As part of a recent faculty meeting, we dedicated some time to look at our school’s data profile. Even though we have on-going data talks in our weekly collaboration groups [by grade level], the design here was to have large, diverse groups look at multiple data points.
I envisioned a large scale activity and knowing I would need help, asked for the help of some teacher leaders. Spring Lake MS is fortunate to have a large number of teacher leaders that are knowledgeable of the school and capable of conducting talks like this. Using teachers that have great relationship with the staff proved a great benefit. For this activity, I called some teachers currently in their school administration program and our school improvement team chair.
Alexis Bell – School Improvement Team Chair, 6th Teacher Natasha Brown – EdS Candidate, 7th Teacher
Stafford Daniels – MSA Candidate, 8th Teacher Angela Hurley – MSA Candidate, Health & PE Teacher
Venecia Morrison – MSA Candidate, CTE Teacher
Once we divided the staff into groups, they rotated through five stations that showcased different data ranging from big picture school data to gender/ethnicity group data performance. The facilitators kept discussions moving forward
I‘m a firm believer that data is a conversation starter and this activity drove that point home. The teachers came up with some great discussion points from this data. Some of the comments captured on our TodaysMeet were:
- The reason one grade level realized more, consistent success with our black males was due to the number of males on the grade level
- 7th grade is the first year students are allowed to participate in school athletics and become more active in school organizations and clubs. This should be an ongoing focus for our school
- Helping students become be better organized should be a focus our school
I‘m very happy with how well our talk went. The facilitators did a great job leading discussions and making sure relevant, thought provoking connections were made. We have to constantly remind ourselves that data should be a reflection tool for teachers. We should always use it to answer:
What can we do better?
What activities/practices do we need to protect or get rid of?
Using TodaysMeet helped with the engagement tremendously. Each group had one or two people using their smartphones to add content, thoughts and questions. When we regrouped, this content generated a lot of discussions. Modelling the power and benefit of this tool and others like it is our duty.
I‘m grateful for this hardworking staff. The honest and supportive dialogue is how we will continue to make a difference.