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Welcome to the Istation Blog

by Photo of Andi Diaz Andi Diaz on September 9, 2021

Topics: Data

Learn How to Perceive Data as a Helpful Tool

Creating a data-driven culture in your school district has always been important, but now it is even more crucial due to gaps in student learning exacerbated by the pandemic. As a district leader, you strive to support a district-wide culture that utilizes student data in an effective and consistent manner.

The delivery of data can inflate or deflate the culture of the entire school district. Therefore, there is immense pressure to deliver the data to all stakeholders and create a culture that perceives data as a helpful tool.

To build a healthy data-driven culture in your district, consider these 3 keys to success: modeling effective data use, supporting educators, and implementing ongoing professional development.

3 Keys to Creating a Data-Driven Culture

1. Model how to use district data.

Modeling the importance of using data to make district-level decisions is a key component in fostering a data-driven culture. According to a case study conducted by RAND Corporation, modeling effective collaboration and data use is essential to instilling a culture that is intentional in implementing data-driven instruction and decision-making. Making data-informed decisions at the district level places emphasis on the importance of assessment data usage and effectively supports a culture of data.

When modeling the expectations for the district’s data utilization, communication is a critical component in establishing trust and buy-in. It is imperative to communicate to all stakeholders that data is not a punitive measure.

Istation professional development managers Julie Kalinowski and Sabrina Jones explain in a podcast that district data is a tool for growth. Once district stakeholders and school leaders understand and trust that data is an asset, you will see increased buy-in for a data-driven culture.

2. Support administrators, school leaders, and teachers with the right tools.

Supporting a data-driven culture requires providing administrators, school leaders, and teachers with the correct tools. Being able to access and understand student assessment data is imperative for growth. District leaders can support a culture of data by putting the correct frameworks in place through analysis, understanding, and effective use of data.

Tools like Istation help district leaders create these structures. With powerful progress-monitoring tools for reading, math, and Spanish literacy, data from a whole classroom can be analyzed instantly. From there, educators can determine next steps for how and when instruction should take place.

Other structures of support may include district leaders conducting walk-throughs in each school. These can happen multiple times throughout the school year so that the district leader gets a sense of how instruction is being delivered in classrooms.

Objectives and things to look for during these walk-throughs should be based on data results. At the end of the walk-throughs, data-focused and honest conversations should take place with teachers and administrators.

Again, it must be communicated that this is a tool for growth; it is not a punitive measure. Everyone should walk away from these meetings with practical takeaways for improving student growth.

3. Implement ongoing professional development.

Implementing a data-driven culture should also incorporate ongoing professional development opportunities. It is imperative that district data be used to determine the types of professional development to implement. These opportunities should be provided for leaders and teachers to increase their knowledge and awareness in utilizing and understanding data.

It is crucial that district leaders attend and participate in the professional development sessions to support school leaders and teachers. They can also assess whether additional support and training events are needed. Istation offers professional development opportunities with dedicated experts who create tailored blueprints designed exclusively to help educators reach their goals. Istation’s professional development team members customize both in-person and virtual learning opportunities to meet the goals and needs of your district. 

To promote student growth and success, creating a data-driven culture is non-negotiable. Successful data cultures begin with district leaders and cascade throughout the entire school district if leaders participate in modeling effective data usage, analyzing it for decision-making, supporting educators, and implementing professional development.

Learn more about implementing effective strategies in your district by watching our on-demand webinar “From Information to Insight: Creating and Supporting a Data-Driven Culture.”

Watch the webinar.