We all want to use data more effectively and authentically in ways that make an impact, but where to begin?  It starts with a good action plan.

This year, my team wanted to work on gathering student input on school climate and overall feeling in our middle school.  We wanted to know when a student has peaks and valleys and if there were trends across the grade-levels.

Borrowing from Victoria Bernhardt’s book The School Portfolio Toolkit (2002), I began working on an action plan on how we might collect data for this need.


Talking through the components of our action plan, and putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), allowed us to articulate our direction.  It led to one of the most exciting, and promising projects I’ve gotten to work on: a survey that checks in with students, tracks trends, and alerts for changes in responses.

First round of responses and raw data from the student survey. I’ll be excited to share the actual visualization reports in a future post!

Walking through a guided action plan can elicit exciting new ideas and directions, while anticipating needed resources and naming responsible parties.  I call it UbDD – Understanding by Data-Design!

(You can find a Google Doc for you to make your own action plan in the Projects section)


Disclaimer: The data and graphics used on this site are simulated re-creations intended to protect the privacy of the original data sources.