A Superintendent with a Focus on Data

Guest Correspondence

Image courtesy Pixabay.

In business, data is extremely important to making effective decisions of all kinds and increase growth. Data with both good and bad numbers are vital to identify what is working and what is not. In the past, the Superintendents of Schools in Sarasota after Lori White retired in 2017 would primarily focus on the good data, breeze through the bad data and not really acknowledge problems, let alone develop solutions.

It is a new day in Sarasota County, with a new Superintendent who has vocally expressed that this will be a data-driven district with goals based upon results. It is a great practice and keeps traditional public schools competitive with charter schools and the growing population of private schools. 

The Superintendent has not even been on the job for 100 days, but his proposed annual evaluation tool articulates the objectives based upon key performance indicators and measurable goals.

In his first year, this academic year, while he gets his feet under him and gets to know the district, he has some key objectives to start using data to improve academic outcomes: 

  • Develop a system of monitoring school-based instructional practice to improve student achievement.
  • Develop a revised strategic plan that aligns priorities to enhance academic outcomes.
  • Implement a revised organizational structure to align support for increased student achievement.

In his second and third year, the superintendent is expected to have some measurable results based upon key performance indicators:

  • Improve the overall district ranking as calculated by total points earned within the state accountability system.
  • Increase third grade reading proficiency or ranking.
  • Increase overall grades 3-10 reading proficiency percentage or ranking.
  • Increase overall math proficiency percentage or ranking.
  • Increase reading lower quartile growth percentage or ranking as compared to school year 21-22.
  • Increase math lower quartile growth percentage or ranking as compared to school year 21-22.

This is a great start, and the fact he proposes to make himself responsible for these objectives sends a message to the rest of the district, from the Landings to the schools, that we will use data to determine our focus and measure how we are doing. It mandates a positive movement and improvement in academics.

These unifying objectives are important to become a serious competitor for the number one school district in Florida. Improvement in these areas will be instrumental in getting us there. The Argus Foundation has been a staunch supporter of publicly examining our schools’ data. We are encouraged by the new data-direction of the School District led by new Superintendent Terrence Connor. We are excited to see the results. 

Christine Robinson is Executive Director of The Argus Foundation.

Image courtesy Pixabay.

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