines and local community dynamics. Educational pedagogy such as “synchronous” and “asynchronous learning” are becoming household terms. And, educators at all levels are making Herculean efforts to keep up with these challenges and to provide the best possible instruction for students.

In this oscillating climate, educators must pivot quickly to adapt—guided by data—to have the greatest impact on student learning. The ability to rapidly access, analyze and evaluate data—across multiple assessments and platforms (along with other types of data)—is critical to making decisions about instruction, programming and interventions.

The Continuing Impact COVID-19 Will Have on Students this Fall

A recent study conducted in partnership between NWEA, Brown University and University of Virginia (EdWorkingPaper 20-226) projects that “Students are likely to return in fall 2020 with approximately 63-68% of the learning gains in reading relative to a typical school year, and with 37-50% of the learning gains in math.” The study goes on further to state, “We estimate that losing ground during the COVID-19 school closures would not be universal, with the top third of students potentially making gains in reading.” 

In short, not every student will be impacted in the same way, nor to the same degree. Equity plays a large role in the learning gaps between individual students resulting from a variety of elements including prior achievement, socioeconomic factors, access to technology and internet, teacher training on virtual instruction, support within the home, and more. 

Dynamic reporting tools can help educators to look at trends, past and present, and disaggregate trends easily by filtering at various levels.

Why is Data-Driven Instruction More Important Than Ever?

While assessments can be powerful tools to identify student needs or monitor student progress/growth, assessments are only powerful when the data is analyzed and applied to drive instruction, programming and interventions. Educators must use data to take action for data to have any utility. Otherwise, it’s just more test data.

In Paul Bambrick Santayo’s book, Driven by Data, he writes that schools need to change their focus from, “what is taught” to “what is learned.”  The impact of the pandemic on student learning and the ongoing transitioning of learning environments escalates the necessity of this shift in focus.

Bambrick-Santayo goes on to identify that there are four fundamental building blocks to data driven instruction: assessment, analysis, action and culture.

  • Assessments must be standards-aligned, with varying levels of questions for depth of knowledge and understanding and provide data that not only informs instruction but helps to compare students with their peers. 
  • Analysis is the key to using the data to identify areas of student need so that action can be taken. 
  • Educators must understand how to apply the conclusions from their data analysis to take appropriate actions that have the greatest impact.
  • Finally, educational leaders must create a culture in which data-driven instruction will thrive.  This includes providing and following an assessment calendar, providing time for deep data analysis and discussion, and encouraging/supporting educators in using the data to guide actions taken.
Dynamic reporting tools in data analytics systems allow educators to quickly analyze trends over multiple assessment periods, and aggregate/disaggregate data using filters.

The greatest barrier to moving from assessment to action is the deep and meaningful analysis of assessment data. Analysis requires the “systematic examination of assessment data to thoroughly determine students’ strengths and weaknesses, then taking the necessary steps to address their needs,” states Bambrick-Santayo.

How to Optimally Get from Assessment to Action

According to Bambrick-Santayo, the first core driver of analysis includes “user-friendly reports.” Time is the new premium. There isn’t the time, nor resources, available to build complex spreadsheets to facilitate comparing data across multiple assessment platforms. The skill level at which educators can analyze data varies as greatly as the instructional levels among students, and many educators may not have the technical skills to create and manage the elaborate spreadsheets needed for meaningful data analysis. Time to teach these new skills is severely limited or not available.  Furthermore, safety protocols, preparation for virtual learning classes, and the new logistics/daily routines of instruction have removed any “extra” time that was once nominally available.

Educators need tools that help analyze data across multiple platforms—quickly, easily and seamlessly. They want tools that provide easy-to-read reports, where computerized systems “crunch the numbers for them.” These tools should rapidly disaggregate or aggregate student assessment data at the student, class, grade, building or district level—by subject, standard or objective—all within a few clicks…not hours or days.

Dynamic reporting tools can help educators easily group students by proficiency and skill/goal area for targeted instruction/intervention.

Dynamic platforms empower educators to change views rapidly in order to identify trends, gaps and areas of need. They help educators filter different types of student data, including achievement, attendance, behavior, demographic and perception data, so that schools and districts are able to analyze the needs of the whole child. In a perfect world, this should be available in one online platform (not multiple systems with different logins that require manual massaging of data between platforms). Data must be accessible anytime, anywhere, to adapt to changing school environments.

Dynamic reporting tools can help educators easily identify significant gaps among different groups of students, help drive data-based decisions on interventions, programming and resource allocation.

