Educator Spotlight: Laura Ehlinger

Data Tools and PracticesGrade 9 SuccessRISE by 5 Strategies

Throughout the year, RISE will be shining a light on some of the many talented educators we partner with to achieve our mission of ensuring all students graduate with a plan and the skills and confidence to achieve college and career success.

This month we learn more about one of our RISE Network On-Track Coaches, Laura Ehlinger, who works at Westhill High School in Stamford, CT, including how she uses the RISE Data Hub to support student outcome goals.

Q: Why did you became an educator?

A: I want to make sure that every student has the support and opportunities they need to be successful.

Q: Can you share some fun facts about yourself?

A: A professional fun fact; I was once the Connecticut School Counselor Association Chairman of the Board. It was great being connected to a larger community advancing the support of students’ academic, social emotions, and post-secondary plans. A personal fun fact; I love to travel with my family! In 2021, my husband and I did a massive road trip from Las Vegas back to CT and visited seven national parks (Grand Canyon, Bryce, Zion, Arches, Mammoth Cave, Capitol Reef, and Canyonlands). There were also a lot of small adventures in between like the salt mines in Kansas, the botanical gardens in Colorado, and the national mall in D.C.

Q: How does the RISE Data Hub change your daily practice and help you achieve your student outcome goals?

A: I look at the Data Hub every morning to see if there are any changes to a student’s on-track status and identify who I may need to have a conversation with that day or week.

Q: What’s your favorite part of the Data Hub?

A: I particularly enjoy the quick tables and the ability to quickly filter information to specific populations or targeted groups that I work with to foster change and support. Additionally, the quick view of grades is very helpful to identify what class may have changed without needing to flip between too many screens.

Q: How would you describe the Data Hub?

A: The Hub is very user-friendly and a game-changer. If I was able to have this as a school counselor, I would have been able to pull relevant information so much easier than clicking through my caseload on PowerSchool one by one and writing down the names of who I need to talk to and why. I can now sort the students I am targeting and I can view and download that information quickly.

Q: How does the Data Hub support your student outcome goals?

A: Every year my primary objective is to help students become sophomores. The Data Hub gives me the ability to track not only how my students are doing, but also how the school is doing in comparison very easily. This is extremely helpful at Westhill because while I was hustling to reach my second goal of helping students who need high risk supports become on-track, my students were still about 15%-20% more on-track than the rest of the freshman or even the first-time freshman class. I attribute this to the active awareness of how my students were doing through the Data Hub.

Q: How do you and your team use the Data Hub?

A: A different way that the OTCs utilized the Hub last year was in our role-alike meeting. One of the drop-down options is to see “climbers and sliders” on our caseload. This quick comparison helped to identify students we wanted to meet or communicate with who slid in the quarter and could still be boosted up before the quarter ended.

Q: How has the Data Hub changed your practice or made your job a little easier?

A: A key difference that the Hub has helped with includes the ability to filter and download information for tracking purposes. Last year, I had a group of students I met with each week complete a tracker on their class grades, attendance, predicted credits, and GPA. The Hub helped me quickly check and track this group’s progress and movement between weeks and quarters.

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