200 Data Champions Connect, Develop, & Take Action: DCS ’16 Highlights

Riddle me this: Where can you find exhilarating trivia, over 200 Data Champions, intense corn hole tournaments, and a live student band?

Answer: Schoolzilla’s 2nd annual Data Champion Summit! (We even had to move venues this year after doubling in size from last year’s Summit!)

Thanks to the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation’s generous support, the Doubletree Berkeley Hotel was the destination hotspot this last week Feb. 16-18, 2016 to connect with K-12 data enthusiasts. One attendee described #DataSummit16 as a gathering of like-minded people at the intersection of data and education with space to discuss shared issues and possible strategies to tackle those issues. Truly a community.”

What could compel all of these intelligent, fun-loving, and compassionate Data Champions to show up at DCS 2016 with smiles on their faces?

Maybe it was the sweet notebook and T-shirt swag? Or the spiffy buttons that you could proudly deck out your lanyards with? Or the breathtaking view of the San Francisco skyline above the Berkeley Marina waterfront?

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More likely, it was the shared bond of being with people who really got you, your passion for helping kids, and your hunger for data. Data Champions continually noted how refreshing and energizing [it was] to be at a conference so perfectly matched to what I do.” 

Tuesday, Feb. 16th, 2016 | Welcome Reception with Trivia 

With Data Champions arriving from all parts of the country, there was no rest for the weary as DCS 2016 kicked off with brain-boggling trivia questions and enviable prizes (everything from color-changing coffee mugs to gift certificates).

When I arrived on Tuesday, I immediately felt like I was an integral part of something.”

Wednesday, Feb. 17th (Part 1) | Let the learning begin!

DSC_0076Wednesday morning, everyone arrived bright-eyed and ready to enhance their technical skills, develop professional leadership skills, or take a deep dive into particular data domains.

“It was such a fantastic opportunity to catch up on technical skills, think about some of the bigger questions, and connect with and be inspired by other folks and the work that they’re doing as well!”

Check out Wednesday’s session highlights and resources on the Hub!

Wed., Feb. 17th (Part 2) | Data Block Party!

After a day jam-packed with thought-provoking sessions and insightful discussions, it was time to unwind at the Data Block Party!

Wednesday evening shenanigans included:

  • High-tension Jenga showdowns
  • Intense corn hole rivalries
  • Fabulous prizes (FitBit, OpenTable certificates, and Beats headphones!)
  • And, to keep students at the core of why we do the critical work we do, an amazing performance from the Oakland East-side All Star Ensemble, a local student band from Oakland Tech High School!

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Thurs., Feb. 18th | Sending off our Data Champions with new tools and insights on using data to change students’ lives

Thursday morning, we were back at it, pushing each other to answer hard questions and develop new ways of looking at shared challenges.

Thursday’s sessions and resources are shared on our community Hub. A few highlights below:

As a scientist by training, I found myself being drawn to the science-fair-like sight of all these Data-Driven Educators and Data Bosses collaborating and sharing dashboard best practices at the Data Champion Reports Showcase!

Looking back, how did DCS 2016 achieve its goals of helping attendees Connect, Develop, & Take Action?

Join the community and achieve your goals

DSC_0999“I really value the collaborative aspect of the Data Champions Summit. I love to connect with folks doing similar work and talk about similar challenges and potential solutions.”

“I walked away with more advanced knowledge of Tableau, troubleshot a couple critical issues we’ve been experiencing with a few of your Schoolzilla folk, met at least three folks I’ll be following-up with, and just generally had a great time.”

Take Action
“The energy, enthusiasm, and ideas for using data to make better schools was just what I needed to help craft a plan for our district that will endure.” 

See everyone next year!

DCS brings our community of Data Champions together to have critical data conversations about how we can most effectively leverage data to change student lives. “Data is not the answer. It’s a hint, a way to start the conversation.”

Strengthened by our diverse experiences, perspectives, geographies, and school system contexts, it’s evident that we are Better Together as a community.


Product Spotlight: Chronic Absence Dashboards

“Across all grades, students who missed more than 4 days at the beginning of the school year were over 16 times as likely to be chronically absent than students who were absent fewer than 2 days.” (Olson, 2014)

“Nationally, children from families with low socioeconomic status with strong attendance gained more literacy skills than peers from families with higher socioeconomic status.” (Ready, 2010)


While working with a school in CA, we heard a need from principals to better track chronically absent students. Therefore, we created the Chronic Absence Dashboards as a tool for school leaders to dive even deeper into their attendance data to visualize which students are most chronically absent and at-risk, carefully assess their interventions, and take action in contacting parents.

