Dolphin Data Team makes some waves at this year's TN LEAD Conference as hundreds of school leaders look to emulate Dogwood's growth scores

Germantown, Tennessee--October 5, 2018--This week, a three-man team out of Dogwood traveled to Nashville for this year’s annual LEAD Conference.

The LEAD Conference gives school and district leaders a chance to share and discuss effective practices happening every day in Tennessee schools. With valuable first-person examples, educators from across the state share their best ideas for preparing Tennessee's students for college and careers.

Germantown Municipal School District is a regular contributor to the LEAD Conference and was proud to send the Dogwood team to its 2018 installation.  The title of their presentation, Does Digging through Data have you Drowning—took participants through the ‘data story’ of Dogwood Elementary School.

A high achieving school, Dogwood back in 2014 was named a Reward School for its high proficiency levels and simultaneously labeled as Level 1 (out of 5) for growth.  “We wanted to give other school leaders a timeline with turn-key guide as to how we went from Level 1 to Level 5 in three years,” said Principal Teresa Price.

The presentation group included current Principal Teresa Price, newly-named Assistant Principal Joye Phipps, and classroom teacher and school data lead Carla Schurtz.  Phipps, at the time of conference material submission was the RTI Coach for Dogwood and played a vital role in the transformation.

“The presentation basically takes the audience from step one, compared to beach warning flag—High Hazard, all the way to step four, Low Hazard,” explained Phipps.
According to both Phipps and Schurtz, the shift began with Principal Price gaining buy-in from teachers on the strategy of effective data usage in school PLCs.  During the presentation, Price gave other principals access to her tactics, including several ready-made products that could be completed in faculty meetings.

“It is vital to give teachers support and tools. One example is the Dogwood developed data trackers,” said Phipps. Like any new strategy, the data team at Dogwood supplied scaffolding for the teachers in the form of data trackers. The trackers helped teachers to compare data from multiple sources to hone in on both personal and team goals. Audience members of the conference were given access to a full arsenal of data trackers that they could implement in their schools.

The team also addressed the use of district created positions/stipends of the RTI Coach and the School Data Leads.  They also highlighted the importance of finding teacher-leaders to be partners in the work. Finally, they end their presentation by demonstrating the positive effects of students who were tracking their own data.

“I’ve never seen a presentation so full,” said Schurtz on the 300-person crowd.  Price has received numerous emails from other administrators asking questions about the presentation and requests to come and visit Dogwood.  

Mrs. Price beamed,” I am so proud of our teachers. They care so much about our students that they want to use every tool available to help kids learn and grow.”

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