Making Data Accessible & Actionable

Parent & Family Engagement | 10/04/2017

Jeani Frickey Saito
Executive Director

I think it’s safe to say that most parents, myself included, have a love-hate relationship with data. We love the power data have to provide critical information about our student’s progress and the progress of our student’s school. We hate how data, more times than not, come in the form of a handout shared during a parent-teacher conference or a set of slides projected on a screen during a public meeting.

Knowing that our relationship with data hasn’t always been easy, we spent time this summer planning and hosting our own Data Equity Walk for parents in Denver. Working with two of our Climb Higher Colorado partners, Together Colorado and YAASPA, we adapted an event first created by Ed Trust-West. The Data Equity Walk’s key objective is to make data more accessible and actionable to families who are most impacted by systemic inequities in achievement, transportation, etc. In short, data should be empowering, not intimidating.

Nearly 40 parents participated in our inaugural Data Equity Walks; replacing the traditional orientation session of Stand University for Parents (Stand UP). The unique format of the Data Equity Walks invited parents to engage, almost instantly, with the data, which focused on student achievement data up against the Denver Plan 2020. Parents remained engaged for more than 90 minutes as they reviewed different data sets depicting the progress being made on goals ranging from early literacy benchmarks to college-and-career readiness.

As each Data Equity Walk progressed, parents dove right in, asking tough and insightful questions about the information they reviewed. Parents expressed nearly universal concern for how the district is going to meet the five goals, which range from ensuring that DPS students are reading on grade-level by third grade to another goal ensuring that DPS students graduate from high school ready for college, or to enter the workforce. 

As parents shared out observations and thoughts during group discussions, they called out systemic inequities with a renewed sense of urgency to act. Over the next five weeks of Stand UP, parents will develop fundamental leadership skills, working to transform this knowledge into action.

As one parent noted, “it can be overwhelming and difficult to see the truth about how our kids are doing,” referring to the data sets that showed large gaps in student achievement. “However, our kids are never going to improve if we aren’t honest about where they are.”

For more information about the Denver Plan 2020, click here.

For more information about Data Equity Walks and the work of Ed Trust-West, click here.

For more information about Climb Higher Colorado, click here.


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