Designing Around Data

For this year's June Leadership Guide, we've chosen the timely pairing of management and data as our prevailing theme. In fact, the current landscape of top issues in education now all feature data as a central component — its collection, storage, access, analysis, and application. Times have changed, and very swiftly in this regard. It has only been since the inception of NCLB just three years ago that education technology has evolved from its primary focus on curriculum content to data mining. And so this issue is dedicated to a close look at the broad sweep of data-related tools and practices that school leaders are finding increasingly key to management.

In the following pages, under the designated sections Staff, Systems and the Bottom Line, we bring you a variety of resources for making decisions and implementing programs in the areas of professional development, assessment, data storage and access, security, e-learning, research, and funding.

In "Data: Maximize Your Mining, Part 2," Todd McIntire follows up his April feature with details on how the more data-savvy "stage-three" schools are training not only staff and parents, but more importantly, students in techniques for mining personal data.

In this issue we've also included excerpts from two very recent studies: "From Data to Decisions: Lessons from School Districts Using Data Warehousing," from the Annenberg Institute for School Reform and "You Are Not Alone: Options for Data Management," from The CoSN Compendium 2005.

And in a nod to the administrator who may still be struggling to get up to speed on Web research skills, TICAL creative director Michael Simkins offers a lighthearted "how to" of the basics in "Web Research: Ten Tips for the Techno-Challenged." Additional tips from an expert in the field can be found in "Inside the Mind of a Grant Reader," where Carol Kerney provides you with the do's of getting your proposal funded.

These pieces are just a sampling of what you'll find in this rich compendium of resources for data-driven management. And of course mangement really is only one piece of the larger leadership puzzle. Keeping energized and in contact with others facing the same challenges can be a renewing and inspiring experience. To that end, I'd like to remind you of our upcoming Tech Forum events in New York on October 19th and Austin on November 10th. For a sampling of the kind of content you can expect, visit our archives at: