Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Data Boards at Gladys McDonald School

WHAT NOW?  Assessment, Action, Achievement!

Since our GMS team started to work collaboratively, we have continually looked for ways to use data to inform our instruction. Together, we realized our past way of collecting data (in files that collected dust) was not making a difference in our classrooms and started to seek a method to organize the information in a simple way that would impact instruction and achievement.

After much collaboration, we decided to take action to track our student’s literacy achievement on data boards.  Our initial thoughts were nothing more than tracking achievement to ensure that every child was progressing. However, once the boards came to life, they brought out an outcome we could not have foreseen.

GMS – Primary Data Board December 2012

GMS – Primary Data Board March 2013

Our data came to life. Our teams poured over student achievement and instantly connected to each and every student. Our staff was inspired. Our achievement was increasing right before our eyes… 
But to our surprise, some learners that we were not concerned about…did not progress.

Those are the students that once “slipped through the cracks”.
This begged the question…”What do we do?”

“Now What” conversations became imperative because there were little faces sitting right below the “Beginning” category on our boards. Our Common Collaboration meetings took a new shape once again.  Collaborative teams began to take action. They were sharing ‘Best Practice’ strategies in a very purposeful manner. They started to make time to observe and provide feedback in each other’s classrooms to impact their own practice and that of their colleagues.  They developed and monitored “Targeted Intervention Plans” for each student still in the beginning range.  They made no excuses and kept their focus on options.

As a result, our Consultants and Student Achievement Teams were called upon for focused guidance and support. Recess Reading Clubs were developed. Parent Workshops were held. Mentorships were formed.  Leveled Literacy Intervention supports continually grew. New programs were piloted. Division office staff were called to the table for support.

Our data boards gave us easy access to evidence which we used to base our decisions, request supports, set meeting agendas and they inspired our team to ensure we are moving every student towards personal excellence! This has been exciting work!

Those students following the upward trajectory became a cause for continual celebration. All staff watched the climb each time another assessment was administered; be it the Fountas and Pinnell , Vernon, VAA, RAD or ORR. Assessments became responsive and were happening without being planned or without additional prep time. They became a part of the work our teachers were doing within their daily guided literacy groups. Our teachers felt confident they were responding to student needs. Our students felt confident because we were celebrating and sharing growth.
Celebrations continue to echo through classrooms and hallways. Our students feed off of the excitement from the staff about achievement and in turn consistently brag about what they read last night, a strategy learned or about a story they wrote. Our staff is motivated by the information they have gained, by growth they have witnesses and by the ease in which report card comments were to create because of their knowledge. Now they are eager to start Numeracy Data Boards in the 2013/14 school year.

 Our team believes the data boards have acted as a catalyst to help develop the culture in our building. 

We implore every teacher…leader to start small (even if just
 in your own room) and watch the growth occur right before your eyes!

If it is your passion to improve student achievement…please consider reading “Putting Faces on the Data” by L. Sharratt and M. Fullan and come join a GMS Collaboration meeting to see it in action!
                                                                                                ~ GMS Assessment Team

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