Often we hear school districts say they are "data-driven." However, I have noticed that quite often data is tracked and discussed only at the highest levels of the organization (district office, principals, building leadership teams, etc.) while other employees feel a disconnect from the numbers. Specifically, I have found support staff often feel disengaged and detached when it comes to goal setting and data tracking.
In our district we are trying to get our support staff to feel more ownership of data. For example, within our food service department we have developed a goal of trying to increase the percentage of students who eat breakfast and lunch at school. Our food service staff understand when kids eat meals at school there are several positive outcomes. Not only do students perform better in the classroom, the income generated from the meals allows our food service department to provide more opportunities for kids.
Last week we discovered all three of our kitchens met their goals for breakfast participation during the month of January. To help our ladies celebrate this accomplishment, each kitchen was surprised with the delivery of Casey's breakfast pizza. To further reinforce our data-driven culture, each kitchen discussed and reflected upon the January data points. My understanding is this is the first year many of our lunch staff recall discussing data as a part of their job.
While we still have a long ways to go when it comes to support staff owning the data, we believe intentional steps such as last Friday's pizza delivery will help all employees feel more connected to district goals.