The School Leader and Effective Data Use

by WISExplore Team: Jim Lee (CESA 12), Lisa Arneson (CESA 3), Mary Ann Hudziak (CESA 6), Judy Sargent (CESA 7

Using the Wisconsin Framework for Principal Leadership, principal supervisors are encouraged to provide feedback on the evidence that school leaders understand and facilitate cycles of inquiry at the school level (see Figure 1). Internal and external accountability exists and can be a strong lever for improvement.  This includes the ability to facilitate leadership teams that learn and grow together.

Figure 1

Figure 1 for doc

Does your school have a data inquiry process to inform school improvement planning? Are teachers using data to inform classroom instruction? Have you ever conducted a practice inquiry to further inform your student data outcomes? 

School leadership teams have been busy this year -- engaging in data inquiry to inform their leadership and continuous improvement. Two cohorts of teams have been participating in the  Data Leadership Academy throughout the 2019-20 school year -- one in Green Bay and the other in Madison. This is the fourth consecutive year the Data Leadership Academy has been provided through AWSA.  Facilitated by the WISExplore Team (Jim Lee, CESA 12, Judy Sargent, CESA 7, Mary Ann Hudziak (CESA 6), Lisa Arneson (CESA 3), the Academy leads teams through powerful data inquiry to inform continuous improvement. 

Academy attendees who gain the most are school teams led by the school principal with teacher leaders and representatives of student groups. Effective teams vary in size from four to six members. There are four face-to-face sessions held throughout the school  year. Between sessions, teams practice what they have learned and implement inquiry strategies locally. Teams use technology -- laptop computers and LCD projectors to enhance collaboration during the sessions.

The Data Leadership Academy leads teams through an organized and structured process for data analysis, root cause analysis and investigation into instructional and leadership practices. Deep hands-on collaboration helps teams determine how to identify aligned evidenced-based strategies that will result in improved student success if implemented with fidelity. All teamwork in the academy is collaboratively documented in the Data Inquiry Journal, leaving teams with an online active journal for continued work. Led through a process that includes school improvement planning, teams can easily continue to follow a process through rapid cycles of improvement beyond the Academy.

In addition to engaging in a data inquiry process, teams  develop skills in planning and leading leading data inquiry processes in their schools. Leadership activities include conducting a data source audit, calendaring a year of data use and engaging in a variety of self-assessment data leadership activities. 

The 2020-21 Data Leadership Academy is already scheduled, and you are encouraged to be part of it.  Cohorts will be held in Oshkosh and Wausau. Visit the AWSA website for more information.  


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Elementary Edition - Secondary Edition - District Level Edition