After reading Lyn Sharratt and Michael Fullan’s text Putting FACES on the Data (2012), we were excited to see such a strong connection to the Collaborative Response Model that we share with schools and districts locally and abroad. Specifically, the basic premise of the book, that students are people, not data, draws explicit parallels to the essential cultural shifts related to a Collaborative Response Model.
It is hard to really make connections with a goal of “increase the percentage of students achieving acceptable standards in literacy from 75% to 80%”. Even the prettiest line graph will do little to inspire staff to achieve that target. However, what if the conversation changed to “We have 16 students currently not meeting literacy standards entering grade two – let’s aim to do all we can to ensure their success by the end of the year”. Then, at Collaborative Team Meetings throughout the year, we continue to return to these 16 students and work as a team to provide supports and targeted instruction. These students, like all of their classmates, are visually displayed at each meeting and staff members (professional and related support staff) work together to discuss strengths, needs and next steps. Doing this creates that “human-emotional connection” that Sharatt and Fullan reference on page 32 of their text, ensuring real purpose and drive for what we do.
By taking this approach, we know that the line graph connected with the first goal example is going to rise, meeting those goal statements that occupy school improvement plans. But there is power in a final staff meeting at the end of the year where we can show pictures of students that we have helped close that achievement gap. That is the true power of putting faces on the data. As Sharratt and Fullan contend, “we are wired to feel things for people, not for numbers” (p. 2). A Collaborative Response Model provides the structures and processes for this individual student focus to occur.
Sharratt, L, & Fullan, M. (2012) Putting FACES on the data.Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.
Adapted from a previous posting – originally published June 15, 2012