As a school-based administrator, I am hardly ever in my office. A highly effective building administrator spends their time in and out of classrooms. Unfortunately, my unscheduled office time is often spent meeting with parents or handling any other incidents requiring a private space. While I would love to have the time to download data to a spreadsheet and “massage” the information so it’s more presentable and accessible for my various meetings, I do not have the time. Lucky for me, I work in a district where I have the ability to access some of my information much like a drive through; pull-in, get what I need, quickly scan, and go about my business. In order to have this level of service, it takes a high level of communication between schools and the district to get the right information out.
Because no day is like the others, it’s nearly impossible to tell you exactly which classes I have been and how many times over the course of the year. Nevertheless, Ad-Hoc reporting along with an Excel template can work miracles much like the fast food drive through I mentioned before. I sit down, pull up my reporting tools, get the report I need, quickly scan, and then go about my business. Our classroom SNAPSHOT not only provides me with key walkthrough data of where I have been, but I can quickly review and know where I need to go without any “massaging” of my data. I download, copy, paste, and the data is ready for consumption.
Check out this school’s summary view of classroom walkthrough data. The bar graph tracks numbers of walkthroughs conducted over time by each of the administrators and also provides the total. At the school level, the principal can monitor for efficiency. The frequency by teacher easily allows the principal to see who was missed and making sure new teachers are visited with frequency. The bottom chart helps the principal diagnose specific information collected in the classroom and look for school-wide trends. From the district level, similar trends can be diagnosed to help target where new or veteran teachers may need support or professional development.
Too often nowadays, software tools have too many bells and whistles which means lots of clicking. Principals do not have the time to sit down and decide on how they want to organize the data to make building decisions. Improving schools requires district visions on determining the data and getting it to the principals quickly. The right district supports, like the data summary reports here, can get the data to principals quickly with minimal manipulation.