A campus data room is a very powerful place. It can also be a place of intimidation. If a campus has and effectively uses a data room campus scores will increase. This belief is support by Education World article Using Data Rooms to Map Your Way to Success. There is no doubt in any educators’ mind about the power of data driven decision making. So why are so many teachers reluctant to embrace the concept of a data room?
An Instructional Data Room is not an, “I got you!” place nor is it a “Let’s document and get rid of Ms. Can’t-teach.” If a teacher is struggling they don’t want all of their colleagues to see it posted big as life on the wall. Yet there it is plastered in a form that feels bigger than life.
Seven steps to creating the positive climate of your data room:
- Create a climate of team work, to move the data in the direction that the campus wants to go.
- Post your values and the collaboration norms for all to see. Teachers and staff need to know who you are and what you stand for. They also need to know the rules of engagement to avoid hurt feelings.
- Arrange the room in a warm collaborative way. Include a few positive posters and an air freshener.
- Add a touch of you the campus leader to the room. - I love tea, so I always had a pretty tea set and a pot of tea available. When things got tense in the room because of the data, I would pour tea for the teachers and refocus on the data and solutions, not the person.
- Always explain what is non-negotiable. Teachers become upset when they work hard to create a plan only to find out that they cannot implement it. Let them know upfront where their hands are tied.
- When you see the team is swatting at gnats, ask those thought provoking questions that will help them refocus on what is the big issue. Yes, gnats can be annoying, but if you get rid of the source the gnats go away.
- Add some of the equipment teachers need on a regular basis. The copier, the grading machine, the laminating equipment, and poster maker, will get them to come into the room on their own in a non- threatening way. Teachers love to read, so when they are in the room making copies or laminating they will read the walls of data.