Embracing data
James McCoy
January 17, 2017

The amount of data that educators and administrators are gathering can be overwhelming. Everyone is hearing buzzwords and jargon about how they need to be doing more with data but what does that even mean?

My district, Lee County School District, was faced with the same issues three years ago. We turned to IO Insights by IO Education to help understand and make use of the data we were gathering. We started by integrating the system into the daily operations of our district. Here are four simple steps we implemented:

  1. Customized plans for all students. Plans are tailored to students’ strengths and weaknesses, providing challenge where they need it and extra attention where they struggle.
  2. Organize schedules so they are consistent across the school district. Students can easily transition from one school to another if they move.
  3. Create dashboards that allow staff to enter grades and see where they stand academically compared to others.
  4. Monitor progress. This allows us to see if students are on track or if we need to adjust instruction to ensure that they meet standards.

These small steps have had a huge impact. They have helped us shorten staff meetings; identify correlations between individual lesson plans and state action plans; spend less time collecting data; easily see if curriculum meets state assessment standards; and draw a clear line between teachers’ use of data and student growth.

Data is a powerful tool. We continue to look for new ways we can use it to improve how we educate our students.

Dr. James E. McCoy is superintendent of Lee County School District. Follow the district on Twitter at  @LeeCoSchools.

Tech Tips is a weekly column in SmartBrief on EdTech. Have a tech tip to share? Drop us a line at knamahoe@smartbrief.com

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