Archive for April, 2013
I recall reading a story about the ill-fated Mars Orbiter that bounced off the atmosphere of Mars rather than firing its rockets and descending carefully to the martian surface. However, despite numerous checks and detailed planning by the engineering teams it was a simple unchecked line of data that caused the $125 million spacecraft to be lost. In the end NASA discovered that two teams of engineers were using different units of measurement; one in metric and the other using imperial measurements in their navigation calculations. It is a reminder that having the correct data is vitally important for success. Obviously, although schools don’t deal with $125 million spacecraft we do deal with valuable human resources. As such, we gather a tremendous amount of data which is used to guide school and classroom level decisions. We regularly gather data about student achievement, attendance, extracurricular involvment, student supports and discipline. We also gather student data related to our school goals including their engagement in school. This information is then reviewed by administrators, teachers, consultants, superintendents, and other stakeholders so as to develop and look for ways to improve the learning for students at our school.
Some of our most important data is gathered in March and April of each year. During this time we gather student course requests for the next school year and parent feedback through the School Community Council and Tell Them From Me survey. The student requests are a critical source of information as they identify student interests and trends in regards to course needs. In fact, the requests students make are the largest driving factor in our school timetable from year to year. So for any students and parents reading please remember to complete your requests if you have not done so ;). Our School Community Council also begins to review their annual activities and review proposed school policy changes that may occur for the new school year. The Council also has the first opportunity to review the feedback provided in the annual Tell Them From Me surveys.
This short blog post is far from exhaustive about what data we use at Peacock but hopefully gives readers a small glimpse of the value of information plays in our decision making. Thank you in advance to all those parents who completed the Tell Them From Me survey this year and participated in our School Community Council. The feedback you provide to us is valuable. Like the lesson learned by NASA without such deatiled information we run the risk of missing our mark.