Principals Using Dashboard to Drive Decision Making

Much like a winning race-car driver, a successful school principal needs access to data so that he or she can tune, tweak, and make improvements. In a well-designed car, drivers can find most of the data they need by looking at the dashboard. Now HISD principals have their own dashboard to drive decision making on their campus. It’s called Analytics for Education (A4E).

“Not only is A4E saving our principals time, but it is helping them to be more efficient,” said Betty Garcia from HISD’s Information Technology Department. “Principals can go to their dashboard, grab the information they need quickly, make informed decisions, and then communicate it with their staff as they take the next step.”

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Before, principals had to go to multiple places and websites to access information ranging from attendance and student test scores to budget and teacher evaluations. Now everything is in one place so that principals can access it quickly, 24 hours a day.

“The most importance piece is the accessibility,” said Cullen Middle School Principal Clayton Crook. “You can be at home, you can be at Starbucks, you can be at various places and still look at student and teacher data.”

Crook and other principals shared their dashboard insights recently at the HISD Summer Leadership Institute. In addition to liking the dashboard’s accessibility and efficiency, school leaders are raving about its usefulness, particularly when it comes to budgeting, attendance, and other important decisions they need to make on campus.

“I am able to compare my teacher-attendance rates with my student-attendance rates and then compare that to performance,” said Milby High School Principal Roy De La Garza.

Revere Middle School Principal Hafedh Azaiez likes the student profile component of the dashboard. “It allows me to see quickly what is happening with a student so that we can intervene and step in when needed,” said Azaiez.

The HISD Information Technology Department rolled out the dashboard to principals about six months ago after taking nearly two years to gather input, come up with a design, and create the tool. The ultimate goal is to increase student achievement at every campus.

“We have to make sure that we are giving our kids what they need,” said Garcia. “When principals are armed with data, they can see problems or trends that allow them to make the changes they need to impact student achievement.”