School leaders who launch new schools are faced with many questions and challenges as they dream of and prepare for their first day of school, including, “What makes our school unique?” “How do I build a staff?” and “If I build it, will they (students) enroll?” These and other questions require thoughtful approaches and lots of prep work.
Among the most important questions to ask is, “What technology will we need for students and staff to ensure success?” Ben Samuels-Kalow, founder and Head of School at Creo College Prep in New York City, takes a very thoughtful approach in the latest edition of the Schoolrunner Webinar Series, “Improving Student Outcomes: Insights powered by Better Student Data & Accessible Analysis Tools.”
Prior to founding Creo College Prep, Ben was selected for the nationally recognized Building Excellent Schools (BES) Fellowship, a year-long school design and leadership program that trains founders on the management, design, operations, governance, and accountability of public charter schools. The program instilled in him the power of data to highlight what it takes to operate a great school and drive continuous improvement. Those lessons are fundamental to the approach Ben and his team take at Creo College Prep, which serves grades 5–8 and opened in 2019.
In the webinar, Ben touches on many important things to keep in mind when opening a new school. Takeaways include:
- Keep the technology stack simple. There are just three primary tools that teachers need to learn for workflow and communication. They’re the Google Suite for documents, Slack for staff communications, and Schoolrunner for communicating with or about a student. Click here for a short clip about Creo Prep’s technology stack.
- You can’t fix what you can’t measure. Ben and his team have tracked academic and behavioral data from day one. Not only is it important to track the data, it’s also important to see how academic and behavioral data interact with one another. For example, Ben and his team can see data for students who haven’t scored many positive behavior mentions and overlap that with data about whether or not an adult has had a check in with them recently. This helps the team prioritize staff outreach to students. For more on interactions between academic and behavioral data, click here.
- Keep families engaged through effective communications. Ben runs a daily report of students who haven’t been communicated with during the current week. A dynamic report in Schoolrunner shows who hasn’t received a text or a call this week from their advisor. This report is especially helpful during this stressful and challenging time staying connected with students and their families solely virtually. See the short video here.
In addition, Charlie Coglianese, founder and Chief Data Wizard of Schoolrunner, highlighted many important ways schools are using Schoolrunner to enable a remote learning environment.
It’s amazing to see how much Ben and his team have accomplished in one short year of operating as a school. We’re excited to continue supporting Creo College Prep and many other BES schools as they launch and grow in the years to come!
Click here to view the webinar in its entirety.