How do we ensure that our students are ready to thrive in the world around them? What is data and why is it not a scary thing? How do we use data well in order to guide our work and improve the learning our students undertake? How do we get past the “Culture of Nice” in many of our schools?
Data is one of those things in many of our jobs that is needed, readily available, but not always handled well. Data and assessment are huge in a school setting, and are everywhere, once you wrap your head around a bigger picture. We need to define data as not just the summative, big Provincial Achievement Test data that we get every year, but can be the formative assessment of examining daily student work, projects, inquiry and thinking, ability in specific skills, missing knowledge or proficiencies, etc. Already, “Data” does not feel so scary…
Adjustment Cycle Improvement Process – Utilizing Data to Steer Improvement…
- Prepare – learn to work together
- Inquire – learn to see and seek the truth
- Act – zero in on the right thing
In looking at how Keeler School utilizes data and works within our improvement process, I am seeing that just providing time is not enough for this work. The learning, as an instructional leader, will also be in guiding and understanding effective processes for working through the Adjustment Cycle. ACE (below) will be a cultural shift, whose foundations are already in our work, but will need to be worked on and fleshed out in order to help us, as a whole staff, to look closely and critically at the learning of our students.
ACE (Habits of Mind for Improvement)
- Shared Commitment to Action, Assessment and Adjustment – What are the deliverables? Learner Centered Problem then Action Plan
- Intentional Collaboration – structuring conversations to leverage collective wisdom
- Relentless Focus on Evidence – grounding statements in evidence and making decisions based on data/evidence
Next step: How do we set up the application of the “What” (Adjustment Cycle) and the “How” (ACE – Habits of Mind for Improvement) at Keeler School and within the CBE?
Many of the participants here DO NOT have a specific improvement process for their school or district, which surprised me greatly. Thankfully, we are not starting from Ground Zero and there are great steps we can take to go to the next level. This means that we, as a leadership team, need to start looking at our Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) and Creating Innovative Learning Opportunities Time (CILO) differently and set up our staff for success in the process, which will then lead to improved student learning at Keeler!
My insight, in the end, is that if we build in the time, which does not necessarily mean that improvement and growth will automatically happen without guidance and leadership. School Instructional Leaders, we have work to do…
Work hard, learn tons…