The Hamilton Southeastern School Board voted 4-3 March 8 to terminate its contract with Panorama Education, a company that aggregates data from students surveys for educators.
According to the advocacy group Fishers One, there were privacy concerns related to how the information was gathered, and whether information could be tied to individual students.
Voting to end the contract were board members Juanita Albright, Ben Orr, Tiffany Pascoe and Suzanne Thomas. Albright, Orr and Pascoe were supported by Fishers One in the November 2022 election. Fishers One advocates for parental rights and returning to core academics in education.
Board members voting no were Dawn Lang, Sarah Donsbach and Sarah Parks-Reese.
According to the board packet for March 8, Panorama is a cloud-based platform that helps schools analyze student and school data, measure social-emotional learning, and design and implement survey programs for students, staff and parents.
Panorama surveys at HSE started in spring of 2019 and were given twice a year. Each survey takes up to 20 minutes, and students can opt out. The data was used for planning, required climate and culture components and evaluating the district’s social and emotional learning, according to the packet information.
The surveys also asked about diversity, equity and inclusion within the district. A FAQ link on the district’s website states that the information helps the district understand students’ perspectives.
The district’s website states: “A hallmark of effective instruction and teaching is student voice and agency, which recognizes diversity of people and thought. Panorama provides students with an opportunity to share their authentic feedback about the world around them—a world that we are actively preparing them to enter post K-12.”
During the meeting, district officials told the board that student data is aggregated broadly for each school. Individual student surveys are available only to specific district employees, such as guidance counselors and principals.
The district has paid for a 2.5-year contract with Panorama and cannot recoup the funds. The total cost was about $150,000.
Board member Thomas made the motion to terminate the contract effective immediately, have a legal review of the termination process, and develop an internal survey to fulfill state requirements.
The FAQ link on the district’s website can be found at hseschools.org/happenings/surveys.
Fishers One information is at fishersone.org/.