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Making Student Data Part of the Conversation!

I’m sharing an article that tells the story of a school’s data journey. It is very typical of many schools around the world but also more challenging. A school that was once on the verge of being labeled under-performing, turned to data to move the bar on student success. It addresses the need of academic leadership and drive for change as a fundamental success factor in such a journey. Cole Young, the principal of Humboldt Elementary School, turned his passion for learning and data into a success story for the whole school. The journey wasn’t easy as the school didn't have a culture of data, and creating one was difficult, with school awashed with data and a degree of resentment and lack of direction among teachers. Young started by identifying key pieces of data that would be most useful for teachers. Humboldt staff met as a group to look at the numbers and talk about what to do with it, how it applied to research-based practices, and strategize collaboratively as a school. Recognizing different levels of Data Literacy among teachers was key as every teacher had a different comfort level when it came to data consumption. Other important aspects were to demystify the data, encourage transparency, and let teachers familiarize themselves with the data, making the process of using data collaborative rather than competitive. The article also provides great insight as to what tools, both external and internal, have been used by the school as well as how to start and maintain a data culture. Seeing the effects of regular use of data and having data-informed, data-rich conversations had an amazing impact on school performance and culture. Humboldt teachers have grade-level meetings every week to review their data together and strategize, as well as sharing tips and practices. "Teachers are talking data all the time," Young says. You can read the full article here.

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