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      Progress tracked in school's data room

      Educators often talk about "data-driven" instruction because they know that data results are the key to improving schools.{} However, many times data is reviewed at the beginning of the school year and then filed away.{} Riverchase Middle School recently decided that "data" would be the focus throughout the year by creating a "data room" for Professional Learning Communities and grade-level meetings.{} The administration wanted to make data more visible for the teachers in order to make positive instructional decisions.

      The data room is separated by grade levels and academic subject areas.{} Each student is listed on the wall according to their scores on state assessments.{} Throughout the year students will be monitored and instruction designed to help each student improve.{}

      "The room is not designed to ask teachers to do more, " said Principal Charles Smith. " It is designed so they can evaluate the student data, renew their teaching strategies and redirect their instructional efforts to better meet the needs of the students. It allows teachers to focus on specific areas of need.{} It also provides time to change instructional focus and implement interventions if necessary."

      The individual grade-level walls are a very stimulating visual that show how each grade level is performing.{} The teachers then review individual students, discussing strategies to help improve their performance.{} The data is kept on the walls the entire year prompting teacher awareness.{} Along with the assessments, discipline and attendance are also included. With this being included, all factors are discussed concerning the child's success. {}By creating the data room the school's goals are to: gain instructional coherence; measure program success and effectiveness; ensure {}students "do not fall through the cracks"; guide curriculum development and strategies; promote accountability; continuously Improve student performance; {}and improve the school.

      "The accountability bar is being raised, and the data room has put RMS on the right track, " Smith added. " It has raised our level of awareness and taken away the guess work on reaching students."{}