During eight days of seminar work, teachers, district administrators, and staff developers are learning how to investigate problems, look for solutions, and monitor change. The teams span the metro area representing public and parochial schools in Kansas and Missouri.
Ryan Knight, principal at Edwardsville Elementary in the Bonner Springs/Edwardsville School District said the sessions have taught him to be more visual with data. Being a first year principal, the experience has been a positive one.
"I have taken the discovery tools they have given us and done the exercises with my staff to get them in the mode of discovering data. Then once we get in the discovery mode, we work together to find those holes in curriculum and instruction," Knight said. "The great thing about it is it is totally teacher driven. The teachers are driving the professional development and that is key."
For Karla Leibham, associate superintendent for the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, the sessions have given her a multitude of ideas to pass along to her staff, which is important for a district that has 47 schools and 16,000 students spanning northeast Kansas.
"We have always believed in data driven decisions," she said.
Leibham is passing along the Using Data concepts to her principals, who then in turn, will train teachers.
While the Using Data sessions have extremely beneficial, Liebham said the networking opportunities have been just as important.
"What was really valuable to me was the collaboration between Catholic and public schools. We just don’t have that many opportunities to collaborate because of the nature of the beast. But this provided a wonderful opportunity for us," she said.