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Company claims school district copied data visualization platform

A Las Vegas data analytics company has served the Clark County School District with a cease-and-desist letter, charging that the district copied its data visualization platform and barred schools from working with the company.

The letter from a law firm representing Data Insight Partners alleges the company lost contracts with schools to provide data services after CCSD central office teams created an internal data platform that copied the company’s screens, interface and look and feel — and then directed schools to use that instead.

In doing so, the letter alleged, the district violated the company’s copyrights and Nevada’s large district reorganization law that allows schools to procure services from sources outside the district.

CCSD representatives said the district does not comment on pending or potential legal matters.

Data Insight Partners was co-founded by two former district employees: Nathan Trenholm, once the district’s director of assessment, accountability, research and school improvement, and Justin White, formerly a coordinator of data services.

Trenholm told the Review-Journal on Wednesday that the duo left the district shortly after the reorganization law passed with the hope of working more closely with schools on their data needs, creating dashboards that monitored student progress, absenteeism, test scores and more.

At one of the first schools they worked with, attendance at parent meetings soared after Data Insight Partners began creating reports for families about their students, Trenholm said. The company eventually had contracts with 37 district schools.

“We’re building a product that helps them communicate with students and parents,” he said. “We’re not building it for data analysts; we’re taking data and making it easier to have conversations with students and parents.”

But over the past year, Trenholm said, principals told the company that the district was working on a redesign of its own data dashboard and that their requests to renew the Data Insights Partners’ MyEducationData platform had been denied. Meetings with higher-level district officials to demonstrate the company’s products also evaporated without explanation during this time, Trenholm said.

When the district’s dashboard debuted, Trenholm said he found several features that he alleged ape the MyEducationData platform, including the navigation panel, overview pages, logo and functionality.

Trenholm said the company believes the similarities stem from district teams reviewing the MyEducationData platform at partner schools and then copying its characteristics. He pointed to a February 2019 School Board meeting in which district staff said that a new data dashboard was a priority but that they did not have the internal expertise to build it.

“This is not a coincidence. This is not just the way data is presented because they already had a way they were presenting it,” Trenholm said.

The letter from the company said the lost contracts with schools cost Data Insight Partners hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Trenholm added that he and his business partner want the district to stop what he called infringing on the company’s copyright and to stop interfering with schools who wish to do business with Data Insight Partners.

Contact Aleksandra Appleton at 702-383-0218 or aappleton@reviewjournal.com. Follow @aleksappleton on Twitter.

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