23 7 / 2013
We built Schoolzilla into the useful, easy-to-use solution we have today, thanks to close collaboration with data champions, teachers, principals and administrators inside Aspire Public Schools.
As we expand into our role as an independent, mission-driven organization serving schools nationwide, we are keen to continue the collaboration with our users, and to celebrate your hard work. From time to time, we’ll shine the spotlight on data champions who are thinking innovatively and helping to drive improvement in teacher effectiveness and student achievement via useful and timely data analytics.
This week, we kick off the series with a spotlight on Jon and Cathleen, two data champions at Aspire who helped build a teacher effectiveness dashboard, which the school system could use to identify best practices and opportunities for professional development.
Great idea, but accomplishing the task was easier said than done.
06 12 / 2012
—Trissie Kiefer, CA public school mother
In October, the State of California released its Academic Performance Index (API) scores for all public schools in the state. With the hopes of making this data easy to access and interpret, Schoolzilla developed interactive API reports that allow anyone to look up results for a particular school and also map the results of other schools in the neighborhood to understand how their results compare! We got an amazing response from parents, district administrators, and teachers on our reports, so check them out if you haven’t already!
Some additional information about API is below:
What is API? The Academic Performance Index (API) is a measure of academic performance and progress of individual schools in California. API scores are calculated by the California Department of Education based on statewide testing. API scores range from 200-1000. California’s statewide target is 800.
Why does API matter? API is an important measure of academic performance and growth for all schools throughout the state of California. Though it is not the only measure of school success, it is frequently used a way to compare schools and school performance.
28 9 / 2012
Schools are back in session and teachers, principals, students, and Data Heroes are hard at work. With state test results released and internal assessments underway, we at Schoolzilla have also been hard at work supporting Data Heroes here at Aspire as well as the many awesome Data Heroes using Schoolzilla to analyze their tests this year. (100+ in just one month!)
We are currently working on expanding our tool to allow Data Heroes to upload any type of student assessment (from SATs to internal assessments - not just California State Tests). While we’ve had a few years to work closely with teachers to develop student assessment reports here at Aspire, we know we’re not perfect and want to hear from you (Data Heroes across the nation…maybe the world?)! (Shout out to our users in the UK and India!) We’d love to hear how you use data today and how you dream of using data.
Are you a Data Hero willing to share your story with Schoolzilla and Data Heroes across the nation? Know someone at your school who’s a Data Hero? Please reach out to me! As a token of our appreciation for giving us a moment of your time we’ll send you a small Schoolzilla swag gift :)
27 7 / 2012
"I was a data nerd as a teacher - I would spend all weekend in excel in order to make the kind of reports you magically create…I’m thrilled Aspire is opening this up"
27 7 / 2012
Posted by Mayra Vega
Not too long ago I watched a little movie you may have heard of- Money Ball! A baseball fan since birth, I loved it - but not just for the baseball or the fact that it was essentially filmed in my backyard in Oakland, California – but also because of it how much it resonated with the work I do at Aspire Public Schools and all the amazing Billy Beans/Peter Brand’s of the education world that I’ve recently met. You see, there are many people in the education sector who in spite of many obstacles, are working hard to utilize data to boost student achievement in unprecedented ways - a group we at Aspire like to call “Data Heroes.”
If you’re reading this, chances are you’re a Data Hero, but in case you doubt your worthiness of this title, ask yourself these questions:
- Do you believe data has a role to play in making good decisions for students?
- Do you find yourself spending hours in Excel to reveal where students are excelling or struggling so you can figure out what can be done about it?
- Are you periodically referred to as a “data geek?” (Don’t worry, you don’t actually have to tell us your answers…)
If you answered yes to the questions above, congratulations, you’re a Data Hero! (Major props! They should make a movie about you!)
Here at Aspire, I am part of a team that, over the last 4 years, has built tools that allow Aspire’s Data Heroes (principals, teachers, central office staff) to easily access accurate data, create interactive reports, and then partner with others to make good decisions for students. Seeing the transformative power of our work here (like 100% graduation rates and 100% college acceptance ), and the folks we keep meeting who are as hungry for data as we are, we knew we had to share the tools we had developed. That’s why we’re sharing our tools on Schoolzilla. Play around with a sample report (below) see what it can do! How could you envision using these insights to explore changes to your instructional program?
Although Schoolzilla is in its early stages, we’re excited it has opened the door to invigorating conversations with other people who are passionate about simplifying the process of collecting and using data for students. I hope this blog will ignite more conversations about how we can share our stories. We have much to learn from one another and I can’t wait to hear about your ideas, experiences, and discuss innovations in the space.
Data Heroes unite!!