Last year our building conducted a climate survey. To no one’s surprise, teachers were struggling with lack of time, lack of authentic collaboration, and being buried under mountains of data yet no information. How could the leadership team support teachers in their collaboration process, professional development, and using data to inform instruction?
Enter the Data Team Meeting! Our building leadership team dedicated a pile of money to hire substitutes. Teachers could be released for a ½ day to plan, collaborate, review data, and develop into an authentic PLC (Professional Learning Community).
You could even check out my Powtoons video about our process here:
These were our objectives for the day:
- To collaboratively identify how best to meet the needs of all students.
- Develop a common language of instruction.
- To understand that looking at data collaboratively provides a method for evaluating and modifying our instructional practices to meet student needs.
- To support all students and staff with resources and experts in our building through a collaborative process.
Not only were classroom teachers part of this Data Team Meeting time, but also the school Psychologist, Counselor, Resource Room Teacher, Assistant Principal, Principal, and me (Reading Specialist).
The ½ day was divided into 3 sections:
- Review the goals
- Participate in a data protocol
- Team collaboration time.
After reviewing the goals, we participated in a data protocol called Team Analysis of Common Assessments (or TACA…because we need another acronym). This was a protocol developed in the White River School District and brought to our district by a data fan (our Assistant Superintendent).
The thing that is beneficial about this protocol is it takes a team away from admiring the problem (oh, all those low kids that we can’t reach…) to solving the problem. The time constraints move you quickly from looking at what the students don’t know to what to do about it. It also addresses students who are high achieving and need enrichment opportunities.
As a team, we practiced the TACA data analysis protocol with a set of data the teachers were using for their TPEP goals.
As teachers discussed students and talked about additional strategies and resources, someone on the leadership team took notes for future reference.
Quick aside: This year we started actively using Google Docs and Google Sheets. At these team meetings, teachers could all look at the same set of data, sort, adjust, and ‘play’ with the data. It made preparing for these team meetings easier for me (no stacks of copies of data) and easier for the teachers. The data and decisions from the day are now electronically stored and ready for access.
The ½ day ended with each team spending 30-60 minutes debriefing and planning. Some teams spent the time looking at common assessments they’d like to use for our next team time. Some teachers took time to look ahead in math and ELA to plan lessons that would best meet the needs of students. Many teams talked about moving students to improve our RTI (Response to Intervention) services.
At the end of the week we asked teams for feedback on the process. One teacher said, “This was great. If my daughter was struggling at school, I would want a whole team of teachers like this, thinking and planning for how to best help her.”
That’s the point of education, right? For teachers to teach kids what they need. This Data Team Meeting time allows for the time and space for teachers to do their job.
Do you participate in a PLC? What structures are in place to make it meaningful to you?