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Policy priorities to make data work for students

By Nikki Yamashiro

Student data is a valuable resource for afterschool programs. It helps inform program providers about their students’ needs, the programming that will best support their students and the program’s impact on students’ progress. As important of a role that data play for afterschool programs to best meet the needs of their students, many programs face obstacles accessing their students’ data collected by schools due to privacy and sharing concerns.

Recognizing that data collection and data sharing are essential to ensure that all students receive a great education, the Data Quality Campaign (DQC) released four policy priorities to take quality data collection and data sharing from a vision to a reality. DQC’s fact sheet, Time to Act: District Actions to Make Data Work for Students, outlines how district leaders can take the initiative and make progress on this front, many of which encourage data sharing with partners, including afterschool programs.

Here are the four policy priorities to make data work for students:

  1. Measure what matters. This includes establishing a governance body that oversees the district’s data use and policies, as well as designing data systems that meet the district’s specific needs.
  2. Make data use possible. Establish a culture that understands the value data brings and provide the necessary support—such as policies, practices and trainings—to make sure that all stakeholders, including afterschool programs and parents, know how to use the data effectively.
  3. Be transparent and earn trust. Communicate regularly with the community to identify their needs and constantly talk to parents about the ways in which their child’s data is being protected. Engage all stakeholders in planning and governance activities. 
  4. Guarantee access and protect privacy. Make certain that student data is kept private while allowing all stakeholders, including afterschool programs and parents, to access student data that is tailored to their needs.

Promoting policies that form stronger data sharing partnerships between schools and afterschool programs is a win-win for all parties involved. It’s a win for schools, whose partners will have greater information on how to support students; it’s a win for afterschool programs, who will be able to better serve their students; and, most importantly, it's a win for students, whose educational experience will be better tailored to their needs. Visit DCQ’s website to download the fact sheet or learn more about their new agenda launched last April that focuses on data sharing.  

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learn more about: School Improvement