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CSE grad project aims to improve data management for counselors at Minneapolis Public Schools

February 19, 2007
CSE grad project aims to improve data management for counselors at Minneapolis Public Schools

CSE students Kevin Arnold and Clifton Peters have found an innovative way to meet their master’s program requirements, while helping the community though a new school project. The duo started a master’s project a last fall aimed at improving student data management for guidance counselors in the Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS).

Peters said the inspiration for the project grew out of conversations he had with a friend’s wife who is a guidance counselor at North High School. Currently, Peters said, MPS counselors do not use one main system to track student data. He said this leaves MPS counselors to wade in a variety of data from different systems. Arnold and Peters hope to create more efficient system for the MPS districts though software development.

To start the project, Arnold and Peters met with the North High School counselor to identify the needs and uses for the student data. Now, the twosome is trying to devise a system to address the data organization. “We’re making some [software] designs — trying to change the front–end of the work flow,” Arnold said.

Arnold said that it’s challenging to work with data from different technologies. While Peters said that the challenge in this project for him is, “Working with people who aren’t familiar with how coding [software] works. It’s kind of like bridging the technology gap.”

Arnold is a master’s in software engineering (MSSE) student, while working a full–time job at Prime Therapeutic as a Lead Systems Developer. Peters, also an MSSE student, juggles school and a full-time job as a Software Engineer in Patient Management at Medtronic.

As both are scheduled to graduate this spring, they said they’re hoping to finish it by the end of the semester. But school credit aside, Peters said he just likes being able to help out a friend through the project.

“We both kind of feel good about helping out kids,” Peters said. “There’s a desire to help kids achieve goals,” Arnold said. “Having [this project] allows us to do things we wouldn’t have done on our own. It’s rewarding.”