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Sing the praises of your staff while “de-personalizing” the use of data for teaching and learning.
As a former school principal (and current trainer of principals), I often hear well-intentioned teachers talk about the drudgery of using data to drive classroom instruction. If you are facing these objections – whether rooted in “data phobia” or a cynical perception that “regardless of the data these kids can’t learn” – then you need a strategy. This post will show you my three favorite ways to get help from the “data champions” among your staff to get reluctant teachers on board with data-driven instruction.
The theme of all three of these methods? Showcasing and celebrating the work of those teachers who had successfully used formative assessment data to make real gains in student achievement.
My top 3 ways to celebrate data champions, with examples:
1. Celebrate achievement throughout the school
School and classroom data walls, assemblies, special lunches; whether big or small, celebrate it all! Example: Create a colorful and engaging math data wall outside of the main office or cafeteria and call it the “Learning Showcase”; a place where students, staff, and families can visibly see student achievement!
2. Support new learning and professional development
Schools that learn and grow together, succeed together and the students benefit! Showcase PD accomplishments from staff both within the school and outside the school as well. Example: Once a month, allocate the first 3-5 minutes of a faculty meeting or a grade level team meeting to allow staff to share and discuss professional development opportunities essential to their growth.
3. Invite staff to be the “Sage on the Stage”
Provide opportunities for staff across all content areas to showcase their successes using data to improve student achievement. Many specialists teachers also have great ideas that can be used in classrooms. Example: Once a month, add an “Each One, Teach One” segment to your routine staff meetings. This will be an opportunity for staff to share “strategies that work” with each other, thus strengthening your school community.
Why this works:
Celebrating your data champions can offer your staff the opportunity to share their expertise, while creating an environment of data driven instruction. Once teachers begin to learn from the successes of their colleagues they’ll be more willing to work collaboratively to understand the power of using data. Naysayers will join the movement. Soon they too will experience success using data to improve student achievement, and become data champions themselves!
Want to see what is possible? Here’s the story of a school that turned around their state test scores in less than 1 year after getting the staff into a data-driven mindset. And here’s another one.
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About the Author
Marlon Davis is a school turnaround specialist who trains principals on leadership, parent involvement, change management, and data-driven instruction. A former teacher, school principal and charter school executive director in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Mr. Davis holds an M.Ed. in education leadership from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.
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