Using Data to Inform Division, Department and Individual Action Plans

In celebrating and highlighting the great work in the Hopkins County Schools, Kentucky, we discover how digging deeper into their data has resulted in alignment and focus for the upcoming year.

Former superintendent DeDe Ashby takes an individual conferencing approach with her principals and directors causing them to dig deep into their data.  She shares with us:

It has always been my charge with all our principals to reflect on that information.  Studer Education coach, Nannette Johnston, has taught our leaders how to analyze the data and how to roll out the information to others.

When we prepare for the Summer Summit, we prepare for next year where we will use the data to not only build our scorecards, but also our professional growth plan. Our Summer Summit is not just instructionally focused but based on all the pillars of our strategic plan.  We take the initiatives on our plan and break them down.  Our county scorecard matches each school’s scorecard. The work done with our administrators at the Summer Summit creates the understanding on how their action plans align to the goals of the district and the district’s vision for the future.

All our principals have really embraced the continuous improvement process. Our principals have valued collecting data from the beginning.  We use it in our individual meetings and in looking at their parent information as well.  They use their data not only in their scorecards, but also their professional growth plan that’s a part of the evaluation process.

Reflect on Data and Assess at Specific Times of the Year

Where are we now, related to where we need to go, as indicated by our strategic priorities and scorecards?

Superintendent Ashby continues to share:

In the fall, I had already met with our principals about their summative evaluation.   So now, looking at the spring results for employee engagement, I look for what did the data reveal and what improvements and changes have the principals made.  We really drill down about what went into making changes within their building.

The process rolls into a lot of the techniques. We use the 30-90-day conversations and the development of their scorecards to drive the conversation of where are we related to where we need to go as indicated by our strategic priorities.

April Devine, Director of Assessment, shares:

Organizing the continuous improvement work with our coach, Nannette Johnston, we make sure that our principals meet their timelines and know how to develop their scorecards.  It’s a lot about next steps.  Here is our meeting, here are our results, then we develop our next steps.  What they decide is what is put on their scorecards.

Use Time for Conversations and Communications About What is Needed


Ashby shares:

Using time for conversation and communication has resulted in our three-day extensive Summer Summit in which administrators are immersed into the new strategic plan, explore the linkage to the scorecard, and examine how their action plans powerfully align with the vision of the county.

I work with our 15 building principals. We develop their growth plans and action steps that they are going to take for their own professional growth.  Then I work with them through their formative and summative assessment of their leadership skills within their building.

Devine shares:

We did not do a lot of surveys prior to working with Studer.  Our principals have embraced the continuous improvement process.  They see the value in it. There came a point that they became overwhelmed trying to put all the pieces together. Remember, it’s a process; we are trying to build one block at a time as we build toward a strategic plan.

Reflection Leads to Collaboration

April Devine, Director of Assessment, reflects:

The schools have also done a great job of selecting staff to be a part of an action planning team. The members of that team listen to the results and help develop the scorecards for their building.

There is such value seeing an action plan, determining how to cascade information, and understanding the “why” before the “how.”

In Hopkins County, they were working in silos where communication was within departments.  Now they communicate across the hallway. They have gotten out of their lanes, so to speak.  This year, Ashby and Devine have worked with more directors than any other year.  For example, operations and finance departments have shifted their thinking in connecting their actions to the core business of the district. They are working successfully together to take care of the whole child.

Reflecting on end of the year results and planning for the next year is a powerful process.  Hopkins uses data to inform action plans for their division, departments, and individuals.  Then, they pause several times a year to reflect and assess where they need to go and take the time for conversations that lead to extraordinary collaboration.

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