The Principal's Principles

A Middle School Principal, striving to make the world a better place, one day at a time.

#ocprincipals, in case you missed us.

In the event you wanted to attend, but could not make it, here’s what you missed at our chat last night. Hope to see you next time!

A Summary:

Participants from Oakland and Macomb counties, Missouri, and North Dakota joined us for the first installment of the #ocprincipals chat last night. Our topic, “Data: what do you collect, and what do you do with it?” generated an interesting discussion.

Our conversation opened by talking about collecting survey data, math and reading testing data conducted locally, attendance data (teacher and student), student grades, grade distribution, student discipline.

Data was used to form groups for remediation and interventions (part of the RTI process) or to shape school procedures. The idea of “math lab” classes came up.  The general “consensus” seemed to be that three data points were needed to put kids in an intervention. Interventions ranged from an entire semester to more of a fluid, short term approach.

Next meeting is January 8, 2012 at 8:00 in the evening. Topic will be decided via a poll beginning on January 4.

Things I learned that were interesting:

Fraser Public Schools has established a Letter of Understanding with their local Education Association that data will not be used as part of teaching evaluations. It has (according to our participant from the district) fostered good dialog between staff and administration.

We touched on report cards, agreeing it is time for a change. Central to this point was the notion that the data we gather being more significant than a simple grade. Birmingham is moving in the direction of a standards based report card.

Limelight, software where teachers build assessments that connect to common core and receive immediate feedback is being used in Oxford.

Student Response Systems were a topic, many agreed they are very valuable. Data is immediately available for teachers to analyze, some options export information directly to Excel. Several districts (Fraser, Lake Orion, and Oxford) reported using this software. Houston (MO), had a teacher who joined us late in the chat who is using cell phones for responses as much as possible.

Teaching teams are reporting out the discussions they are having at middle schools in Houston (MO), Velva (ND), and Lake Orion. In all three cases, administrators are using this information to meet with teams and introduce ideas.

Some Analysis:

When we began talking about what we do with data, our attention immediately moved to the kids that fall below our targets. Math labs, remedial courses, intervention groups were all aimed at kids who struggle. Is anyone taking the time to look at the kids that are far above the targets? If so, what’s happening?

What does it say when you have a group of school leaders talking about data and state assessments (which determine AYP, are printed in the newspaper, and are held up by legislators as evidence of how schools are performing) never came up?

Data discussion, interventions, feedback, and fluid groups came up. What do these efforts do for the culture and climate of our schools? You cannot have a Professional Learning Community without data.

Quote of the Night:

@DrDaveFPS A major key for success has been to have staff sharing formative assessment tools so they are reviewing common data in teams

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One thought on “#ocprincipals, in case you missed us.

  1. John,

    Great job in going the extra mile to summarize our tweetchat. I had several people comment to me today about our discussion who were watching the conversation “from afar.” Looking forward to the next opportunity. Dave

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