Delaware and Rhode Island Schools

Amplify Education | Professional Learning Design

The States of Delaware and Rhode Island sought to transform school culture by optimizing use of student data. Amplify designed and led programs that taught educators how to use data to increase the impact of daily instruction. Members of that team who led this project are now part of ProjectEd.

Our contributions: professional learning design, coaching, project management, in-school implementation

The data coaches build capacity over time, so that we not only lift the skills and knowledge of our educators, but build processes so the work continues even when the data coaches are not there.

— Mark Murphy, Delaware Secretary of Education

Offering Flexible Structures

The Delaware Department of Education wanted a structure for teacher collaboration, but not all districts could participate in the same framework. We conducted a needs assessment and designed solutions to accommodate the needs of individual schools.

Using Data to Empower educators

In Delaware, expert Data Coaches facilitated Professional Learning Communities in schools. By implementing a cycle-of-inquiry framework over a two-year period, coaches enabled educators to analyze, strategize, and act on all the relevant student information.

In Rhode Island, Data Coaches worked with School Data Leadership Teams, comprised of teachers and leaders, over the course of two years. Offsite workshops as well as onsite coaching allowed the teams create a unique, transparent data culture in each school. Each Leadership Team then had the freedom to implement the initiative in any way they chose for their own school.

Now that data is part of our process, teachers see data everywhere. They incorporate all kinds of data — behavioral data, data from formative and summative assessments, reading results — into their daily routines. This information is used deliberately when planning for and assessing student learning. Teachers are ‘owning’ data use and this is essential in moving students forward.

— Melissa Marino, Principal, Wawaloam Elementary School in Exeter, Rhode Island

Creating Cultures of Collaboration

Coaches used proven techniques to help teachers and leaders collaborate on instructional choices, based on student data. Rather than handing educators solutions to specific problems, coaches asked questions to help them develop their skills and solve the problems themselves. The coaching resulted in lasting, proactive environments of shared accountability and success.

I hear from principals all the time that teachers are not bringing problems to the administration. Now they’re bringing an awareness of problems that may have existed, and here’s how we solved it.

— Donna Mitchell, Deputy Officer, Delaware Department of Education

One difference I’ve seen is that all of those kids at that grade level are our responsibility, it’s not just about kids in my room and this is what I do.

— Pamela Hererra, Instructional Director, Capital School District, Delaware

Delivering Meaningful Results

In Delaware, the percentage of grade 3–10 students who scored proficient on state reading and math tests increased by 11 and 8 percentage points , respectively, over prior years.

Teacher confidence increased dramatically in both states. In Delaware, 71% teachers said Professional Learning Communities helped them build useful skills to collect and use data, while 88% felt more confident using data to make instructional decisions.. In Rhode Island, 92% of teachers participating in the second year reported they use data more often to make everyday instructional decisions.

Over the course of the year and a half that I’ve been here, it’s a 180 degree difference from where we were. We are constantly discussing how students did on this assessment versus that assessment. And those were conversations that were never had prior to fall 2011.

— Bob Bennett, Delaware Special Education Cadre