"Portland Public Schools: From Data and Decisions to Implementation ...
I wanted to bring this new piece of research to the group's attention. As folks who concern yourselves with school improvement and innovative ideas about the future of education, I thought you might be interested in a new report that was recently added to IssueLab's collection. "Portland Public Schools: From Data and Decisions to Implementation and Results on Dropout Prevention". http://issuelab.org/pps_bridgespan.html
The report follows the story of how Portland's Public School system tried to answer the question "How do you keep kids in school through graduation?" by first identifying those eighth graders who were most likely to drop out of high school (based on some really interesting analysis of variables like attendance rates and how many core classes kids were failing) and then designing interventions and supports for those kids - all within a very short timeline and limited budget. Unlike a lot of other data-heavy reports it really doubles as a case study in what can happen when administrators and educators act with some urgency.
The report, which was authored by the Bridgespan Group makes some pretty strong arguments about the importance of data-driven decision making as well as how critical it is make interventions easy enough for school district leaders to carry out while flexible enough for teachers to customize.
I encourage you to comment on the report here and let me (and other readers) know about your thoughts re: what is being said in this report and whether your experiences resonate with the Portland Schools case.