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?

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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.”

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“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.