Tools to help educators better understand what students need

Image Credit: Pexles

Although teachers tend to wear a lot of hats, they may be surprised to learn that they are also researchers. Teachers regularly collect and evaluate data from their students, schools, and classrooms.

Daphne Baxter, a special education teacher for elementary school students in the Hayward Integrated School District; collects data each day when she uses Anna Llenas ‘”Color Monster: A Pop-Up Book of Feelings”; to assess her students’ moods every morning. One young student pointed to a red monster in a book and said that he was angry; because his mother was angry when he put her on the bus that morning. Another student told Baxter that he felt scared like a grey monster because the air; cleaner in the corner of the classroom was making a noise he didn’t like.


Baxter says it is good that it takes time for students who practice tracing their names; if it means you are getting more information about where they are in their lives to learn that day.

“The regional curriculum is really dependent on children sitting and talking to each other; ” Baxter said of his class of 14 students. “Well, that won’t work. So, I would really like to rethink [their ratings]. ”

For Baxter, this change was made after reading the book “Street Data; A Next-Generation Model for Equity Pedagogy and School Transformation” by Shane Safir and Jamila Dugan. He is committed to redefining success in his class by focusing on interacting with students where they are; instead of setting curriculum standards that ignore the lives of his students.

elementary school

Data representation

Street Data encourages teachers to collect information in a “humorous, liberating, and healing way.” Schools often collect data – such as test scores, school fees or disciplinary fees – to identify shortcomings and pain points. The authors describe this as satellite data, which can be the sum of all the test scores or data points about how many students are arrested in a particular year. It focuses on patterns of success, equity and the preservation of teacher quality. However, two additional types of data may be helpful:

Map data is more focused than satellite data. It can be used to identify a skills gap, to identify teachers and school leaders in a slightly focused way. Examples include rubric scores and surveys for students, staff or parents. Road data illuminate the knowledge of students, staff and parents. It is quality, based on anecdotes, interviews and discussions to inform and shape the next steps. Although all three levels of data provide important information, in many regions satellite data is often readily available.

“The systems and structures are in place to get that data easily,” said David Haupert, principal of Hayward Unified School District. “It comes straight to the portal and has its own colors and is split.”

However, teachers like Baxter switch to strategies that provide road-level data or maps, using information from students to shape their learning skills.

“My job asks ‘How do I adapt and give them a place to live so they can work to the point where they can really reach?'” Baxter said.

Whole School Liaison Checker

New data practices are not only used in Hayward at the classroom level. Principal Haupert used map data to change the way his school collected students’ views on the school climate. Initially, only fifth graders were expected to complete the California Children’s Survey and very few ended up completing it. Haupert states: “It meant that in a school with 350 students, our understanding of the school environment was based on our understanding of the school environment in a study of about 12 to 13 students.

She and the other teachers are collaborating on a new school connection test and the well-being of all elementary school students that they will provide at the beginning and end of each school year. “Do you feel safe at school?” The new screen is shorter; more inviting and produces more powerful and meaningful data than results from the California Healthy Kids Survey, Says Haupert.

Also, While the new screen gets more feedback from students; Haupert has had to work with teachers to make sure they feel comfortable collecting data. “There are real fears about what this data will be used for. Will it be used to do something bad or bad? ” He ensures that when using unusual data practices; he is clear about his intentions and how the information will be used. That means building – and in some cases repairing – relationships that are often tense between teachers and administrators. “It’s not a ‘gotcha’, ‘” Haupert said of data collection.

Compassionate Conversations

So, With a view to building a culture of compassion and care; San Mateo High School assistant principal Adam Gelb relied on another road data strategy: sympathetic dialogue. Sympathetic interviews are a systematic way for teachers and administrators to listen; to what the student thinks about a particular challenge or topic the school wants to address. The teacher or school leader identifies at least five students who he or she thinks will bring important details; to the topic and each student is asked the same open-ended questions. “One of the most helpful questions for me as a question I ask my students or co-workers was to dream a lot with me; if you could change something about our school, what would it be?” So, more blogs will be coming in the Education section. Data are from QKD.

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