Data Have Flesh

Data have flesh.Image

I was reminded that today by our middle school principal, Dave Wessel (@NMS_Principal). We had our regular bi-monthly Administrative Team Meeting (ATM) this morning, and the district’s principals, directors and I met for nearly four hours working on all of those things that have been coming down the pike: CCSS; SGMs; OTES; OPES, SLOs, STAR; AIMS; etc.

(Everything in education has an acronym. The acronyms above all relate really to three things: What are we going to teach? How are we going to measure it? And how will we know we’re doing a good job?)

And then this afternoon I went to visit our middle school. I like to walk around seeing teachers and students in action, and I always check in at the office first. When I checked in at the office I ran into Mr. Wessel.

Mr. Wessel is a star, a true servant leader. He told me about two interactions he had with kids this week. One was a student who is homeless, forced to live in a motel in town. The other was a student whose parent is in prison.

Mr. Wessel’s concern was that with all of the initiatives that keep being mandated in the name of education reform, we can’t let all of the time and energy we are spending implementing these tasks prevent us from “walking beside a kid and letting them know we care.”

Data have flesh.

For every dot on a graph, there’s a face that needs us. Sometimes they just need an adult they can talk to. Too often they need food or clothing or shelter.

For all the work that we need to do beefing up curriculum and creating better assessments—and that is all good work—we can’t forget that education ultimately happens best when a caring adult develops a trusting relationship with a kid.

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