This blog is part of a series on seven principles of effective data sharing, including contributions from StriveTogether’s Geoff Zimmerman and DQC’s Chris Kingsley; it was originally posted on the StriveTogether blog. Zimmerman uses the 90% by 2020 initiative as a case study for how strong leaders can facilitate effective dating sharing between school and community organizations to better support student learning.
Strong school and community leaders can create a powerful force for informed collaboration to better support students. The leadership table of the 90% by 2020: Anchorage United for Youth is an example of how a powerful group of leaders can help pave the way data utilization and community-wide commitment to improving education outcomes.
90% by 2020 launched Anchorage’s first community report card last fall. In a recent interview about this key milestone, Senior Director of Education Impact Kameron Perez Verdia told us he learned about a successful approach to community conversations from a local CEO on their leadership team. “His main takeaway was that we need to make it about them and not about us,” Kameron said. “How does this work impact you as a small business owner? How does this work impact you as a parent? How does this work impact you as a teacher or construction worker? He was really thinking about taking the key messages around outcomes and data and utilization of community resources, and making these conversations about the key people he was talking to. That’s where it becomes really powerful.”
Conversations around student data can be extremely challenging. And, many community organizations are unsure how to even begin to develop data sharing partnerships across organizational boundaries. When schools and local community organizations effectively share data, schools can better understand which community partners are serving students and help to align partners and resources. And community organizations have better information on the kids they are serving, which can help improve programming.
StriveTogether and the Data Quality Campaign (DQC) recently released Data Drives School-Community Collaboration: Seven Principles for Effective Data Sharing, a new resource to help communities implement complex data partnerships. A data sharing playbook for community partnerships, this resource contains seven key lessons about how to begin and grow a data-driven initiative with schools and other community partners. It also includes several case examples and resources to help guide communities.
Pave the way with leaders and decision makers is first principle for effective data sharing in the playbook. Decision makers, not data people, get information moving. And they do it when it’s in their own best interest.
Leaders involved in data sharing need to advocate for the use of data for continuous improvement, and for the legality, urgency and value of data sharing for the partnership. And to get there, just like the CEO in Anchorage did, each community needs to build these partnerships by understanding what’s in it for each of them.
It’s in this spirit that we need to pave the way with leaders and decision makers to create the structures for sustained data sharing across sectors. Sustained data sharing is the only way that communities will be able to know what practices are leading to improved outcomes so they can align existing resources to practices that are getting results.
When we develop policies or make decisions that affect students, we have to start with our values. This is true no matter if you are in the classroom or on Capitol Hill. For the first time, the education community has come together to affirm its commitment to the safe and effective use of student data and articulate common values to guide this work.
Last week at SXSWedu, the Data Quality Campaign (DQC) and the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) released the Student Data Principles, fundamental beliefs about how students’ personal information should be used and protected. Over 30 education organizations representing a range of perspectives and voices at all levels of the education system—from parents to school board members to state school chiefs—support these 10 principles.
Each of our organizations believes passionately that the use of high-quality education data are critical to improving student achievement and success, and that educational institutions and anyone who has access to students’ personal information must do everything in their power to ensure that information is protected and used to support students.
So what do the principles say? At a fundamental level, we believe student information should support student learning; foster continuous improvement; and inform, engage, and empower students, families, and educators. It should be accessible to parents, students, and educators; inform the professional judgment of educators; and should only be shared for authorized school purposes.
We believe anyone with access to student information should follow clear rules that are publicly available, only have access to the minimum data they need to support student success, and be trained to ethically and effectively use student data.
Finally, we believe institutions that collect and maintain student information should have somebody responsible for making decisions about student data, notifying the public in the event of misuse or a breach, developing security that follows industry best practices, andensuring families and students can easily have their questions answered.
Everyone has a role to play in safeguarding student data. With these values guiding our work, we are on a better path to support the ability of everyone with a stake in education to use data effectively to support student achievement.
For more information about education data privacy, see resources from DQC and CoSN.
New Book: How Do School Leaders Effectively Use Data to Improve Achievement?
In 2013 the Petworth neighborhood campus of Center City Public Charter Schools posted the biggest English Language Learner (ELL) achievement gains in Washington, DC. Through the use of data, teachers and other education leaders in the school found patterns that improved instruction by addressing the unique needs of each student.