A “New Normal” Guided by Data

Perhaps COVID-19 will accelerate the implementation of data-driven instruction to permeate more substantially in everyday educational practice. The easier data analysis is, the more it frees educators to spend their time taking meaningful action with students. For Data Driven practices to take root, educational leaders must also purposefully set aside time to infuse deep and meaningful data analysis, planning and action into the school culture. 

It’s not that educators don’t have enough access to data. It’s that educators need to easily convert that data into intelligence…and intelligence into action. Only then, can educators focus their time, energy, expertise and passion on what they do best—educating and developing today’s learners!

Linda Kraft is Director of Customer Experience with Munetrix, a Michigan-based data analytics and management firm serving school districts and municipalities across the country. She can be reached at linda@munetrix.com. Learn more at munetrix.com.

References 

Bambrick-Santayo, Paul.  Driven by Data 2.0: A Practical Guide to Improve Instruction.  Jossey-Bass, 2019.

Dorn, Emma, Bryan Hancock, Jimmy Sarakatsannis, and Ellen Virelug. (2020)., COVID-19 and student learning in the United States: The hurt could last a lifetime.  Retrieved from Fresno State University: https://fresnostate.edu/kremen/about/centers-projects/weltycenter/documents/COVID-19-and-student-learning-in-the-United-States-FINAL.pdf

Kuhfeld, Megan, James Soland, Beth Tarasawa, Angela Johnson, Erik Ruzek, and Jing Liu. (2020). Projecting the potential impacts of COVID-19 school closures on academic achievement. (EdWorkingPaper: 20-226). Retrieved from Annenberg Institute at Brown University: https://doi.org/10.26300/cdrv-yw05

Municipal, News

Munetrix Releases List of Safest Cities in Michigan

Data Provided by Michigan State Police and U.S. Census Bureau for 2019

Munetrix, a data analytics solutions provider serving municipalities and public school districts nationwide, has again released its list of the 10 safest cities in Michigan, according to the company’s analysis of publicly available data provided by Michigan State Police and the U.S. Census Bureau for 2019, the most recent year for which crime data is available.

As it has in the past, the just released Munetrix list looks at total crime data for Michigan communities of more than 50,000 in population. Based on the numbers of total crimes committed in Michigan’s cities, relative to each city’s total population, Michigan’s top-ten safest cities are:

  1. Rochester Hills
  2. Farmington Hills
  3. Sterling Heights
  4. Novi
  5. Royal Oak
  6. Ann Arbor
  7. Troy
  8. Livonia
  9. St. Clair Shores
  10. Dearborn Heights

“As we analyzed the data, we discovered an interesting and encouraging trend at the macro level, also represented fairly consistently from city to city,” said Bob Kittle, President of Munetrix. “If you look at the three-year trend data dating back to 2017, the data reveal a trending decrease in total crimes overall—communities statewide appear to have been getting safer, in terms of the data we have available, which is a pleasant byproduct of this study. 

“Local city governments and public safety professionals in our state should be proud of what the data suggest, and take heart that their hard work and efforts toward safer communities appear to be paying off,” he added.

In Michigan, there are 1,856 local units of government: 83 counties, 1,240 townships, 278 cities and 255 villages. All in, there were 657,166 total offenses across the state in 2019 according to data released by the Michigan State Police in its annual crime statistics report. Munetrix cross references this crime data with population data made available by the U.S. Census Bureau. With 9.99 million residents in Michigan in 2019, there were 65.7 total crimes (offenses) per thousand people.

Total crime numbers include everything from murder, rape and assault to white collar crimes, Minors in Possession (MIP), and petty thefts. Total crimes encompass four categories: 

  • Crimes against people
  • Crimes against property
  • Crimes against society
  • Other crimes

Here’s how the top-10 safest cities in Michigan rank, in terms of total crimes relative to their total populations:

Where Does Your City Rank?

To find out where your city ranks on this year’s list, or to get access to the complete list, please contact us and submit a request.

About Munetrix

Auburn Hills, Mich.-based Munetrix, among the nation’s largest aggregators of municipal and school district data, promotes municipal wellness and sustainability through its cloud-based data management tools and proprietary performance management applications. In partnering with Munetrix, municipalities and school districts are able to manage their data and access cost-effective products and advisory services to make meaningful and reliable budgets, financial projections, academic achievement metrics, trend reports and better-informed forward-looking decisions. Learn more at www.munetrix.com.

