Schoolzilla has multiple ways to connect to a data source. When determining the best connection method, we look for a connection that is secure, reliable, allows for frequent data pulls, and pulls enough data to help schools access the data they need in the Schoolzilla dashboards.
The four most common ways we connect to data are:
- An open database connection (ODBC)
- An application programming interface (API)
- A secure file transfer protocol (FTP-S)
- Files uploaded directly via a My Data form on your Schoolzilla site
Please see below for more information on each method.
This connection allows Schoolzilla to pull all available tables and fields within a source. An ODBC is how we commonly connect to student information systems (SIS). If a school system has multiple instances of an SIS, each instance will require its own ODBC. Information/credentials* needed to connect via ODBC include:
- VPN client
- VPN credentials
- Server IP
- Database name
*Specific requirements may vary by vendor.
APIs allow Schoolzilla to pull a pre-specified set of data from a vendor. This is typically used to connect to some student information systems and behavior tracking systems. Connecting to a source via API requires an access token and transmission protocol (usually an HTTP request). Importantly, APIs vary in the data access they afford.
We can also bring in data using our file upload process via My Data on your Schoolzilla site. Users with a Schoolzilla administrator role can go to their Schoolzilla site and upload files from their local drive. For example, this is how Schoolzilla connects to California schools’ state test.
FTPS allow the transfer of files by districts to Schoolzilla to be loaded into the dashboards. This is common for high-frequency connections such as assessment data updated frequently (e.g. i-Ready) and file-based student information system connections.