Maintaining Student Records for Secondary Education

People
By: 
Kenna McHugh, Learning Counsel Writer

Michele Pitman is the founder and CEO of intelliVOL. Her company oversees x2VOL, a managing service for student records. The product provides tracking and reporting tools that generate and verify student transcripts for college admissions. “I founded the company in 2008, so we're in our 10th year,” explains Pitman. “We have developers, dedicated account managers. We have full-time support staff. x2VOL is the most widely used service platform in K12. We won the CODiE Award two years in a row and many awards over the last 10 years.”

Pittman’s primary focus is creating and adapting the long-term vision for her company and assembling high performing teams who care about their customers. Their customers, which are school administrators and students, are at the center of all the company’s decisions. “So naturally, I focus on them every day, especially when making decisions about product developments,” adds Pittman.

The company’s purpose is replacing paper forms with a digital platform that captures the details about student service while it connects students with diverse opportunities presented on an Official Service Transcript alongside an official academic transcript.  Pittman believes “eventually the two transcripts will become a single consolidated record of the whole student, which colleges tell us is increasingly more important to understand for admissions.”

x2VOL maintains partnerships and continues to build partnerships and integrations in K 12. “We're continuing to expand just to make it easier for schools and students to access our product,” adds Pittman.

The company partnered with Hobsons using Naviance, a college and career readiness platform. If a student is using Naviance, they can subscribe to intelliVOL and have a single sign-on. “We don't share any data, but we provide easy access to our platform through our partnerships,” clarifies Pittman.

Pittman points out how x2VOL works directly with schools. “The schools purchase our product, then it's deployed or implemented for use by the students. And a lot of times the parents are also accessing the account and helping the students keep track of what's going on. We don't work directly with colleges. We are an Official Service Transcript of students’ data. From our system, it is sent by the students to colleges, universities, and scholarship applications.”

According to Pittman schools and districts are experiencing an increase in servicing the need to track career exploration, service learning, project-based learning, student council, National Junior Honor Society, and community service. Schools need a digital process to capture, measure, and verify how or if the students’ completed their work. “Schools are using x2VOL to capture service, internships, job shadowing, and apprenticeships. They can print reports and verify that students are doing the hours they report.”

Pittman describes how x2VOL gives colleges and scholarship committees confidence that the hours each student reports are valid. “Ultimately, verified service records as an Official Service Transcript can give college admissions officers a quantifiable measure of extracurricular activities, creating a dramatic influence on college admissions and more importantly, reward students who volunteer through community service and related activities.”

“x2VOL was developed based on requirements gathered from teachers, counselors, principals, students, parents, and nonprofit organizations. The platform has continued to evolve based on changes in education and feedback from customers and students.”

Pittman points out that teachers and service directors expressed a need for capturing more than student hours and offering the colleges and scholarship committees a more personal view of the student. “x2VOL captures activities and a student’s thoughts—which we have named ‘reflections’--so that growth can be measured and turned into an expression of who that student is outside of the classroom.”

Running IntelliVOL doesn't come without its challenges acknowledges Pittman. “The biggest challenge is the absence of a service champion on campus. Someone who drives the school’s commitment to community service. However, this challenge became an opportunity because in recognizing this challenge existed, we began making sure that each campus identified a service champion before rolling out x2VOL to the students. Ultimately it benefited the schools and created a significant positive impact on implementation and usage.”

Trying to pinpoint a particular favorite success story from Pittman is not an easy take with over 30 million hours approved by school administrators using x2VOL. “That's a student impact of over $750 million nationwide. So, I would say that my favorite success story happens every day. It's the fact that x2VOL provides evidence for every student who positively impacts their community. x2VOL connects students to diverse service opportunities and gives them the ability to communicate who they are outside of the classroom. It opens up opportunities, creates self-awareness, increases confidence, and helps students develop relationships within their community.”

In looking over the success stories, every school or college mentioned the ease of keeping track of student records and encouraging students to be active in their community. KIPP Atlanta Collegiate in Atlanta, Georgia noticed the increase in student community work and the ease of keeping track of their hours. Jill Stafford is the principal of Lowery Freshman Center in Allen Texas. She reports x2VOL is more than just putting in students' hours. “At our school, we require students to write down what they thought about their efforts. We want them to reflect on their time investment. It’s an essential connection between their life and their community, and it develops empathy.”

Pittman acknowledges x2VOL functions and assists schools because of educational technology. “The human element of education is as important as it was before education technology existed. Technology is a tool that can level the playing field, but I believe that educators inspire learning. Just like x2VOL needs a service champion on campus, I believe that educators are the learning champions for students. Educators reflect what is possible and who that student can be through their expertise, encouragement, and inspiration.”