Three tools to help teachers better understand what students need

Street Data encourages teachers to collect data in a way that is “humane, liberating and healing”. Schools typically collect data – such as test scores, attendance or discipline rates – To identify deficits and pain points. The authors describe it as satellite data, which can be the sum of the test scores of the whole grade or the data points of how many students will be detained in a given year. It focuses on achieving achievement, equity and teacher values. However, two additional types of data can help:

  • Map information There is more focus than satellite data. It can be used to mark skill gaps, pointing out a slightly more focused direction to educators and school leaders. Examples include rubric scores and student, staff or parent surveys.
  • Street information Enlightens the experience of students, staff and parents. It relies on anecdotes, interviews, and conversations to inform and shape qualitative, next steps.

Although three levels of data provide important information, in many districts satellite data is usually the most readily available.

David Haupert, principal of the Hayward Unified School District, said, “There are systems and structures in place to make that data easier to access.” “It comes directly to a portal and it is color coded and isolated.”

However, teachers like Baxter are moving toward strategies that provide street or map level data, shaping their learning experience using information directly from students.

My job is to ask, ‘How can I accommodate them and give them a place to live so that they can work at a level where they can actually achieve?’

School-wide connection screener

The new data practice is not only being used at the Hayward classroom level. Principal Haupert is using map data to change how his school collects student input about the school climate. Initially, only fifth graders were expected to complete the California Healthy Kids Survey, and very few students were able to complete it. “This means that for a school of 350 students, we based our understanding of the school climate on a survey that probably took 12 to 13 students,” Haupart said.

She and other teachers have collaborated on a new school connection and wellness screener for all primary school students that they will offer at the beginning and end of each school year. The survey asks questions such as “Are there any adults in the school that I believe have a problem to talk about?” And “Do you feel safe at school?” The new screener is shorter, more inviting and creates data that is more powerful and meaningful than the results from the California Healthy Kids Survey, Hoopart said.

Although the new Screener received more feedback from students, Haupart has had to work with teachers to make them feel comfortable collecting data. “The purpose of this data collection is to determine whether we meet our annual school goals related to student climate,” said Haupert. “There is a real fear about what this data will be used for. Will it be used to say I’m doing something wrong or bad? “He assures that when applying unfamiliar data practices, he is clear about the purpose of how the information will be used. The relationship is often full of relationships. “It’s not ‘gutcha’,” Haupart said of data collection. “It’s really about testing our students.”

Empathy interview

In an effort to build a culture of empathy and care, San Mateo High School assistant principal Adam Gelb relied on another street data strategy: empathy interviews. Empathy interviews are a specific way for teachers and administrators to listen to how a student thinks about a specific challenge or topic that the school wants to address. An educator or school leader identifies at least five students who they think will bring important insights into the subject and each student is asked the same open question. “One of the most rewarding questions for me as an interviewer is dreaming with me to ask students or co-workers: What if you could change something about our school?”

Based on the feedback from the interview, Gelb and his colleagues chose to take a closer look at them. Grading and assessment practice. They continue to consider how grading can be made more equitable and how to ensure students have access to the materials and support they need to complete their assignments. For Gelbe, empathy interviews were more effective than sending a survey to students because they provided more insight into the subtleties of individual student experiences. For example, a potential first-generation college student who was out with COVID for 10 days could talk about things that might lose or flatten general survey data, Gelb said.

As a school, they have set aside time to come together to discuss the next steps in changing their grading practice. “[We’re] Taking a really deep dive and taking a closer look at how certain teachers feel about their grading practice, reflecting on them publicly, then breaking down into smaller groups, saying, ‘OK, what practices do you think you really need to hold?’

Sympathy interviews have also entered the San Francisco Unified School District, where Presidio Middle School principal Emma Dunbar and a number of academics have spoken to their most marginalized students about literacy. They asked questions like “What helps you feel confident talking in class?” And “How is the class formed so that you can talk about what you are learning?” Students who participated in the interview said that they enjoyed classes where they could share their ideas, but said that they did not have the opportunity to share their perspectives. “Everyone interviewed students about reading and then deliberately chose literacy strategies to respond to what they heard from students.” Even the PE department has developed a literacy strategy that highlights the ways you listen with your whole body through active listening and body language.

“It’s important to be able to go back to the students and let them know we still have questions about what we’ve heard, what we’ve been able to do and what we haven’t been able to do,” Dunbar said. They are still willing to continue sharing their views, even when their response is not immediately implemented. Nevertheless, the sympathetic interview and the access it has given to students’ voices has helped them to serve their students better. “We have consistently seen literacy increase over time and have conducted sympathetic interviews again.”

Kiva panel

Marlowe Bagsick, an 11th grade English teacher at Peninsula High School in Burlingham, California, was attracted to collecting and sharing street data to speak to the needs of students in the district. Since Peninsula High School is a consistent school that caters to off-track students for graduation, Bugsick says there are often stereotypes and misunderstandings about who the students are and how they can be served. He is familiar with creating space for student voices in the classroom. “But often when you come to a big meeting and look at the satellite data, it gets lost in translation,” he said. “So what street data helps is that it focuses on our students’ voices and experiences and realities.”

Bagsik students recorded a Kiva panel – a convenient discussion with a diverse group of participants – to capture students’ input about their learning environment and what they want to see going forward. Students answered questions such as “Have you experienced discrimination during your schooling experience?” And “Does inequality come from colleagues, employees, systems?” And “How do you feel about your current site?”

They revealed that many students have forgotten and felt isolated at many points in their educational experience. The Kiva panel recording has been shared with more than 600 district and school staff Many were surprised when they heard that students did not think they had a relationship with previous school site staff or that they had not been seen by teachers or administrators. It also highlights the humanization and relationship building practices of Bagsik and other teachers to create a safe and caring place for Peninsula High School students. “I think it really affected the community a lot because it showed them what it takes to centralize the voices on the edge,” he says. “Often school is not a place that equals weakness.”