Gaining Knowledge to Take Action: Data Days at WMS
June 14, 2021
With proactive mindsets, eighteen Walton Middle School teachers joined together and rolled up their sleeves on June 9th and 10th to tackle data head-on to seek solutions to accelerate student learning. After a straightforward but inspiring pep talk by Principal Jason Campbell, teachers analyzed and interpreted K12 Lift data reports, looking for schoolwide, grade level, subject area, classroom, and individual student trends. In activities facilitated by instructional coach Kristen Nelson, WMS teachers from all content areas used the wise words of Maya Angelou to guide their thought work over the course of the two days: “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” As teachers gained knowledge from data and research, they charted it on a giant “Know Better” poster on the front wall. Then as they learned and brainstormed ideas and actions they could take to accelerate student growth, they noted those insights on a “Do Better” poster. Yellow post-it notes full of statistics, quotes, and ideas abounded throughout the room. Teachers collaborated about challenging but meaningful topics centered around one essential goal—setting ALL students on the path to success. Through the “think tank” style professional development session, teachers offered one another powerful and research-based ideas for school improvement in the 2021-22 school year. As Assistant Principal Scott Hulion thoughtfully listened, teachers explored how the data can now drive their professional learning, parent involvement, deliberate practice, classroom instruction, and curriculum decisions and initiatives as they move forward. Though students weren’t in the school building this week, they remained the beating heart of their administrators’ and teachers’ work. Though the summer is still young, the Warrior tribe already looks forward to the upcoming school year.