KIPP: helps underserved students succeed in school and go to college with the help of Fivetran and Google Cloud Platform

About KIPP

KIPP runs 200 charter schools in 20 states and the District of Columbia, educating nearly 80,000 students. Students in KIPP schools complete college at a rate that is above the national average for all students and four times higher than that of students from similar economic backgrounds.

Industries: Technology
Location: United States

About Fivetran

Fivetran builds technology to help analysts load data into warehouses. Its connectors bring data from multiple applications and databases into one central location, making it easy to unlock profound insights.

Using Google BigQuery and data imported using Fivetran connectors, KIPP helps underserved students improve their education and graduate from college.

Google Cloud Results

  • Reduced data warehousing costs from $500 per month to under $40 per month
  • Slashed the time it takes to import data from a day or more to 30 minutes or less
  • Helped students improve academic performance, and attend and graduate from college

Public education is supposed to be society’s great equalizer, but studies show that academic performance of low-income students remains significantly below the national average. That’s a problem that KIPP, a national network of 200 nonprofit charter schools, set out to solve. At KIPP, 95% of its 80,000 students are African American or Latino, and 88% qualify for free or reduced price lunches. The organization’s goal is to help underserved students do better in school and make sure they enroll in and graduate from college.

92% of KIPP’s eighth-grade alumni have graduated from high school, 20% more than the Chicago Public Schools average

One of the most powerful tools in KIPP’s arsenal is data analytics. KIPP teachers and administrators use data to monitor student, teacher and school performance, and to design customized programs for each student to make sure they’re performing up to their capabilities.

“Because Google BigQuery is serverless and zero-management, operating a Google BigQuery warehouse has about the same level of difficulty as operating a Gmail account. In addition, because you pay per-query, in scenarios like KIPP, where the query volume is small, the overall cost is absurdly low.”

George Fraser, CEO, Fivetran

KIPP Chicago, a KIPP region of six schools serving kindergarten through eighth grade on Chicago’s south and west sides, wanted to make more effective use of data. The research and analysis team was spending too much time and resources integrating information into the data warehouse from multiple sources. KIPP’s administrators wanted the engineers to devote more time to analyzing data and less time managing it. To solve the problem, KIPP turned to Fivetran, a service that loads data from disparate sources into data warehouses. Fivetran recommended that the schools use Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and Google BigQuery for their data warehouse because it requires no hardware, is simple to use, easy to manage, requires no upkeep and costs far less than the competition.

“Because Google BigQuery is serverless and zero-management, operating a Google BigQuery warehouse has about the same level of difficulty as operating a Gmail account,” says Fivetran CEO George Fraser, explaining why he recommended KIPP move to Google Cloud Platform. “In addition, because you pay per-query, in scenarios like KIPP where the query volume is small, the overall cost is absurdly low.”

Putting data and students on the fast track

KIPP Chicago can now easily populate its Google BigQuery data warehouse and perform analytics on it. Connectors built by Fivetran import data from many sources, including Oracle, Salesforce, school district databases and others, into Google BigQuery. Previously, it could take an entire day of programming or more to import a single data source. With Fivetran’s connectors, it takes just a few minutes.

With Fivetran and Google Cloud Platform, we’ve freed data scientists to devote themselves to doing data analytics to help teachers and administrators improve student performance.”

Chris Haid, Chief of Staff, Chicago KIPP schools

“As a nonprofit serving an historically underserved low-income population, we don’t have a lot of resources to spend on importing data,” says Chris Haid, KIPP Chicago’s Chief of Staff. “With Fivetran and Google Cloud Platform, we’ve freed data scientists to devote themselves to doing data analytics to help teachers and administrators improve student performance.”

The data is used to craft educational plans for students, and help teachers and administrators perform their jobs more effectively. KIPP Chicago uses a variety of analytics tools in concert with Google BigQuery to perform tasks, such as predictive analytics for estimating how students will perform based on their past history, and give teachers the information they need to help students exceed that baseline. Administrators use information about overall school performance to pinpoint areas of weakness, such as attendance rates, so they can work on fixing them.

Data is also used to track academic performance after students graduate from KIPP schools and enter high school and college. The data is imported into Google BigQuery from school databases after students leave KIPP Chicago. Chris and his team build applications that create alerts when students may be struggling in school so that KIPP counselors can intervene and help them. The data is also used by KIPP counselors to help students decide which colleges they should to apply to.

Big data leads to big successes

The combination of Fivetran and Google BigQuery has helped KIPP use its resources more effectively. Previously, the nonprofit spent up to $500 a month for data warehousing. It now spends only $40, and can apply its savings to other purposes such as increasing the number of data analysts. Data scientists and Haid do not have to spend time importing data into Google BigQuery, or maintaining servers, and can spend more time analyzing data to help students succeed.

“For us, it’s not about data, it’s about helping underserved kids succeed. Many of our students are the first ones in their families to attend college, and they can do it thanks to the help we’ve gotten from Fivetran and Google BigQuery.”

Chris Haid, Chief of Staff, Chicago KIPP schools

The real mark of the success of the Chicago KIPP partnership with Fivetran and GCP is in helping improve student achievement. KIPP says 92% of its eighth grade alumni have graduated from high school, nearly 20 percentage points higher than the 74% high school graduation rate seen in Chicago Public Schools. From KIPP, 81% of its alumni have gone to college, compared to 29% of Chicago Public School students. And 31% of its alumni have graduated from college. That is nearly double the Chicago Public School’s college graduation rate of 17%, higher than the national average of 18%, and almost four times the national average for low-income students. GCP and Fivetran have played a role in helping KIPP reach results like that.

“For us, it’s not about data, it’s about helping underserved kids succeed,” concludes Chris. “Many of our students are the first ones in their families to attend college, and they can do it thanks to the help we’ve gotten from Fivetran and Google BigQuery.”

About KIPP

KIPP runs 200 charter schools in 20 states and the District of Columbia, educating nearly 80,000 students. Students in KIPP schools complete college at a rate that is above the national average for all students and four times higher than that of students from similar economic backgrounds.

Industries: Technology
Location: United States

About Fivetran

Fivetran builds technology to help analysts load data into warehouses. Its connectors bring data from multiple applications and databases into one central location, making it easy to unlock profound insights.

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