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Transforming K-12 Education with Alteryx

People   |   Andy MacIsaac   |   Jan 17, 2024

“In order to know your students, you need data, both qualitative and quantitative. You need to get into their shoes to understand their experience.”  Mei-Yan Ireland, Deputy Director, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Survey conducted by Center for First Generation Student Success, 2018

The role of data analytics has become increasingly vital in the world of K-12 education. In a recent podcast with Alteryx, Dr. Oscar Rico, the Executive Director of Technology Services at the Canutillo Independent School District near El Paso, Texas, shared his journey from being a biology teacher to leading the technology initiatives in education and the pivotal role Alteryx plays in shaping their data-driven approach to improving the success of students.


How The Canutillo Independent School District uses Alteryx

The Canutillo Independent School District serves a diverse and unique community that sits in the southern part of the country, about equidistant from Los Angeles and Dallas. Dr. Rico knows the importance of understanding data’s expiration date in education. As a leader passionate about causative factors in student success, he developed a perspective on the importance of data, and that led him to Alteryx, the “panacea of education” that empowers educators to uncover meaningful insights behind student success.

The school district strategically employs Alteryx to dissect causative data instances, focusing on enrollment, spending patterns, student attendance, teacher staffing and incentives, and more. Dr. Rico discusses the concept of “cookie crumbling” data, breaking down a successful graduating class to understand the variables contributing to success. The goal is to create a comprehensive map that guides educational practices and ensures student success.

Challenges in Modeling Variables

Dr. Rico knows there are challenges in modeling variables in education, particularly those beyond the district’s control, such as socioeconomic status. Despite limitations, the district prioritizes focusing on factors they can control, aligning with their commitment to strategic resource allocation and data-driven decision-making.
One element that presents difficulties in acquiring educational data is the costs and effort in leveraging commercially available data. While recognizing the availability of commercial products, Dr. Rico emphasizes the importance of tailoring data to meet the district’s unique needs, and he expresses gratitude for Alteryx’s partnership, providing expertise and support in navigating the complexities of data acquisition and wrangling.

Data’s Impact on Community and Students

The analytic efforts so far have created direct benefits for the community and students; Dr. Rico envisions that analytics will continue to drive education by personalizing learning experiences and preparing students for the real world. The real highlight is the ability to use real-time data analysis to catch students before they fall behind and track teacher attendance to enhance overall support and success.
Within the district, there is real excitement about using real-time data analysis to address deficiencies in student understanding and the implementation of student portfolios. The district’s one-to-one device program enables them to capture valuable data on student behavior, search patterns, and engagement, providing new insights previously unseen.


While there are many reasons to be cautious about the progress of public education, Dr. Rico is confident in expressing optimism about the future of education in his district through analytics. With Alteryx, the ISD is able to use data as a transformative tool that enables the district to extract meaning from existing data sources and navigate the complexities of education with a forward-thinking approach that, most importantly, is better at delivering educational success for the students and community they serve. Dr Rico emphasized the importance of sharing this story so that other districts can be motivated to unlock the power of data in transforming their educational approaches.