As we’re nearing the end of our first day at the 2012 Strive Convening, I wanted to offer up a couple highlights.
- This morning’s opening session, “Moving from Proving to Improving,” was filled with introductions – of both people and ideas – as well as inspiring stories of how Strive communities are using data to improve student outcomes, from cradle to career. San Antonio, Seattle, Portland, and Santa Barbara all shared their data success stories, with each partnership explaining how they used data to identify trends and analyze correlations for issues like kindergarten readiness, 3rd grade reading, chronic absenteeism, and equity. Being able to hear from the people on the ground, and watching as their colleagues applauded and engaged in a dialogue about best practices, is always impactful.
- The afternoon plenary with Patrick McCarthy, Deborah Delisle, Doug Wood, and moderator Michele Jolin, allowed for a glimpse into how and why funders from both the public and the private sector use data to “fund what works.” Through candid conversation, the panelists shared their thoughts on the need for intentional alignment and strategic philanthropy, the importance of working with the community, and the ultimate importance of clear communication about this work. Since the use of data can be such a polarizing issue in education, we must pay attention to how we talk about it. We need to tell the stories of the children effected by our work, and we need to embrace language that clearly and accurately describes the work. One example that Deborah Deslisle put forth (to what was potentially the loudest cheer of the day) was to redefine the “achievement gap” as an “opportunity and equity gap.”