VLDS Celebrates a Year of Successes
New Agency Joins VLDS Partners
This year, the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) became an official VLDS partner agency, joining the Virginia Department of Education, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, the Virginia Employment Commission and the Virginia Community College system in providing a resource for addressing questions that are important to Virginia citizens and policymakers within a secure environment. With the addition of the new VDSS data, researchers now will be able to answer burning questions such as:
- What factors in the life of a foster care child have the greatest impact on school achievement and later mental, physical and financial health?
- How does investment in early childhood health and education impact future need for and cost of public assistance?
VLDS leadership sought by other states
A basic principle of the Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems Grant program is “Better decisions require better information
." And Virginia has emerged as a leader among states in developing a cost-effective tool for extracting and analyzing data within a secure environment. Recently, several states have consulted the VLDS partners for advice and assistance in developing their longitudinal data systems and outreach programs.
Connecticut and Idaho turned to Virginia for assistance in the design and implementation of educational and workforce longitudinal data systems. “The VLDS crew has been a tremendous resource; this is truly a great group of very knowledgeable people who are willing to share,” said Andy Mehl, the Idaho SLDS project coordinator. “Virginia has built what I consider to be the best solution. The team has done a fantastic job on design and documentation, and I’m using their approach to build my solution.” In Connecticut, Jan Kiehne, program manager for P20 Win, the state’s cross-agency data sharing system, consulted with the VLDS team, in large part because Connecticut uses a similar federated model (each partner’s data remains their own rather than being put into a central database). According to Ms. Kiehne, “We are impressed with the great work Virginia is doing and look to them as an example
In addition to providing technical and organizational expertise, the VLDS team assisted The Alaska Department of Education & Early Childhood in the creation of its own version of the “What is VLDS?”
This year’s Insights Conference 2014 focused on the theme Bridging the Data Divide
. More than 140 professionals representing a wide range of fields/industries attended the conference.