Becky’s Blog: “Talk Data to Me” – Featuring Dr. Meghan Velasquez, Guest Blogger

beckysblogiconWe sure do talk a lot about data…
Collecting data is essential in our ability to track progress toward community-wide goals. While we rely on these numbers to help us make important decisions, we never lose focus on our mission – improving the future of children and youth in Adams County. They are the reason why we crunch the numbers, analyze the data, share results with partners, and then do it all over again!

Without a doubt, data is our translator, and we use all sorts of data both in long-term projections and in real-time to practice continuous improvement.
For example, through our Collaborative Action Networks (CANs), we will be using subsets of data to set goals (short- and long-term) for the improvement in outcomes we hope to see as a result of shared efforts across The Partnership. Data in these settings may consist of smaller pieces of information such as attendance, FAFSA completion, etc.
On a larger scale, we focus on data that is produced by the Colorado Department of Education, the Colorado Department of Higher Education, the National Student Clearninghouse, law enforcement, judicial reports, etc. We are also very fortunate as a community to have access to information produced through our annual Adams County Student Survey (ACSS). ACYI is firmly committed to administering and reporting the ACSS as a means of elevating the voices of our most important stakeholders – our youth.
As you may already know, we released our 2016-2017 ACSS County Report earlier this month. We felt it important to share with you more information on adjustments to the report, plans for enhancing the report and survey instruments and information on how we can support you in using information in the report to help drive action.
With this in mind, we have engaged Dr. Meghan Velasquez, from the firm who analyzed the 2016-17 data to share more information. Check out her blog below.
Also, if you only read one more thing…be sure to see the invitation for the ACSS Session on April 26th below.
Take it away Meghan….
Until next time,

Becky Hoffman
Executive Director
Adams County Youth Initiative

The ACSS Is Inspiring in So Many Ways

Meghan Velasquez Border
Dr. Meghan Velasquez, Expert Data Consultant, Improvement Assurance Group

As a researcher, self-proclaimed data geek, as well as a former school reform leader, I am especially excited about and truly grateful for my firm’s involvement in the Adams County Student Survey.

The truth is, I have never seen anything like it. First, consider the sheer volume; over 35,000 children participated in the survey this year. Next, bear in mind that the survey is common across five unique school districts and boasts a ten year, home-grown history. Finally, people use it to drive meaningful work.

So often, when working with teams and organizations, the most difficult step toward evidence based decision making and data-driven practice is getting folks to come to consensus on what data to engage. Especially in organizations where a safe data culture is still emerging, it’s incredible how quickly people reach toward trying to poke holes, arguing about how the data is inaccurate or inapplicable and creating a lot of noise about what data not to use.

Bringing this background and experience with me to the work with ACYI, you can imagine how surprised my team and I were to find the reach of the ACSS and that all five partner districts voluntarily participate. It was inspiring, and we were excited to get to work.

My firm has specifically been engaged to support analysis of the 2016-17 ACSS, evaluation of the existing tools and leading a process to enhance and improve the data and action produced by the Adams County Student Survey. I am delighted to share with you some of what that looks like…

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