 “[Schoolzilla] recently gave me the world’s best custom chronic absence report and my principal loves it. The report inspired the idea of specifically tracking consecutive absences.

Case study how we improved absence records

What problem was the district trying to solve with their Chronic Absence Dashboards?

  • A better way to track student absences: Principals wanted to better understand which students were missing school, how many days they were missing, and whether there was a pattern to their absences.
  • An easier way to analyze chronic absence data, connect with parents, and see if their interventions are working: Principals were noticing an increase in the number of students who are absent from class, but were having trouble assessing: who the students were, how many days they were missing, and whether they were missing the same day every week or month.
  • A more concrete way for school leaders to share information: Principals needed a way to visualize chronic student absences so they could inform their superintendent about which students were at the greatest risk and present their plan of action to correct the problem.

Standout Features:

View students* by attendance rate: View count and list of students who were absent within the last month, and which students were absent X (e.g. 2, 4, 10) or more days within the past two months, etc. 

Chronic Absence Report
View attendance by day: The calendar view shows if there is consistency in student absences. Are students missing the same day every week or month, or the days before a holiday and/or weekend?Attendance by Day
View Recent Attendance: From the “Recent Attendance” column, principals can see if the interventions they’ve implemented are working. Has chronic absence status decreased since they intervened? Or do they need to take further action?

Student by Attendance Rate

Contact Students’ Parent/Guardian: After analyzing the dashboards principals can immediately intervene with their chronically absent students by sending a letter home, phoning students’ parent/guardian, or scheduling an in-person meeting. By clicking on the students’ names, principals can see all of their contact information including parents’ names, phone numbers, and email addresses.

Student Contact Info

Looking for more information about Chronic Absence? Join us on Wednesday, March 9th for a webinar hosted by Schoolzilla’s own Jason Dolan and Bryn Murray. Click here to register today!

* Please note, information presented is not reflective of actual student data.

Additional Dashboards to See How Chronic Absence is Affecting Your Schools

Schoolzilla’s dashboards offer many different views of chronic absence data, enabling you to dig even deeper to see the root causes of absences and create more effective interventions. Click here to sign up for more information.


DCS Session Preview: Assessments as a powerful professional learning tool for teachers

With Schoolzilla’s Data Champion Summit just a week away, we’re gearing up for an amazing conference packed with robust professional learning and networking opportunities. To deliver the most relevant and impactful sessions, Schoolzilla has teamed up with other experts in the field to provide deep dives into specific domains of school data and management. Here’s a sneak peak at one of our featured sessions from the experts at Achievement Network (ANet).

Do you want to transform your data meetings into powerful professional learning opportunities for teachers? Do you want to help teachers see assessments and data as tools to help them build their own understanding of the standards and reflect on their teaching practice?

Tests are designed to measure what students have learned, but they can also be  a powerful learning tool for teachers and leaders, in which they can deepen their understanding of the standards and reflect on their instruction. In their session titled, Flipping the way we think about assessments: Assessments as a powerful professional learning tool for teachers, ANet will help Data Champions uncover connections between assessments, standards, and instruction.

This session will focus on one purpose of assessments and data that can often be overlooked: their ability to help teachers deepen their own understanding of the standards and reflect on their own teaching.


Dual purpose

At the Data Champion Summit 2016, ANet will provide attendees with the opportunity to learn more about using assessments more effectively to impact learning not only for students, but for teachers, too. Please join us on Thursday, February 18th from 1:30—2:45pm and discover how you can learn the most from your assessments!

If you aren’t able to attend the Data Champion Summit (or even if you’re already registered) and want to get a jumpstart on learning more, Schoolzilla’s Formative Assessment dashboards are a great place to start!


Meet Your Presenters:

  • Carlon Myrick, Director of New Partnerships with Achievement Network, former instructional leader, and ANet coach
  • Tim Suba, Director of New Partnerships with Achievement Network, former instructional leader, and ANet coach

More About ANet: Achievement Network (ANet) is an edu­ca­tion non­profit that helps schools boost student learn­ing with great teach­ing that’s grounded in stan­dards, informed by data, and built on the suc­cess­ful prac­tices of edu­ca­tors around the coun­try.