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A Glimpse into Data-Driven Instruction at a Big City High School

Data Isn’t Enough

Raise your hand if this sounds familiar: your district or school wants to implement data-driven instruction to help teachers regularly identify gaps in student learning, plan together to reteach, and personalize instruction for all students. Everyone envisions a smooth, virtuous cycle of information, reaction, and continuous improvement.

But it doesn’t quite work. Data reports arrive late, team meetings don’t seem productive, and teachers aren’t sure how to act on the results they see. Maybe teachers give daily “exit tickets,” or consult reams of data right before annual high-stakes tests—but don't use data collectively and effectively to shape instruction every 6-8 weeks to build student learning.

Data-driven instruction, like all crucial ed reforms, only works when the right pieces are in place. In our experience working with schools and districts, we’ve seen that this involves highly functional teaching teams, collaborative planning time, clear data reports, supporting structures for student intervention, and more. It means that school leaders are willing and able to reorganize their people, time, and money, to make data-driven instruction (or what we call DDI) a transformational practice.

Data-Driven Instruction in Action

Yet there are many schools that successfully practice DDI. So we at Education Resource Strategies (ERS) created a suite of materials to showcase exactly how DDI works at an example school and to provide district and school leaders detailed guidance on the resource implications of this strategy. Through the story of Queens Metropolitan High School, a diverse urban school in New York City, district and school leaders can:

  • See DDI in action: A short video highlights teachers and school leaders at Queens Metropolitan High School who show what DDI looks like in action at their school
  • Understand the fundamentals: An interactive presentation called a Prezi explores what DDI is and what it takes to do well
  • Do it yourself: A detailed “Best Practices Template” explores exactly what people, time, and money school leaders need to devote to DDI; common obstacles; a basic timeline; and more detail from our case study school—including sample artifacts such as a data-cycle calendar and corrective instructional plan

Strategic School Design in Action—The Next Generation

This suite of tools is part of our support for what we call Strategic School Design: the deliberate organization of resources—people, time, money and technology—to meet a school’s unique needs. In the coming months, we will add similar tools (videos, interactive presentations, and Best Practice Templates) for other design strategies to illustrate what they look like in action, and to unpack what resources are required to make them successful.

We want to hear from you on how to make these tools better!

  • What do you want to know about DDI that we currently don’t offer?
  • What other design strategies or building blocks should we create tools for? (You can learn more about all 12 Strategic School Design Strategies here.)
  • Do you know of public, urban schools that have seen great results as a result of their strategic design efforts? Refer them to us so we can profile them in future tools!

These tools and many other design resources will be ultimately be located on ERS’ new online platform called School Designer, which will be our hub for all things school design. Beyond housing our curriculum, we also use the platform to collaborate with and lead schools through our design process.  School Designer can also be fully customized to support any district’s design efforts, and will be unveiled later in 2015.

Join the Strategic School Design community

Sign up for our newsletter to receive a notification when this brand new platform and all accompanying tools are released to the public, and reach out to Genevieve Green at ggreen@erstrategies.org with any feedback or recommendations on our developing school design tools.     

A Glimpse into Data-Driven Instruction at a Big City High School
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