Another meeting about data? What’s in it for you, school librarian? Plenty!
Data meetings are places where school-wide and individual student achievement data are discussed, evaluated, and plans are made for improvement. For most people, staying after school for a data meeting is even less fun than a root canal. Making time away from the responsibilities of the library to attend may be even more challenging. Most of us have learned that we can’t do it all, and priorities are everything when it comes to doing more with less.
However, consider the value in moving attending data meetings up your priority list. These meetings are where the pavement hits the road for a campus. Student achievement data is one of the chief means of evaluating a campus’ effectiveness, whether you agree with the instrument or not. Being part of the discussion enables you to accomplish the following:
1. You know what the needs of the campus are. You can better adapt your programs and resources to those needs. Students aren’t performing well on a specific Science objective? How about displaying books and print resources related to that objective? Freshman reading scores are plummeting? Develop a high interest book club for struggling readers. Algebra scores are suffering? Help the math teachers curate a set of online videos reteaching tricky objectives.
2. You know what individual students’ needs are. You can be involved in the personalization of student interventions and learning plans. You can take interest in helping those students when they come to the library–not singling them out, but helping them match resources to their needs. You will also be able to evaluate how well your resources are meeting the needs of those students, and work toward improving it.
3. You get the broader picture. Participating in these meetings helps you see the struggles that teachers are facing and the difficulties of being the administrator who must balance these test scores with daily responsibilities of educating the whole child, managing personnel issues, dealing with parents, and serving as the facilities manager. You can also help identify trends reflected in the data from a broader, less personal perspective.
4. Those in attendance own the success or failure reflected in the data. You should be part of that team. As a collaborative team member and a co-teacher, you need to be seen as one who contributed to the data. If you didn’t contribute much, that’s telling as well. Hopefully, you will take away ideas for how to better contribute and support student learning on your campus.
Being present enables you to be seen as the teacher that you are. Building a collaborative culture where the teachers feel that you are with them in the trenches rather than a break away from real learning will strengthen your relationship with them and should yield a strong return on your investment of your time.
Author: Jennifer Laboon
Jennifer LaBoon is the Coordinator of Library Technology in Fort Worth ISD. She serves on the AASL Blog Committee, on the Executive Board of the Texas Library Association, volunteers with a local children’s musical theater group, and is an avid TCU fan.