Alabama High School Builds Special Data Center for Teachers

Educators will be able to monitor student academic performance and develop fixes on an individual basis using technology

by Ben Nunnally, The Anniston Star / December 14, 2018

(TNS) — Anniston High School cut the ribbon Wednesday on a new space that will let teachers keep closer eye on their students’ grades.

Principal Charles Gregory had attendees cheer “Bulldogs lead the way” as what will be known as the LIVE data center was opened. The data center will collect and store academic information from each student in one location for teachers to reference and use in lesson planning.

“What it allows us to do is hone in on each particular student’s strengths and weaknesses, academically speaking, and develop instructional strategies to pull them up,” Gregory said.

Located on the second floor of the main school building, the LIVE room — an acronym for “learning is very empowering” — contains a large monitor and several whiteboards that display information like grades, standardized test scores and ACT practice test results for each student. Teachers of each grade meet once per week in the room to find academic weak spots and develop fixes for each student on an individual basis.

“This is nothing new, but what we have done is elevate the tools we use in our student data boards, as well as interactive boards to present data and instructional material to teachers in a manner that is crystal clear,” he said.

According to Janet Bavonese, associate dean of the School of Education at Jacksonville State University, data rooms help instructors visualize information as it changes throughout the school year, which translates into better learning experiences for students.

“It becomes more of a real-time process than kind of an autopsy,” Bavonese said. “We can take intervention relatively quickly.”

White Plains Middle School, in the Calhoun County Schools system, reported positive results from its data room in 2016.

Data rooms are different than data walls, a similar measuring tool that generated some controversy in the last few years because they display names on classroom walls with grades attached, ostensibly a motivational tool for students with flagging class ranks. The new data room at Anniston High School, meanwhile, is a teachers-only space, Gregory said, and the whiteboards are arranged to keep information private, even if someone looks through the room’s glass doors.

Students said they were glad the school was supporting them by taking action.

“They nail the data down so we know where we need to improve,” said Tahj Jones, a junior.

Tyeisha Griffin, also a junior, said that she liked how the data room would allow teachers to work with specific students.

“They’re keeping up with our ACT scores, our practice ACT scores and everything else, so they know what we need to do to better ourselves,” she said.

Anniston City Board of Education president Robert Houston said that the new room is a sign that the school system is growing in a new, better direction.

“I know we’re not where everybody wants us to be, but we are making progress,” he said.

©2018 The Anniston Star (Anniston, Ala.). Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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