The purpose of publicly available data is twofold: to inform people about the current state of affairs and to inspire improvements based on that knowledge. Families and communities should be able to access data about school quality, their student’s performance relative to other students in the district and the state, and an understanding of the performance of the district in which they live. It is not enough to have this data shared through Colorado Department of Education tools, which are not always easily navigable, the district and school should be consistently and intelligibly communicating with families about the quality of their schools.
Creating a rating system would allow APS to communicate with families and communities about quality of schools and progress toward goals in a way that aligns not only with CDE measures of quality but also with district priorities. In the absence of a district-created, family-friendly rating system, families may end up relying on third party school rating sites that won’t necessarily include measures aligned to unique APS goals.
An Aurora family interested in learning more about the quality of their children’s schools needs to navigate the Colorado Department of Education’s school accountability webpages. While these sites can provide a wealth of data, they are not always simple to navigate without at least some level of technical knowledge. The APS “Fast Facts” page includes links to PDF documents listing some achievement information, but these PDFs are not all up to date. The page also directs families to CDE’s SchoolView tool, which, again, is not always easy for families to comprehend.
Many districts across the country have found family-friendly ways to communicate about school quality and student achievement. Aurora could look to New York City Department of Education’s School Quality Snapshot reports or next door to Denver.
APS already has a robust data collection and analysis team that can incorporate school climate surveys and planning reports into CDE’s school performance frameworks. The infrastructure already exists to make data useful to families in APS, it’s time to act: if not now, when?
Find the rest of the blogs here:
Exemplar New Schools
Serving High-Need Students
Early Childhood Education