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School Data Rooms Bring Data Out of the Drawers and Into the Open

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The data that school administrators collect is excellent however, they usually end up storing it - literally. The accountability and assessment movements are pushing schools to get it out of drawers, however, and put it out in the open. Some schools are going one step further and have created school data rooms where teachers can access student data in an easier and more accessible manner.

At Gilliard Elementary School in Mobile, Alabama, color-coded sticky notes are found on the walls of a space called "the data room." The notes inform teachers where their students are on math and reading standards as well as their attendance and discipline records.

The goal is to assist teachers to understand and address the needs of students before they become out of control. For example, if a student hasn't met their reading goal the teacher might offer additional instruction in class or work with that student outside of school. If a student has issues with their behavior, the teacher could recommend counseling or even remove the student from class.

Baker's method is to have teachers acknowledge their students' accomplishments by putting data in the spotlight. In the spring of 2013, a homeless student proudly announced that he had met his reading goal.

Before you make the leap to a data room for your school, be sure you can protect student privacy and follow FERPA guidelines. This is especially important for data displays in the classroom, where sensitive details like counseling sessions and disciplinary actions can be accidentally shared.

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