Wayman Services, LLC

Using Data as a Communication Tool

Did you ever think about educators using data as a communication tool? You probably have and you’ve probably seen it done. Or if you haven’t, it probably doesn’t come as a surprise that, if chosen well, various forms of data can help tell the story of a school or district.

But have you also thought about using the processes that support data use as a communication tool? For instance, goal-setting is often part of the data use process. A district, school, or even a collaborative group could collect these goals and issue a summary to say, “here are some things we’re working toward.” The growth plans for individual teachers are another example. Of course, we wouldn’t want to publicize individual teacher growth plans, but as a group, elements of these plans tell part of the story of teacher practice. The data that go along with these processes tell part of the story – and communicating these processes lends context to these data.

In communicating these processes, think about the larger message you’re communicating: “We think about our practice, we look at how we do things, and we collect information to help us get better.” It’s an opportunity to tell a story of growth. And it opens myriad opportunities to highlight what we do well.

I think I’ll have more to say about this in the coming months, because these ideas are part of two workshops I’ll do to help principals employ leadership strategies for using data. I’m interested to hear what our practitioners do with these ideas. I’ll let you know.

So that’s what I’ve been thinking about. Thanks for reading.