A LYS Principal shares some of the difficulties of actually being data-centric.


Elephants are fighting and the grass is suffering. I have attempted to work within a system for many years with the hope of improving student learning. I had some successes and many learning opportunities. Two years ago, my superintendent encouraged us to work not only “within” the system but “on” the system as well.

Through the lens of the Foundation Trinity, my systems approach became more targeted and refined this year. I finally felt that the years I spent in underperforming schools and redesign were coalescing to finally reveal a solid foundation, an operational system. Instead, as is so often the case, it is two steps forward, one step back.

All year we have used the Foundation Trinity to guide and evaluate our efforts and decision-making. Frequent formative assessments are alive and well on our campus. We are getting better each day. We know more about our fragile students than we have ever known. We know more about our instructional practices than we have ever known. I was informed today that the student information system we use to create, analysis, and disaggregate our CBA data would no longer identify Socio-economic status. We can no longer monitor our ED students in the same fashion and ease we have done in the past. The same students the State holds us accountable for are now the very students we can no longer monitor with our current system

I am currently attending a seminar on Formative Common Assessments. Our presenter (like you) has said multiple times… data needs to be assessed quickly and in a coherent fashion in order to make timely adjustments to instructional practices. But right now, I can’t get data that was available yesterday. Does anyone not on a campus actually understand what we have to do?

SC Response I feel your pain.  Early on, I too recognized the disconnect between the mandates and goals that I was required to fulfill and the inadequacy of the tools I had at hand.  Which is why even now, the true campus-level data geeks still rely on their notebooks and excel spreadsheets.  I wish I had a better solution for you, but most electronic tools that are provided to campuses are like Swiss Army Knives, seemingly the answer to everything without providing a practical tool for anything.  The good news is that you and your staff are operating at a level of awareness where you recognize the problem.  Sadly, too many of your peers don’t even realize that there are any ramifications to the change.  Which means that though they may talk the talk, you have been walking the walk.

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