Pre-Starter Pack readiness
We built the Data Viz Starter Pack because we want to impact schools. We are in our pilot year and that means we can only accept a limited number of schools into the program. However, here are some things that all data folks can focus on today so they are ready to hit the ground running when they join the program…
Be a great data steward
We believe your student information system (SIS) should be your main place of record. That’s not too controversial, but it is important. Your SIS should consolidate as many systems into it as possible and should contain as many types of data as you can. Focusing on being a great data steward means a few things:
Protocols and procedures
Establishing protocols and procedures around entering data when a student enrolls in your school and keeping it updated as time passes. It should be clear who enters data such as gender, parent contact information, Special Ed information, etc. This is most likely many different individuals on your team so communicating it clearly and ensuring it is done with fidelity is important.
SIS for Everything (until you can’t)
Try to use your student information system for everything and if it is terrible at it, THEN use something else. Thinking of adopting an intervention tracking tool? Great idea, make sure you cannot use your SIS for that first. Entering intervention data into your SIS instead of using an additional tool simply means one less system to integrate.
Import everything you can
Find out what data can be imported into your student information system and import it. The big ones here are state and national assessments. Chances are your student information system allows you to import NWEA, ACT, PSAT, and SAT data.
Reporting on data will be infinitely easier if you take the time to ensure accurate and complete data is in your student information system.
Interview your team leads
Start to understand the questions that need answered in your organization. This will help you understand which data points are most important. The Starter Pack comes with a whole bunch of data sets that cover every part of your student information system. Taking time to understand how you can be most impactful beforehand will allow you to focus and get right to work.
We love Google Data Studio. It is free and shares many similarities with other products made by Google. We’ve discussed data connectors in Data Studio before and encourage you to read that article. Google Sheets is one of those connectors and something you can leverage today to start building reports for your organization. That data will need to be refreshed manually unlike the Starter Pack where they are refreshed automatically, but this will allow you to get started with Google Data Studio.
Clean data, clear protocols for updating that data, comfort with Google Data Studio, and a clear idea as to what your organization needs will set you up for success in our program.