Hundreds of Data Champions move “Towards Equity” together at Summit 2018
March is always one of Schoolzilla’s most rewarding times of year! Why? It’s the time we get to gather with data champions to share best strategies, strengthen skills, and thought partner with a collective of leaders that are eager and intentional about the work they do on behalf of students each day. Each year, we try to make the Data Champion Summit experience new, so for our fourth year, we completed a three-state tour!
This year, education leaders and data enthusiasts from all over the United States met us in Berkeley, CA, New York City, NY, and Detroit, MI, as we moved “Towards Equity,” a theme extended from our central core value “Equity at the Center.” As we know that race, family income, ability, home language, and zip code too often predict educational outcomes, identifying and addressing areas where educators need better support to further equity in their schools is crucial. Coupled with the current state of data in education, we were compelled to make this our focus. Experiences for Summit 2018 were designed to push attendees to explore ways to identify and address inequities facing the students they serve. Days were designed to be introspective and interactive to encourage intentional thought work, thought partnership, and collaboration.
Because we believe in the power and potential of young minds and that remedying equity gaps takes the inclusion of those who experience them, we welcomed students themselves to the stage. In New York, students discussed the education policy issues most important to them, in Berkeley, student shared their own research on their peers’ experiences at school, and in Detroit, debaters faced off to argue for and against equity-related data-sharing policy.
It was such an exciting time to gather and collaborate in these different spaces, as each location offered unique historical contexts and opportunities for national and local collaboration. We are so appreciative of our sponsors, our partners, our inspiring speakers, as well as, each and every data-driven, passionate attendee. There are so many favorite moments we could share, but we’d have to keep you forever if we listed each one! We hope you enjoy these highlights and are inspired as much as we have been!
- Our first stop of the Summit ‘18 tour was “The Big Apple.” Fifty-three data champions met us for two half-days in Lower Manhattan, New York City, where we were hosted by our co-sponsor, Kinvolved.
- One data champion plans to take “so many things” back to their organization, “from K-12 and Fountas+Pinnell reviews to AP potential. [I received] especially valuable insight regarding interrupting discourse when someone speaks about others in an inequitable way.”
- Another was happy to learn “different ways of look at and using data,” and to apply “different ways to break it down to look at equity.”
- Our next stop was a return to The David Brower Center in downtown Berkeley, CA! While the sun didn’t follow us back this year, the rain did not stop more than 79 data champions from enjoying two days of collaborative learning.
- One of our data champions shared: “I appreciate how explicit the through line of equity was and I plan to go back to my team to think about how to make equity an explicit part of our work without being a buzzword that has little meaning.”
- Another appreciated that sessions were “pushing us to have the courage to examine unfavorable data and to share it.”
- Our final stop was Detroit, MI, where we 37 data champions convened at the beautiful Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. Data champions were offered an exciting opportunity to tour The Wright’s amazing exhibit, “And Still We Rise: Our Journey Through African American History and Culture.”
- We were happy to have Detroit Public Schools Community District’s new superintendent, Dr. Nikolai P. Vitti, as our keynote speaker for the morning. EdSurge covered the event and included some of Dr. Vitti’s remarks about Detroit Public Schools Community District’s efforts to fight chronic absenteeism.
- One of the data champions here left recognizing the need for “a greater criticality of data” and stated, “I see how much weight is placed on data, but we need to use it to ask questions rather than make assumptions.”
- Another is “planning some site visits with new support friends” and taking a “strength-based approach to looking at data” moving forward.