New data use plan personalizes learning

Timeline set for strategic plan, levy decisions

A new data use plan known as the data warehouse that is expected to go live in February was discussed Thursday by the Independent School District 834 School Board.

The plan’s goal is consolidating collected student and district data in one place to monitor student progress over time and discover ways to improve their performance. It will also be used to help the district identify areas where students are either struggling or doing well so those issues and areas can be recognized or worked on.

“This new system will allow us to shift more of our focus to usable data to inform student learning in an ongoing and impactful matter,” said Director of Secondary Schools Mike Redmond. “The new technology will also allow data to be accessed with increased speed and quantity for more efficient access to data.”

The new system allows teachers a more intuitive way to look at data. At an Oct. 25 board learning session, Coordinator of Student Performance and Assessment Chris Balow said 24 data categories could be fed into the data warehouse, establishing a baseline such as MCA tests, assessment tests and qualitative tests.

“We do have a wealth of data and continue to do so,” Redmond said Tuesday. “Not all the data will be based on quantitative or standardized tests. As we move forward we hope to find a common way to enter data into the system that focuses on curiosity development. We hope to find a way to measure this, along with the other things in our mission statement, that focus on student growth.”

Strategies for implementing the system in addition to teacher training are:

n Creating a data summit in the summer to identify specific processes for analyzing data and using it to reach goals.

n A fall classroom teacher achievement analysis where teachers analyze the data and tailor it to their classroom.

n A winter resource allocation meeting where leadership will meet and determine where district resources need to go.

n Creating a district benchmark review in the spring to ensure they’ve met their goals or what can be improved.

Redmond said the overall goal of the new system is increasing student learning on a personalized level. Teachers could access reports with one click and pull up a roster that can be viewed by those involved in the student’s life. Students and their parents could access the profile, while counselors, coaches and administrators could add to the student’s personal profile.

The profile will follow an ISD 834 student throughout their education career. This allows those involved with the child to determine what past learning interventions have worked and better understand what the student needs from their classroom.

At Thursday’s meeting board learning session, Superintendent Corey Lunn presented a draft strategic direction and possible budget reduction roadmap intended to guide the board in their planning decisions. With the current operating levy expiring in 2014, levy recommendations won’t be made until the spring.

Action team planning for the district’s strategic plan has already started and those plans will be presented in February for board approval.

Cost centers are expected to be set up for expert stakeholders at the elementary, junior high and high school levels this month. Experts include school leaders, staff and PTO/PTA members.

Lunn said the cost center groups will have power and decision-making abilities and make two revenue cost lists addressing either levy approval or rejection by voters that determine what needs to be done and the effects on schools. The cost centers’ lists will include staff and community input and a final product will be presented for board approval in late December or early January.

A technology audit is expected to begin in December to see what equipment is needed and how some schools in the district compare to others. Other parts of the timeline include facilities planning, site planning and public communication.

Board budget and levy decisions are expected to take place in March or April.

“We don’t technically have to make a decision on the levy until August, but I think we need to do it in March or April so our outreach efforts to our community members can start early,” Lunn said.

Failure to renew the levy could result in $11 million dollar in reductions in addition to the $6.4 million in cuts that took place this school year.