Guest Article: Learning Growth Teams and the Use of Data Walls to Guide Improvement

By Michael Borgfjord, Seine River School Division

School systems are inundated with data, evidence, and information that can be used to create a strong picture of strengths, opportunities, challenges, and areas of sur- prise and wonder. Seldom is this large amount of information concisely used in a manner which guides deep reflection, deliberation, and as a means to build a culture of inquiry. Seine River School Division is a largely rural school division with 15 schools and approximately 4,500 students in south eastern Manitoba that has embarked on a journey to utilize various data sets to stimulate professional inquiry, build collaborative networks, and to reinforce a system of continuous improvement.

We believe that effective analysis of data can steer teams to a more focused approach to learning challenges and opportunities. We are striving to create a non-judgmental environment where staff feel safe to take risks and openly discuss challenges.

“If you never have that vulnerable moment, on the other hand, then people will try to cover up their weaknesses and every microtask becomes a place where insecurities manifest themselves” (Coyle, 2018).

This is why it has been imperative for leadership to inspire trust, is humble, non-judgmental, and demonstrates a strong vulnerability towards the learning process. “The lack of opportunities for honest dialogue and creative give-and-take lies at the root of today’s dysfunction” (Muller, 2018). This has been the basis of our work with our school leaders and staff as we build a strong learning organization that centers on relationships, shared goals, and shared accomplishments.