Leveraging Peers and Data to Improve a School
Today’s guest post is written by Lori Zaimi, principal of Peirce Elementary School.
I’m in my second year as a Chicago Public Schools principal. Having started as a teacher 17 years ago, I know the importance of utilizing data. That’s why when I saw that Barton Dassinger, Principal of Cesar E. Chavez Multicultural Academic Center, a Level 1+ school, was leading a Professional Learning Community on how to better utilize data as a school leader, I jumped at the opportunity.
This is not my first time working with Barton. As a teacher at Sabin Elementary School, I was on the Local School Council (LSC) that hired him nearly 10 years ago (2007). Through that connection, I knew that Barton has always used data to inform decisions in his school.
His PLC is focused on how we can locate student data, pull it into a master sheet and use that data to quickly and effectively make decisions about school.
I can honestly say that my practice has changed from this PLC. Last year, during my first year as principal of Peirce Elementary School, I would have regular data conversations every five-weeks with my teachers about their students’ data. This year, using the tool we developed in partnership with Barton, I can share a weekly update with my teachers about the progress of their class. This helps each teacher think more strategically about what is working for students and areas in which they need to continue to grow.
As we move forward, we are going to be able to manipulate our master data sheet even more, increasingly making instructional decisions about how teachers can leverage this data to provide support and interventions.
This is still a process, but with support from Barton and our colleagues, I feel like I can better support my teachers and students achieve our goals.