Leveraging District Data Chats to Guide Changes in Instruction and Operation in Schools

Presented by Lisette Alves, Miami-Dade County Public Schools, FL

For two years in a row, Miami-Dade County Public Schools (MDCPS) has received an A rating from the Florida Department of Education. From 2017–2018 to 2018–2019, the district went from having six D-rated schools to one, and 99 percent of all schools are were rated A, B, or C as of the 2018–2019 school year. As Lisette Alves, Director of Curriculum at MDCPS, acknowledged, "This doesn't happen overnight. It takes years of putting systems in place, and everyone in the school system—parents, teachers, principals, everyone—has to ensure that student achievement is the singular focus." Alves went on to explain the MDCPS Data Communications (Data/Com) process the entire district has embraced.

“This doesn't happen overnight. It takes years of putting systems in place, and everyone in the school system has to ensure that student achievement is the singular focus.” Lisette Alves, Director of Curriculum


“You can’t expect what you don’t inspect,” Alves said. Data/Com in MDCPS epitomizes data-driven decision-making, and it is a data-based management system used by Superintendent Alberto Carvalho and his executive team to monitor fragile schools’ immediate instructional, circular, and operational needs. Data/Com is a live, in-person event that happens three times a year—before school opens in August, October, and early winter. Principals from the lowest performing schools are invited to come to Data/Com, where they have the opportunity to discuss their school’s data and goals. The principal must prepare a data-informed request in advance and can ask the district leadership for what their school needs in order to be successful (e.g., teachers, technology, help with English Learners). The superintendent and his cabinet also need to prepare in advance so they can ask any clarifying questions. All data is on the table, including academic data, demographic data, attendance data, and state test performance data.

By bringing everything to light and giving access to requesting the right resources, Alves believes this process shows the principals that district leadership truly cares. Alves closed out her presentation by emphasizing the importance of actually using data to transform practice and instruction and not letting it just sit in a platform.

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