Education, Municipal, News, Opinion

Munetrix Offers New COVID-19 Dashboard to Michigan Municipalities and School Districts at No Cost

Company Partners with Bloomfield Hills Schools and the Metro Bureau to Develop and Distribute Dashboard Statewide

Munetrix, in partnership with Bloomfield Hills Schools, has developed and launched a new COVID-19 dashboard and is making the dynamic dashboard available to any municipality, county or school district that wishes to embed it on its own website, at no cost to that government entity. In addition, Munetrix has partnered with the Metro Bureau to distribute dashboard embed codes to its member organizations across the state of Michigan.

First deployed on the Bloomfield Hills Schools homepage, the COVID-19 dashboard was developed initially to address the desire of Bloomfield Hills Schools administrators to provide clear communication regarding the school district’s readiness to return to face-to-face learning to parents in a way that would be as easy to understand and as readily updated as possible. In doing so, district officials approached Munetrix to develop technology that would source data from state of Michigan’s coronavirus case data and display relevant metrics to provide clear indicators as to the most current moving averages of new cases per 100,000 population, sortable by county, as well as to display each county’s rolling percent-positive data.

The dynamic dashboard draws state data that is both updated (with new cases) and refreshed (updating prior case data) daily, giving district parents the most accurate, timely and geographically relevant data available.

The two data visualizations provided on the dashboard are intended to give parents and community members an instantly intuitive snapshot regarding a given district’s readiness to return to face-to-face learning or its risk level of regressing to all-virtual learning environments using a color-coded graphic representation of moments in time, dating back to March 1, 2020. The system utilizes the Harvard Global Health Institute Model developed by Dr. Ashish Jha and others to create standards for risk factors and thresholds by which a school district can establish triggers for moving from one phase of risk tolerance to another. For example, the Bloomfield Hills Schools parameters dictate that the county remain at least 21 consecutive days in a given risk level before the district is eligible to enact predetermined protocols for moving to a next phase of learning modality.

Leveraging the standards established by the Harvard Global Health Institute Model, Munetrix displays risk ranges in the conventional red-orange-yellow-green convention, making the data intuitively accessible and visually clear, educating parents, children, district personnel and the community at large as to a district’s current state of return readiness at any given time.

Making Difficult Decisions Easy to Understand

Not only does this accessible dashboard allow for quicker, data-based decision making, it is a tool that serves to provide transparency and information to parents during a time when uncertainty and anxiety are heightened, making such information accessible on-demand, 24/7.

“We’ve heard of parents who watch the numbers on our dashboard like you might watch the stock market—three times a day!” said Patrick Watson, Superintendent of Bloomfield Hills Schools. “It also gives parents the information when and how they want it, no longer relying on answered phone calls and returned emails that may take some time to address,” he added. “The number of phone calls and emails into the office, with people looking for updates and information, has dramatically reduced, allowing our staff to focus their energy and resources on optimizing our learning environments, both virtual and in-person.”

“As a data visualization company, we continue to consider it our duty to do whatever our technology allows to deliver easy-to-understand, actionable intelligence to those who need it, and to make it simple for anyone to display, use and understand,” said Buzz Brown, Vice President of Customer Engagement and Chief Data Officer with Munetrix. “There has never been a more urgent time for accurate and timely information than during this pandemic, especially given how it’s affected our schools, educators, administrators, families and learners.”

Melissa Baker, Executive Director of the Metro Bureau, immediately recognized the value that this new dashboard provides to school districts and their constituents, offering to facilitate the distribution of free embed codes provided by Munetrix to its membership. “This is such an incredible value-add to our district members,” she said. “People are craving accurate, timely and understandable data these days, and our members are committed to providing it. Anything that makes this easier on everyone is something we as an organization are committed to broadly distributing.” 

Munetrix and the Metro Bureau receive requests for embed codes daily, with dashboards now being displayed on several district home pages across the state…east and west, north and south. 

Munetrix will provide a copy-and-paste embed code at no cost to any school district or government entity that would like to display the dashboard on its own website. Simply contact Munetrix to submit a request, or Metro Bureau members can complete this form to request a code. 

To see how this dashboard is being deployed by local school districts to make informed decisions about learning environments and communicate transparently with parents and the community in real time, watch the story that Local 4 Newscasters shared with their viewers. 

About Munetrix

Auburn Hills, Mich.-based Munetrix, among the nation’s largest aggregators of municipal and school district data, promotes municipal wellness and sustainability through its cloud-based data management tools and proprietary performance management applications. In partnering with Munetrix, municipalities and school districts are able to manage their data and access cost-effective products and advisory services to make meaningful and reliable budgets, financial projections, academic achievement metrics, trend reports and better-informed forward-looking decisions. Learn more at www.munetrix.com.

