Data Hub Educator Spotlight: Joshua Hall

Data Tools and PracticesGrade 9 Success

Previously, we shared a blog about RISE’s history with data tools and their use with our network of educators, followed by a blog exploring specific components of the Hub. Over the coming months, we will introduce you to educators working with the Hub as part of their daily practice supporting students, starting with Joshua Hall, Grade 9 Assistant Principal at Weaver High School in Hartford. Joshua is a member of RISE’s recently launched Hub Innovation Fellows, a group of educators who are providing feedback to better understand their experiences and help us define the future of the Hub.

Joshua Hall

Q: How has the RISE Data Hub enhanced your personal practice?  How do you use the Hub throughout your day/week?

A: The Hub has allowed me to be more intentional about using data. It was hard to glean information from the previous platform so I didn’t use it as much as I probably should have. But the Data Hub is something that I readily go to every single day. One of the things that we did this year, based on my recommendation, was on-track conferences for all grade levels. Utilizing the Data Hub, with the student profiles, allows for that conversation to be more meaningful and enables me to share information across grade levels. It’s one thing to use PowerSchool but I think the color-coded nature of the Hub really shines a light for students and the staff who are supporting them. It helps them to understand that you want to be in that dark green [on-track] when you’re in that lighter shade of green [almost on-track] or the yellow [almost off-track] or the red [off-track] and helps them navigate that way.  That’s been very helpful, as well as being able to use the Data Hub to share on-track and ADA reports with everyone else, whereas PowerSchool can be a bit clunky with that.    

Q: Can you describe a change, improvement, or enhancement that the Hub has helped to support in your school? 

A: The Data Hub allows you to unpack data for specific cohorts and not just grade-level data, which allows us to have better conversations. In our different protocols, we’re often trying to have a focused group of students who share common characteristics so we can employ some type of intervention to help support them. Originally, I was running straight reports on on-track or ADA, but I wanted to be able to break it down even further. So now we can see that the students who are coming to school every day are doing better than the students who aren’t. Then within that, we’re thinking about our special education students and our multi-lingual students, because then we have a group of students who do come every day but aren’t necessarily doing well. Being able to get that information and share it with the team is invaluable.          

In thinking about our 12th graders, when we look at that NGAR [Next Generation Accountability Report] from the state, it’s focused on that cohort of 2024, for example, and the Hub allows us to pull out that cohort and not just look at 12th-graders.  What we were finding before, just using PowerSchool, was that we were looking at our 12th graders, and our data was skewed, as opposed to looking at the cohort. Now, because we have the Data Hub, it’s helping us to understand and focus on the cohort, which has benefitted us tremendously.    

Q: Tell us about a feature or tool that you find particularly useful in the tool in the Hub. How does that feature help you and your team?

A: The Hub itself has been very useful, specifically being able to disaggregate the data based on particular student characteristics. For example, being able to disaggregate not only from an on-track perspective but also from an average daily attendance perspective, that’s very helpful. We have a friendly competition going on in our school, between grade levels, and I often say that, yes, I’m in charge of all ninth graders, but when it comes to Freshman Academy [first-time Freshmen], it’s the true ninth-graders.

Through the Hub, we are able to share that information with the Freshman Academy team and pull out certain cohorts of students within that data, whether it’s our special education or our multi-lingual students and how they’re doing, or how students who are 90 to 100 percent ADA are doing versus 70 to 80. Being able to break it down to that level has been very helpful because it allows for a more targeted approach to dealing with smaller cohorts of students and what interventions we can then begin to employ to help support their progress and growth.

Q: How does the Hub help you and fellow educators in your work helping students stay on-track and graduate prepared for postsecondary success? 

A: We have on-track conferences every quarter and we also have what we call “BAG Celebrations,” which stands for behavior, attendance, and grades. So students who are doing well in those three areas get celebrated at a ceremony, where we give them a literal bag of goodies. We saw some students who weren’t part of it during the first go-around who were then part of it on the second go-around and we’re planning our third right now. 

Q: How has the Hub helped you work collaboratively with other educators?

A: Our Freshman Academy team meets every week and we organize our meeting cadence around the “BAG.” Our first meeting of the month is on behavior, our second meeting of the month is on attendance, our third meeting is around grades, and then we do some type of learning during the fourth meeting of the month. On our team, we have a behavior tech, who leads the conversation around behavior and those students who are struggling, we have a social worker, who is one of our team leads, we have a Student Engagement Specialist who is focused on attendance, and then we have our school counselor, who leads the conversation around grades.  These team meetings all utilize the Data Hub, which is where folks get information about how students are performing.    

Visit our website to learn more about the Data Hub and submit an interest form.