Fantastic presentation by Gail Zeman, a consulting School Business Administrator, titled "Working Smarter: Demonstrating the Links between Dollars and Diplomas." She says that districts can focus on using their resources more effectively by clearly identifying a problem that needs solving, determining the context (within the district? between districts? over time?), and then finding the right data (DESE? Dept. of Revenue?). What should be done with the information once it's gathered? First, develop tables and charts that organize the data; second, determine how the data is answering the question(s); third, decide whether you've asked the right questions/used the right data/drawn the right conclusions; fourth, get feedback from stakeholders; fifth, formulate a plan based on verified conclusions; and finally, take action.
Take-aways: What are the questions that help us solve problems (and are those questions directed at student achievement)? Do we have enough staff to dig into the data to help support answers and solutions? How do we prioritize?
Margaret Raymond Driscoll is a nine-year Melrose School Committee member who is passionate about excellent teaching and learning for all public school students, and considers it a privilege to collaborate with others who share that passion. You can also follow her on Twitter at @MargaretDrisc. Just to be clear - opinions expressed here do not represent those of the Melrose Public Schools, the Melrose School Committee, or the Massachusetts Association of School Business Officials - they are hers alone.