OnCourse Blog

Overjoyed about...data? District reveals eye-opening new approach.

Written by Tanya Manila | October 27, 2017

Don't believe it can be fun to analyze school data? Stacy Saia, Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction, explains how her team was reinvigorated by the art of "data visualization."

 
 

Many of us will remember this era of education as being one of the most paperwork-intensive ever. This is why TIME has become such a precious commodity to most school administrators.

Stacy Saia, Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction at Palmyra Public Schools, struggled with finding time to utilize data as effectively as she wanted to. Until, that is, she discovered the transformative power of data visualization.

The transcript of her interview is below:

"I very rarely have colleagues in the adminstrative field that are super excited to look at data.

For anyone who has had to do data analysis, you know you are looking for a needle in a haystack. You don't have a problem with that aspect of it, but when you have to use Excel and spreadsheets and Powerpoints and doing this manually, the amount of time it took to search for the needle in the haystack often defeated you."

The End of Traditional Data Analysis

"Data visualization is one of my personal favorite elements of OnCourse. It has single-handedly made my job managable and easier. Having the state test data in there, and having that tied to demographics, grade levels, buildings, and other filters that are available, I'm able to do all types of data analysis and customization of reports.

I can meet with the principals, I can meet with the teachers, and I can create reports for the board of education. I can create everything very quickly and very easily, and I know they're accurate."

Staying In Tune with Student Data Trends

"The fact that the data in OnCourse builds over time gives us an opportunity to really track things longitudinally. Now, you can look for these things in a group, at an admin meeting, at a PLC.

You don't have to know what you're looking for ahead of time. You don't have to prepare the data ahead of time. It's already there."

Saving Absurd Amounts of Time

"The most amazing thing about this is that I no longer have to crunch the data myself. I can spend my time talking about the data, and making plans on how to address any concerns we see in the data, as opposed to spending my time organizing and making pictures from the data.

It's been really exciting that I can now have amazing data-driven and data-supported conversations with my administrative colleagues on almost any topic out there, because we have this data at our fingertips."