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Welcome to my practical data use email for K–12 educators. Every other week I send an idea for practical data use that you can use today in your education job. I'll be including activities like these in my new book The K–12 Educator's Data Guidebook: Reimagining Practical Data Use in Schools, which will be out later this year. If this activity helps you, consider sharing it with a friend: 
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Making Your Data Meetings Safe and Productive

In this activity, you'll learn how to create data meeting norms that encourage safety and creativity. 

How This Can Help Us


Educators view data as representations of their work. Sharing this information is a vulnerable act. Meeting norms should focus on learning about what’s working for your team, sharing successful techniques, and sharing stories. When we reduce fear and increase trust, we have more sharing and critical thinking. And when that happens, we learn more together about what we can do today to support our students better. 

Follow These Steps

Imagine your ideal conversations: Describe the conversations you want that will lead to collective learning and benefit for your students. Try these sentence frames: 

  • “When we talk about data, I want to learn more about _____.”

  • “When we talk about data, I don’t want to feel worried that _____.” 

  • “I make the best decisions for my students when _____.”

Identify productive behaviors: Describe behaviors that result in the kind of data conversations you want. Consider these examples: 

  • A week before each meeting, our team begins to gather information to bring and discuss. 

  • When someone needs help gathering or understanding data, we meet them where they are and learn together.

  • When tense situations arise, we avoid blaming an individual and focus on how our team is about to improve. 

Post in a visible place: Capture these behaviors in a list that’s visible during your data meetings. These will evolve over time, so it’s worthwhile to start with just a few. This article suggests five norms or fewer. 

Review and improve: Pick a date on the calendar to review the norms. During this review, lead with questions like: “How well are these norms making it safe to share and discuss data for decision-making?”

Have stories or suggestions about meeting norms for data meetings? I'd love to hear them! Reply to this email or post on social media and mention ry_estrellado on Twitter and Instagram.

More On Psychological Safety and Meeting Norms

This is a big topic, so I've included some of the reading that inspired this post in case you want to explore more:
A couple more things before we close up: I've got a podcast with my colleague Joshua Rosenberg called About Practice. We talk about challenges and solutions for using research in everyday education jobs. It's super fun and you can subscribe on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

And last, I wrote a book with some awesome people about using data science tools in the education field called Data Science in Education Using R. You can read it for free here and buy your print copy here.

That's all for now! More in a couple weeks!

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