Contact Us

Iowa Department of Education leverages new Certification module for state reporting, P-EBT reporting

by Cedar Labs, on Jun 6, 2021 9:09:00 AM

The Iowa Department of Education (IDE) has always been a leader when it comes to progressive approaches to improving outcomes for students. So it should be no surprise their approach to data interoperability is cutting-edge as well. IDE leverages a statewide implementation of the Schools Interoperability Framework (SIF;, partnering with Cedar Labs ( to provide a data ecosystem that connects to every public and nonpublic school in the state, with real-time updates, over a modern REST API. This ecosystem has been in place since 2013, providing IDE with the flexibility to have up-to-date, accurate data for implementations such as a statewide MTSS software system and a single sign-on portal.

In 2019, IDE looked to create improvements in its state reporting process and they turned once again to Cedar Labs. Together, IDE and Cedar Labs implemented a new Certification module that gives districts a self-service software system to validate and certify their data. Hundreds of validations are performed on the data, all in real-time, ensuring districts and schools can easily maintain accurate data in their source systems. This new process is saving districts significant time and effort over previous methods of sending files back and forth with IDE. The process of validation and certification all happens before it’s delivered to IDE for critical reporting periods and the processing is all done in Cedar Labs’ cloud-native platform, so IDE is saving significant time and resources as well.

“IDE’s investment in a modern, flexible, efficient data infrastructure is paying off. Not just in the savings from improvements in leveraging cloud-native technology and implementing more efficient processes, but also in the ability to meet new challenges without significant additional cost,” reports Jay Pennington, Bureau Chief of Information and Analysis Services at IDE. “IDE is well-prepared for the challenges of the future and we are delighted to be partnering with Cedar Labs in this work.”

To that end, as the COVID pandemic hit states across the country have looked for a way to provide Pandemic-EBT (P-EBT) reporting to Departments of Human Services. This reporting is needed so students in poverty can be provided the same critical food aid they previously received in school while they attend school remotely. Accuracy and speed are paramount. Fortunately, IDE already had invested in a flexible, highly capable certification process for their state reporting. They worked with Cedar Labs to configure a new certification, this time focused on the data needed for P-EBT. Districts were already trained on this module, so rollout was very efficient and the level of support needed was greatly reduced since districts didn’t have to be set up with and learn a brand new system. Districts submit their data, review and resolve data validations, and certify their submission for transmittal all in a single, streamlined interface.

School district's view of Iowa P-EBT reporting process.

About Cedar Labs: Cedar Labs is an education software company based in Minneapolis, MN, focusing on education data integration and data privacy. Founded by educators in 2013, Cedar Labs serves over 3 million students across the globe, and supports the open standards and privacy movements in education through its leadership in organizations such as A4L and SDPC.

About Iowa Department of Education: Through leadership and service to the state education system, the Iowa Department of Education works to ensure all students are ready for college and career training and receive the postsecondary support they need to succeed. The Department provides oversight to the state education system that includes public elementary and secondary schools, nonpublic schools that receive state accreditation, area education agencies, community colleges, and teacher preparation programs.

For more information, contact:

Topics:Cedar Labs


CedarLabs in the News

Cedar Labs provides local and state education agencies and software providers with seamless, secure data interoperability across all software systems.

Subscribe to Updates