Saturday, April 18, 2015

21 Day Daily Data Challenge


(Part 4 of a 4 part series)
After my trip to Kentucky, to the Evidence-Based School Counseling Conference, I couldn't wait to create my miracle! However, implementing ALL I had learned back at my school was going to be a different story.  You know, real life meets good intentions?   As exciting as it all was, I was on information overload and wasn't sure where to start.  Over the next couple of days as I began to process my conference experiences I knew I needed to get into the data for my school.  As with any big job, especially if it is new, it can seem totally overwhelming. The secret to success, I have found, is to make a plan, start small, and put it out there for your friends and colleagues to hold you accountable.  Because I know myself, and some of you may be the same way, if I don't make a plan and share it with everyone I will probably not see it through to the finish.  So here it is. My plan to start practicing and implementing some of the great things I learned at the EBSC conference.  I have created the 21 Day Daily Data Challenge. I hope you will consider joining me on this adventure!

What is the 21 Day Daily Data Challenge?
It's simple really. My idea is to do one small task each day to get into my data.  That seems manageable to me, when I consider all my other School Counselor duties, and my desire to have a personal life. The challenges are divided into sections, Day 1 is about organization, Days 2-9 are the data round-up.  Days 10-15 are the data mining. Days 15-19 are problem identification and response. Days 20 and 21 are evaluate and share.  I have also included some helpful forms I got from our faithful ASCA website which I think will make the various tasks of the 21 Day Daily Data Challenge easier.  The folder of forms is HERE or you can look for them posted on my daily data update along with the next day's challenge.

The Daily Data Update
Each evening I will post  the challenge for the following day on this blog.  For example, on Sunday evening I will post the Day 1 challenge for Monday.  On Monday I will share my experience in meeting the Day 1 challenge and issue the challenge for Day 2 and so on for the remaining 19 school days. But, if you want to look ahead and see what the challenges are for each day, you will find the list of challenges HERE.  You can also subscribe to this blog (on the right) to receive email notifications when I've posted each day's challenge and my results.  

There are as many excuses for not getting in your data as there are School Counselors like...
"I've got too much to do, there's no time for this."
"I have more important student issues to deal with right now,"
"This is a waste of time, nothing is going to change."
"My administrator is never going to let me out of this duty anyway."
  "This is just really a bad time for me."
"I don't know much about data and I'm really not sure what to do."

We must remember how important it is for all of us to show the value of having School Counselors in every school. The use of data is the only way to get the legislators, administrators, and taxpayers to know and understand  how students are different because of what School Counselors do!  We owe it to ourselves, our schools our students and our profession to show how we make a difference!

WHY participate?
So why should you participate in the 21 Day Daily Data Challenge? Let's see, it will strengthen your program by identifying goals for your school and showing the value of your services as a School Counselor. If you are part of this wonderful profession, you have heard or know first hand about School Counselors who act as glorified, highly paid bus, recess, hall, and cafeteria monitors, test coordinators and registrars.  The collective cry of School Counselors who just want to do the job they were trained to do is loud and clear. And so is the solution.  Dr.Trish Hatch said it best at my state conference in October,

"Principals don't know what we do or what they can count on from us, so they assign us the tasks that need to be done, that may have nothing to  do with school counseling." 

So we must show them! Each and everyone of us must show the impact our classroom, small group and individual counseling skills have on the social/emotional, academic and career success of our students. Our tender-hearted anecdotes are not enough.  We must use data!  I know this whole thing with data is relatively new and unfamiliar to me, but I'm learning.  I figure if I publicly challenge myself and invite you all along, I'll not just be creating a miracle for my school, but encouraging other School Counselors to create miracles for their school counseling programs as well.

I Challenge YOU!
So who is with me?  Are you ready to create a miracle for what is left of this school year and set the stage for more miracles for next year?  Kick your excuses to the curb and make a commitment to join me in the 21 Day Daily Data Challenge.  I will be right here with you. As a matter of fact we can do this together.  I have finally set up a Facebook page for the Exploring School Counseling blog. The first posts will be about the 21 Day Daily Data Challenge.  It will be a  place where anyone who is interested in taking the challenge can chat about the successes and frustrations of each day's activity, share pictures or resources and can encourage and cheer each other on.

I  will leave you with this bit of encouragement I found as I wrestled with my own insecurities about starting this challenge and my ability to finish it successfully.

I'm ready are you?  I hope you will consider accepting the 21 Day Daily Data Challenge and joining me on my journey!


  1. I love this, Jeannie. I'm not sure if I can participate this spring, but I'm going to give it a shot anyway. My counseling team will be renewing our RAMP status at the end of next year and will have to do much of this in the process, so I may as well start gathering some of the information now.

  2. Thanks Jan! If you are renewing your RAMP you have already done these things. I am hoping to inspire some of our FB colleagues who are stuck in a lot of non-counselor duties to use the data and the flashlight approach to show their impact. I don't know about your school but if I don't start collecting a lot of the data now it will be wiped from our system with the new school year. I'm thinking about RAMP for my school. I may need to pick your brain sometime.