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How new data analytics tools optimized my district’s IT workflows and staff hires

Discover the 3 best practices leveraged by one tech leader to deliver better solutions for students, educators, and staff.

4 min read


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Schools are facing intense pressures in the coming year. In fact, an analysis by a Georgetown University researcher claims that the 2024-25 school year will see a “bloodletting” in the education industry as the September end of federal COVID relief funding hits. 

Even with looming budget cuts — California alone faces a $4 billion cut in education — many school leaders are still struggling with crucial vacancies that need to be filled. Recent federal data on the public education workforce shows 45% of leaders said they were understaffed as the 2023-2024 school year began.

Clearly, administrators and department heads will have to carefully rationalize their budgets this year. It’s not surprising, then, that we IT leaders are laser-focused on making smart decisions around their resource allocations. Key to this will be leveraging data that can show the value of what we’re providing students and demonstrating the positive impact of any staff hires. 

As a long-time educator and administrator who has now transitioned into instructional technology, I’m passionate about finding ways to make effective decisions based on transparent, actionable analytics so that students, educators and staff get the critical support they need. 

Here’s what I’ve learned: The right approach and technology can help open doors to data-driven decision-making in ways that weren’t possible before. 

Supporting staffing decisions with data analytics

One problem we faced at Davis Joint Unified School District was a lack of visibility into the factors that were impacting our performance and results. Before the pandemic, most of our IT support was concentrated at our elementary schools, with technicians helping teachers with computer carts and labs. But once we transitioned to one-to-one, support needs at all levels rose sharply. 

Our existing site tech and support structure, however, did not allow for much beyond reactive technical support. By utilizing the data analytics capabilities of our tech support and asset management platform, Incident IQ, we were able to understand what was going on. We could then make proactive decisions that were data-backed and transparent.

For example, we saw that secondary school staff were now requesting much more support and training for classroom technology and digital curriculum resources. We also saw that help tickets from the middle and elementary schools were getting resolved almost twice as fast as tickets from secondary sites. 

This new information revealed an urgent need to restructure our support team. We decided to allocate team members where they were needed the most. We also used the analytics to advocate for hiring an instructional specialist for our secondary school, based on expected improvements in response and resolution time.

We’re optimistic that once we have this new hire on board, we will be able to respond to tickets faster and help students and teachers more efficiently. In addition, we could deploy the instructional specialist to train our tech specialists in digital curriculum tools.

3 best practices for using data analytics to improve performance

For school and district leaders seeking to integrate data analytics to make similar changes, either in IT or other departments, I would urge you to consider the following:

  • Take the time to really look at the data coming through. Dig deeper into the analytics to understand the reasons behind different performance results. Correlation doesn’t always equal causation.
  • Use the data to help your team grow. Don’t use data to play the blame game. Instead, use data to identify where changes can be made in team structure, job descriptions and performance expectations.
  • Encourage all staff members to use your reporting system. If your staff isn’t actually using the system, or is using it incorrectly, then your data won’t be helpful. The expectation should be full and accurate participation. 

Schools today are facing significant challenges in 2024, including shrinking budgets, staff shortages and greater student needs. Data analytics can help solve for these issues. Armed with better information, leaders are then empowered to make data-backed decisions that will positively impact their schools in the upcoming year and beyond.