The Data Quality Campaign today announced Goochland County Public Schools (GCPS) is the winner of the 2015 Flashlight Awards for District Data Use. The award recognizes one school district a year for its use of data to answer questions, empower educators, and transparently communicate with parents and the public.
“We are pleased to honor Goochland County Public Schools for creating a culture in which education data are used as a tool to empower parents and educators,” said Aimee Rogstad Guidera, president and CEO of the Data Quality Campaign. “Goochland leaders and teachers are now using data to help make the best decisions possible in the greatest interest of each student.”
Data are much more likely to be used—and to be used well—when they meet the needs of teachers, families, and the community. In light of this, GCPS’s three-tier approach to measuring student progress—student academic growth, social-emotional measures, and school climate—was created in collaboration with parents, school leaders, and the community. The district then crafted an action plan with key benchmarks and a data system to support and report their progress.
GCPS’s roadmap to student data success relied heavily on professional development and data literacy training for school leaders and teachers. District leaders rolled out their data-driven initiative slowly, to give teachers an opportunity to reflect, respond, and ask questions. They also specifically emphasized that data would be used as a “flashlight and not a hammer” to help teachers improve their impact on students success.
“Our culture is one of trust. We’re going to check our egos at the door and use this data to maximize the potential of every student,” said GCPS superintendent Dr. James F. Lane. “It’s a totally different conversation when you can peel away to a deeper level of detail, to help a parent really understand what their child needs to work on, as opposed to that they just need help in general.”
Today, Goochland teachers are better equipped to individualize instruction for students, driving their continued success and resulting in high levels of academic success for students. GCPS is 1 of 22 school divisions—out of the 132 in Virginia—to have had 100 percent of schools reaching full state 2014-15 accreditation.