Our Commitment to Data and Student-Centered Decision-Making: A Deep Dive into Intersectionality, Reflection, and Collective Learning

Written by Chicago International Charter School
20 May 2024
Posted in Partner Spotlight

Picture a dynamic hub where diverse groups of educators and school leaders converge to exchange insights, celebrate victories, and tackle challenges head-on – all within a dedicated space for data analysis and collaboration. Spearheaded by our Schools Team at Chicago International Charter School (CICS), we're excited to introduce our latest initiative: the Quarterly Collective Response to Data Meetings. These sessions are designed to harness the collective expertise of our network, empowering us to monitor progress, scrutinize systems, and ultimately enhance outcomes for the students and families under our care.

Lucas “Luke” McShane, Managing Director of Teaching and Learning, took charge of creating a space for effective collaboration when he saw a need to strategically plan our academic trajectory in real time. "Our Collective Response to Data Meetings were designed to intentionally have our academic leads come together and collectively reflect, in real-time, our successes and growth points as a whole, shares Luke. “This allows us to thought-partner together and leverage our unique portfolio model to strengthen our support for families and expand our reach for prospective families in Chicago by using data to create inclusive spaces." 

With our partners from our diverse communities - Civitas Education Partners, Distinctive Schools, and ReGeneration Schools, together, we focus on our collective learning just as we learn from one another.

Reflection & Learning

In our recent Quarter 3 Collective Response to Data Meeting, we focused on using data to shape our plans for the upcoming school year. We honed in on three key areas: English language learners (EL) proficiency, diverse learners (DL), and fostering a sense of belonging within our educational community. EL students are those acquiring English proficiency, while DL students have various learning needs. Fostering belonging means ensuring students feel accepted and connected, leading to academic success. This emphasis on EL proficiency, DL support, and fostering belonging underscores our commitment to addressing diverse student needs and promoting inclusivity. By leveraging data and making actionable decisions, educators can create an environment where all students thrive.

This initiative is supported by, our partnership with The New Teacher Project (TNTP), led by Rachel Roberts, Director at TNTPe. TNTP's national perspective complements our focus on best practices, with Luke and Rachel co-planning and engaging in thought partnership. This collaboration ensures TNTP's involvement enriches our strategic direction while emphasizing localized impact.

Responding to Data

Our commitment to data-driven decision-making is more than just a concept; it's the driving force behind our progress. Katie O'Connor, Chief Education Officer for Distinctive Schools, emphasizes the importance of utilizing data effectively to inform actions, not just collecting information for the sake of it.

For instance, Distinctive Schools implements an Academic Monitoring cycle, allowing teams to track progress, reflect on responses, and design the next steps. Teams meet regularly to review student data, identify strengths and growth areas, and assess the effectiveness of interventions. This proactive approach ensures continuous improvement and responsiveness to student needs.

Similarly, our partners at Civitas Education Partners and ReGeneration Schools share our commitment to data-driven decision-making. Kelly Smith, Chief Education Officer at Civitas, highlights the responsibility of monitoring data to improve student outcomes, aligning with our shared dedication to using data as a compass for guiding decisions.

At all three organizations, data is not just a set of numbers; it's a catalyst for meaningful change. By listening to student voices, identifying areas for improvement, and taking decisive action, we ensure every student receives the support they need to thrive. This commitment to data translates into tangible results, shaping educational experiences and ultimately transforming lives.

In essence, our synergy isn't just about shared values; it's about a shared dedication to leveraging data for the betterment of our students and communities. Through collaboration and collective action, we're not just shaping the future of education; we're transforming lives.

Our Continued Way Forward

In conclusion, our journey through the intricacies of data-driven decision-making has illuminated the very essence of our collective mission. From Distinctive Schools to Civitas Education Partners and ReGeneration Schools, the resounding message is clear: data isn't just a tool; it's a responsibility. As we navigate the complexities of education, we remain steadfast in our commitment to doing what is best for our students. 

Together, we reaffirm our dedication to data and student-centered decision-making as foundational pillars of our mission. It's not just about numbers on a page or graphs on a screen; it's about using data to empower, uplift, and transform lives. With each decision guided by data and each action driven by student needs, we move ever closer to our shared vision of educational equity and excellence.

As we chart the course ahead, let us remember the power of data to shape our collective future. Let us embrace the challenges, knowing that with data as our compass, we have the tools to navigate any storm. And let us never waver in our commitment to doing what is best for our students, for they are the heart and soul of everything we do.


CICS proudly partners with Civitas Education Partners, Distinctive Schools, and ReGeneration Schools to operate 13 tuition-free public charter schools across Chicago.

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