Top Five Takeaways

There were many great moments at the Ferguson Institute this year, from district assessment leaders discussing how they actively use data to define and solve problems to celebrating the successes of the Ferguson Institute Awards winners. Here are our top five takeaways from the first Ferguson Institute on the Evolution of Data:

  1. Tell a Story with Your Data 

    Storytelling with data and bringing emotion to the numbers is a more effective way to communicate findings than simply sharing numbers alone. 

  2. Belief Systems Are Essential but Insufficient

    Establishing belief systems is essential but insufficient. Setting high expectations, such as getting all students to grade level and committing to the effort needed to get there, is what matters more.

  3. Activate Your Data

    Finding ways to use data to transform practice and instruction is critical—don’t let data sit idly in the platform. Bring your data to life by identifying and using the right data to solve problems.

  4. Understand That Students Are More Than Just a Number

    Identifying students’ “tailwinds” (protective factors such as high socioeconomic status or high parental education levels) and “headwinds” (risk factors such as low socioeconomic status or low parental education levels) can unlock a deeper understanding of a student data and create a system of support to help students overcome their headwinds.

  5. It Takes a Village

    Engaging the entire community is key—students, teachers, leaders, and families need to be involved in order to fully support each student’s success.

Related Articles

Developing an Academic Improvement Index

Catherine Matthews of Everett Public Schools, Everett, Washington, discusses an effective way to use student performance data to identify and close achievement gaps in a school or district environment.

Read the Article

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

For two years in a row, Miami-Dade County Public Schools (MDCPS), Florida, has received an “A” rating from the Florida Department of Education.

Read the Article

Defeating the Predictability of Failure—Using Data to Shape School Culture

"Would you rather have headwinds or tailwinds?" Patricio Vargas, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services at Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District, California, posited this question as part of his captivating presentation.

Read the Article

Using Data with Equity Initiatives 

This panel presentation brought together educators from three school districts across the United States who are focused on using data to inform equity initiatives in their home districts.

Read the Article

Locate Your Representative