Big Wins in the Little Things: Data Improvements for Key District Operations Webinar

Are you looking for ways to use data to identify key problems with simple solutions? Do you need examples for building tools and processes to address those problems and measure impact?

In our last webinar, Adam Kishel, senior data analyst at Lawrence Public Schools—a 14,000 student district in MA that’s been widely hailed as a turnaround success—and Vlad Gutkovich, district partnerships lead at Schoolzilla, shared how to achieve big data wins in small steps.

Here’s an overview of a few of the customized chronic absence and enrollment dashboards Adam has created to improve efficiency and efficacy in Lawrence Public Schools. For a more in-depth look at Adam’s dashboards, please watch the full webinar recording below.

1. Chronic Absence Status: School Comparison Dashboard—Used by Lawrence Public School’s district-level attendance officer, this dashboard shows students who are chronically absent—identifying who they are and showing where they’re located on a map. After reviewing the dashboard, the attendance officer can determine which areas of the city have the highest chronically absent students and plan which areas to visit.

LawrenceDashboard1

2. Section Enrollment Dashboard: With its highly mobile student population, Lawrence Public Schools needed a way to efficiently place students in the right schools while ensuring that the schools and classrooms had the capacity to accept the students. This dashboard enables the enrollment officer to quickly see if there is space in any of the sections, who the students are who are currently enrolled in each section, and where the students in each section are located geographically on the map.

LawrenceDashboard2

3. School Zone Dashboard: During summer placement, Lawrence Public Schools found that some schools were accepting more students and becoming overcrowded. This dashboard helps place students in the correct zone before the start of the school year by showing which students (based on their addresses) will be attending which school. It also displays alternate schools so the enrollment officer can see if there’s another school that is closer.

LawrenceDashboard3

Click below to watch the full webinar recording!

10 Simple Strategies for Holding the Best Data Day Ever

Leading a data day (or any session that relies heavily on data) is no easy task. From preparing an effective presentation, to delivering the session with relevant and timely content, to following-up with attendees to ensure data conversations are continuing well after the session has ended.

In our last webinar, Steve Taylor and Sara Coffin from Schoolzilla shared 10 simple strategies for leading a successful data session. Check out the video below to hear how schools are implementing these best practices to spark and maintain engagement during their data days.

 

Using Data to Pursue Equity in Schools

Schoolzilla is proud to support a growing community of educators who are committed to using data to pursue equity in their schools. There are many ways to define and measure equity. To take one example, Equal Opportunity Schools is a national nonprofit organization focused on the important issue of access to advanced courses, which can lead to higher engagement and better postsecondary outcomes for students.

At the core of EOS’s mission is the fact that students of color and students from lower-income families are less likely to enroll in Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses. These “missing students” create a national “enrollment gap” that contributes to systematically worse educational outcomes for those students compared to their wealthier, White, and Asian-American peers.

Like most equity-related issues, this is a complex problem rooted in historical and structural trends. However, it’s also an immensely important problem to solve.

EOS takes a data-driven approach to helping schools confront their enrollment gaps. The first step involves a “gap analysis” (see image below) to identify the size of each school’s enrollment gap.

As you can see, EOS uses the enrollment rate of medium- and high-income White and Asian students as the benchmark for all other groups. From there, they’re able to calculate the number of “missing students” from other demographic categories. This begins to give schools some measurable enrollment goals to help close their enrollment gaps.  

EOS Gap Chart

In our experience at Schoolzilla, real change occurs (and the real work begins) when teachers and administrators are able to have data-driven conversations about their challenges and opportunities.

Using the enrollment gaps identified by EOS, teachers and school leaders can consider questions like, “What would it take for each teacher of an AP prerequisite to get five more students from these underrepresented groups to register?” and from there, develop concrete plans to make their schools more equitable.

Elizabeth Sykes of EOS says that “bringing data to the table is what enables these conversations to start and flourish.” To learn more about EOS’s approach, check them out at eoschools.org.

We’d love to learn about your school’s challenges and successes with equity. Join this conversation!