A look back at the Top Ten revealed some strong trends in the kind of data that resonated and that we need to continue to collect:
• Community connections – Many of the posts connect to something greater going beyond the traditional definition of school. Community partnerships, involvement, and general connection to meeting the unique needs of the neighborhood matter.
• Contribution to something greater – Whether it’s cleaning litter in the neighborhood, sharing our knowledge at a conferences, or having kindergartners teach preschoolers their letters and sounds, we need to contribute.
• Adult relationships – Relationships, relationships, relationships – that’s where it starts and ends. Our children need adults in their lives who will care about them, believe in them, push them to new heights, and provide them with great role models.
Academic data is important, but schools need to define themselves in the other ways, too, to capture the climate and culture. While this is no easy task, there are survey tools out there to measure what students, staff, and parents think. However, what really matters is telling the stories. Next time you see something at your school that you are proud of, don’t keep it to yourself. Tell the world and share why it mattered to you. We all are looking for your inspiration.
Katherine Smith School is a public, neighborhood New Tech elementary school in the Evergreen School District in San Jose, CA.