How Coeur d’Alene Public Schools Uses Xello to Empower Students to Dream Big

An ‘antiquated’ paper-based system wasn’t living up to the district’s ambitious plans to equip students with a college and career program that would help them plan for their future.

The Challenge

At Coeur d’Alene Public Schools, helping students to plan for higher education is a priority.
“We want students to continue learning after high school—whether that be through college or training. We want to ensure they continue and have a pathway to move forward—that education doesn’t end at high school,” said Dr. Michael Nelson, director of curriculum for the district.
In 2019, the district-wide graduation rate was 90.7% and the percentage of high school students who continue on to college or professional-technical certification exceeded both state and national averages.
“[Our success] is a collaborative effort between parents and educators. Everyone in the students’ network is acutely interested in ensuring they’re prepared for the future. We want them to dream big and be equipped to achieve their academic goals.”
In order to succeed, they needed a tool that would tie it all together. Unfortunately, their paper-based future readiness system wasn’t able to keep up with the ambitions of the district.
“It was antiquated to say the least. Students would complete their four-year plans but, year-to- year, they would get lost. It was difficult for students and teachers to easily reference. Plus, they weren’t able to be changed or adjusted as students gained more experience,” said Nelson.
“We also had the Idaho Career Information System. This was good, but it only gave students in-state options. So, for example, if a student wanted to go to med school and become a doctor, they wouldn’t be able to fully explore that option, or the schooling required to get there, because Idaho doesn’t have a medical school.
“It was very limiting. It didn’t really let students aspire to more—and in our community it’s really important to show students all options. We want to encourage them to meet their full potential.”


Coeur d’Alene Public Schools




An ambitious career and college program needed an EdTech solution to replace a paper-based system


Xello helped modernize the district’s future readiness activities and gave parents and teachers line of sight to students’ plans

The Solution

Determined to find a tool that could empower students to dream big and educators and administrators to support them more efficiently, Nelson and his colleagues began looking for EdTech solutions that would interface well with Skyward, their Student Information System.
“From there, we started evaluating our program options. We wanted software that was friendly, engaging, and adaptive outside the classroom. Given how important transparency is to parents is in our district, we needed something that would give them visibility and help them see what their kids are doing,” said Nelson.
“We wanted to keep parent involvement productive. Finding a solution to get parents, students, and educators on the same page, and make communication easier amongst all groups, was key.”
Xello stood out for its ability to accommodate all of their needs—and then some.

Coeur d'Alene Public Schools
Student attendance rate
High school graduates enter college within one year (2017)
83 Million
Annual budget
Because we can start with students as early as middle school, they’re getting a head start on their four-year plans. Kids are filling them out earlier, starting to build resumes earlier, and have more time to establish their plan for success.
Dr. Michael Nelson, Director of Curriculum, Coeur d’Alene Public Schools, Idaho

The Results

As students began filling out their Xello personal profiles and learning about how their interests and skills can translate into future college and career pathways, teachers explored the possibilities for future readiness learning in the classroom.
“[Teachers] are actually able to know about their students before they even walk into the classroom. Because information is accessible from year to year, they have powerful insights about what makes students tick and can make instructional choices accordingly,” said Nelson.
“For example, if a student has indicated they’re interested in motorcycles or cars, our teachers can now tailor a math problem or other curriculum to reference motorcycles. It feels more relevant.”
For their part, students have begun planning for their futures earlier than they would have without Xello.
“They’re also engaging outside the classroom. We have Single Sign-On, so students can access their accounts anytime. We’re seeing them login outside of school and sharing with their parents. It’s really helped perpetuate the community commitment to student success.”
Today, students from Grades 8-12 at Coeur d’Alene Public Schools use Xello to discover careers that align with their passions and build an academic plan to get them there.
“Although there’s no silver bullet or one specific key to our success, I do think having the right tools for students and educators to use has been vital,” said Nelson.

That was Coeur d’Alene Public Schools’ success story—now it’s time to write yours. Learn how Xello can help students at your district get college and career ready. Book My Demo

About the District

Coeur d'Alene Public Schools is the sixth largest school district in the State of Idaho and the second largest employer in Kootenai County. They serve around 11,000 students in 18 schools: a developmental preschool, 11 elementary schools, three middle schools, two traditional high schools, and an alternative high school and dropout retrieval program. They offer student opportunities at a joint professional-technical high school campus (Kootenai Technical Education Campus) shared by neighboring school districts.