By Meghan Daniel, Product Owner at Eidex
I learned early in my science teaching career that if my students weren’t engaged and truly connected with the learning journey we were on, there was no way we’d get anywhere. My method was simple: find the story to tell within every event. What was the data trying to tell us? How was the evidence supporting our claim? How did reasoning allow us to avoid an ever-present plot twist? Most importantly, how did they connect to what they were discovering? I looked to lead my students by equipping them with the skillset and mindset to evaluate the complex and move forward. Additionally, by asking such questions, students realized there was much more to data than just numbers and charts. These questions allowed for a new way to connect, to humanize and truly create relevance to the work in front of them.
As I transitioned from the middle school classroom to the broader classroom of adults in professional learning, I discovered that “finding the story” held an equal, if not greater value. As educators, we are asked to analyze and evaluate complex issues full of variables at a rapid pace. Even more challenging is the weight that such analysis and evaluation can often carry. Supporting this pace and brevity of impact can feel overwhelming, to say the least…especially when we consider the critical importance of the question that follows: How, as leaders, do we facilitate difficult conversations and ensure we have the full story behind the success of our students?
To facilitate difficult conversations, we must be well-equipped with data from every angle. In fact, Kouzes and Posner share in their work, The Truth About Leadership (2010), that exemplary leaders enable others to act by building cultures of trust, collaboration, and mutual respect. The team at Eidex became devoted in their efforts to help leaders move forward with their conversations and help foster the environment in which highly accountable teams could function. And, in doing so, PRISM was born.
PRISM, the newest data analytics tool from Eidex, is helping leaders and educators alike, uncover the full story for each district, building, teacher, and student. PRISM provides timely insights around attendance and behavioral tends, offering educators the opportunity to be proactive in their efforts. Additionally, by leveraging local and state assessment data, a broader picture can be integrated into the full understanding of student success. Data, easily accessible and understandable at a glance, thus allows for the gathering of evidence to craft accountable talk amongst colleagues.
During a time when extensive change is occurring around educator evaluations, the idea of data so easily accessible may cause fear amongst teachers. In her newly published book Uncommon Leadership: Live Well, Lead Strong for Courage and Integrity, consultant and well-known leader, Debbie McFalone, PhD, encourages Uncommon Leaders to intentionally act to alleviate fear and anxiety by doing something as simple sitting next to (not across from) teachers when reviewing data. Asking questions like: Who is the student? What do we know about the student’s daily academics, behavioral trends, and attendance? How do her results compare with that of her peers? Is this her full story? These are all questions that can be used to help guide the conversation.
Leaders, both Exemplary and Uncommon, are faced with challenges each and every day. It is an honor to work with a team that believes deeply in supporting those daily efforts. PRISM is here to help you tell a story – the full story from every angle.
Meghan Daniel is the Product Owner at Eidex. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303.827.5485.