During the last week of September, two fellows from the Harvard Graduate School of Education visited Lubbock Independent School District for their first of four planned trips in 2013. While there, the Harvard Fellows worked with 13 of LISD’s elementary and middle school campus principals and the school’s leadership teams.
The work the Harvard Fellows are doing with the schools focuses on the Data Wise Improvement Process, an eight-step cycle for using test data to improve teaching and learning, created by Harvard instructors Kathy Boudett, Elizabeth City and Richard Murnane.
First it Organizes teacher collaboration by creating a common language and space for teachers and “teach teams” to talk about data. Data Wise then helps these teachers move into the Inquire phase by taking the large amounts of data provided and boiling it down to determine trends and priorities teachers need to Act on by implementing instructional improvements.
“The Data Wise Project has been incredible! I have been an instructional coach on my campus for the past eight years and a vital part of that job is professional development,” said Stacey Hensley, Instructional Coach at Parsons. “In recent years, we would look at the same data over and over that seemed to draw that same conclusion; students are struggling with summarizing and inferring. We would then go on the hunt for the perfect strategy or book that would ‘fix it.’ When our school was given the opportunity to attend the Data Wise Institute this summer, our leadership team was re-energized! Our teachers had been doing several of the steps in the Data Wise process (we just didn’t have a label for it), but now we ALL have a common goal, a common vocabulary and are working together to solve the problem instead of depending only on the leadership team to find a new strategy that will work! It is new territory for me to stand in front of my staff and ask questions that I truly do not know the answers to, but some of the discussion and further questions that have come out of this process have been amazing….and we are only on Step 4!!!”
Parsons will now begin to create an action plan for teachers to focus on how they are teaching their students to apply the knowledge they’re taught.