At the beginning of March 2018 in Green Bay, the CALL Director Mark Blitz attended and participated in the Wisconsin Summit for Data-Informed Leadership. Given the meeting’s focus on data, leadership, and strategic planning, CALL was a great fit! First, however, Mark along with DPI Title I Consultants, met with participating principals from the DPI Title I Leadership for Learning Project.
This was the group’s second face-to-face meeting this school year. Usually, the group meets via video conference. But when they come together in person, the conversations are a bit more lively. The principals talked about actively distributing leadership. They shared stories and strategies such as the “Wall of Support.” Lolita Patrick, principal of Pulaski High School in Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS), introduced the Wall of Support. For this activity, on large sheets of paper hanging on the gymnasium walls, Ms. Patrick lists areas in the school that could use support. Each school staff member then signs up for one of these areas, thereby offering their time and expertise to support their peers in these areas. In a school the size of Pulaski High School, this is an effective and efficient way to share leadership responsibilities.
For the summit itself, CALL Director Mark Blitz along with Principal Jessica Quindel from MPS and Principal Missy Herek from the School District of Hillsboro, presented on their work with CALL and school improvement planning. Ms. Quindel demonstrated the CALL Data Feedback System to the attendees, showing how she used the CALL cluster view feature to examine year-to-year data. And, she pulled discipline referral data to show changes in practice as a result of using CALL. Ms. Herek told her story of school improvement planning and using CALL in three different schools in two different districts over four years.
As can be the case in research studies, sometimes one may encounter unintended findings. In this case, Ms. Quindel and Ms. Herek came together to present with Mark, and in the process engaged in conversations with each other about their experiences leading an urban school and a rural school respectively. The two fantastic principals discovered that despite the differences in demographics, region, and school size, there were many similarities in their experiences. They shared stories and strategies. It was a great opportunity for these school leaders to come together and listen to each other. Hopefully these types of scenarios can happen more often: school leaders from various backgrounds coming together to talk about data, leadership, and the work/life balance. Overall, the summit was a great experience!