Data is Great, but Action is Key

By Dr. James E. McCoy
Educators and administrators are becoming overwhelmed with the amount of data points available to them.
As superintendent of the Lee County School District, it is my role to empower principals and teachers with the technology necessary to successfully execute our educational development plan while meeting or exceeding district, state and federal standards. As data continues to become more prevalent in the classroom, there are a few foundational points that we all need to consider:

  • lee-county-3Data in education is here to stay, we need to embrace it.
  • Applying early intervention correctly has a significant effect on trending results and graduation rates.
  • Teachers need tools that allow them more time to teach, not add time to updating databases and spreadsheets.
  • These tools need to be easy to use as well.
  • There is proof that evidence boards make a difference in confirming a student’s progress or identifying a plan when the student is struggling.
  • Transparency can create a space for healthy competition.

Taking Action

Three years ago, we chose to partner with IO Education and its IO Insights platform to help execute our educational development plan. The software allows our educators to get immediate analytics that are easy to understand and dissect, and then create early intervention plans with just a few short clicks.
lee-county-4By embracing data and a new platform, our educators have been able to customize plans for all students, provide consistent schedule updates, create evidence boards with digital media and have their work monitored by administrators.
For the first time, our educators have been able to take the data points they are collecting to create actions plans while showing an empirical correlation between individual lesson plans and state assessments. Over the last three years, we have seen measurable improvement throughout our school as a result of embracing data:

  • Teacher and administrator meetings are more efficient and meaningful allowing for more time for instruction.
  • Educators spend less time gathering data.
  • The data educators do collect is more accurate.
  • Educators can easily see if their curriculum matches up with the state assessments.
  • There is a direct correlation between educators who use the data platform and positive student growth.

lee-county-2For the upcoming school year, my staff will continue to implement data in our classroom through the introduction of staff performance functionality. This will allow us to ensure accountability for teacher performance through collaborative conversations to achieve growth.
In Lee County we took action–we put our data to work and our students are reaping the rewards. Do you have a similar data action plan in your school or district this year? Please share in the comments below so we can learn more!
For more, see:

Dr. James E. McCoy is superintendent of Lee County School District. Follow them on Twitter:@LeeCoSchools.

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