Education, Municipal, Opinion

Etiquette and Other Best Practices for the New Normal

Perfecting the Two-Dimensional Meeting in the Age of Virtual Conferences

It’s been an unusual few months, getting used to Zoom and similar technologies. Users have had fun with virtual backgrounds, emojis and other gimmicks. Guess what? Summer is almost over, and the remote collaboration environment is here to stay for many. We are hearing a significant percent of the workforce will not return to the office in any foreseeable future. The two-dimensional meeting is here to stay, and it’s important to learn how to use it.

Create a Profile

Make sure you get a presence in each app you find yourself using. Whether it’s Zoom, Teams, or GoTo meeting, get an account (even if it’s free) and create your profile. Make sure you have a proper picture to display when your video is off. Consider including your organization’s name and job title. For example, stop to consider if your meeting environment deems it acceptable to have the Millennium Falcon as your background.

Plan Your Workspace

It was fun for a while hearing your colleagues’ dogs bark, the occasional cat on the keyboard, grandkids Zoom bombing, or critiquing home decor. As I said, summer is almost over. It’s back to work or school time. Plan to have a proper location, depending on the nature of your audience. Be careful of what’s in the background. I’m sure you may be passionate about your politics, religion or other endeavors. Be mindful of your audience. They may have conflicting views and get distracted from your input as they are focused on reading book titles on your shelf.

Test the location and quality of your camera. Make sure it appears as though you are looking into the camera, otherwise you appear aloof. If you are using multiple monitors, you may need a camera that is not attached to your laptop or screen. The camera should be located behind the monitor you will be using on the call. Make sure the camera is located slightly above your face, and not below your face.

Avoid Joining with Links

Now that you have taken the time to create a profile in the app, do not lose it by joining meetings through links. Sometimes the link brings you in the meeting as a generic user. Launch your app first, log in as you, and then join the meeting with the meeting ID.

Live Etiquette

When you are live in the meeting, make sure your tile includes your name and not some generic title like “Mom’s iPad.” How many times have you been in a meeting and wondered who someone was? This is your chance to always have your name and affiliation posted for all to read. Reading body language in a meeting is important but sometimes difficult sitting around a table. The two-dimensional tiles can make it easier, as long as the cameras are on. Similarly, if you are not going to pay attention to the presenter, turn your camera off. It’s obvious when you are doing something else.

Consider having your mic muted at all times until you are ready to speak. Background noise can be distracting to others in attendance, and even disruptive to the meeting in general.

Guest Speakers

There’s been a paradigm shift in two converging directions from which you can benefit. Attendees are much more willing to attend a virtual event now with a guest speaker, and guest speakers are much more willing to stay home. Nationally known speakers that would have cost in the five-digit neighborhood with travel expenses are now willing to spend an hour on your call for $1,000 or less. Use this as an advantage to engage your audience and significantly enhance the quality of your material.

Camaraderie

Here you will need to be creative, but this part can be the most rewarding. Some of your attendees may have limited contact with other humans. New hires don’t have the option of chatting over the water cooler with colleagues in an office building. You need to create that human contact and build that team virtually.

Members of the Munetrix team were presenters at a recent association board meeting, and the Board Chair always included a team event at her meetings. She wanted to continue that tradition virtually. We used a game show app with topical trivia questions to engage all attendees. Amazon gift cards were awarded for most points.

“MASFPS board members were able to enjoy a round of Kahoot with our friends from Munetrix during our summer leadership and learning academy,” says Sara Shriver, Executive Director with MASFPS. “This was a great way to engage all members during a virtual learning event! It was fun, competitive, and a unique way to build camaraderie as an organizational team!”

ADA Compliance

Lastly, remember and consider the hearing and visually impaired community when conducting meetings, to make sure you are staying compliant with ADA guidelines and requirements. The Center for Hearing and Communication has issued guidance on this matter, and Zoom itself offers its own disability compliance tools and disclosures. Check out Zoom’s library of resources and documentation here, but be sure to frequently check and update your policies and procedures, as both technology and regulations change frequently.

No one can state with certainty how “normal” this “new” reality will last. But we can all take measures now to make the best out of an imperfect working, learning and collaborating environment, until such a time that we all get back to the old normal.

Buzz Brown, Co-Founder, serves as Vice President of Customer Engagement and Chief Data Officer with Munetrix. He can be reached via email at buzz@munetrix.com or by phone at 248.499.8355.

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