Strategy & Performance
OverviewThe Office of Strategy and Performance was created during the 2015-2016 school year to coordinate the district’s strategic planning, our district-wide management and use of student data, and our internal and external communications. The Office of Strategy and Performance is a renamed and reorganized department that is made up primarily of staff from what was previously called the Data Team. Prior to the 2015-16 school year (FY 2016), the Data Team had existed for over a decade and consisted of three staff members – a Director, a Database Manager, and an Applications Support Specialist – performing tasks related to the collection and management of data required for state and federal reporting including enrollment, attendance, and assessment. It also supported the analysis and use of MCAS results in schools and classrooms. The Office of Strategy and Performance was created during FY 2016 by a prior Superintendent to coordinate the district’s strategic planning, the district-wide management of student information systems, the use of student data, and family and community outreach. The primary functions of this team are described below:
1. Strategic PlanningThe Office of Strategy and Performance coordinates work across the district to develop and monitor the long term strategic planning needed for the PSB to achieve its four core goals. The office provides support to district and school leaders on the development and rollout of district and school initiatives to ensure effective coordination, communication, alignment with the district goals, and to improve overall implementation. The office also helps to lead the management of long-term capital projects including the 9th elementary school and BHS expansion.2. Information Systems and Data ManagementA primary function of the Office of Strategy and Performance is to manage student and staff information across eight primary systems that are used for scheduling, enrollment and registration, health, college applications, communications, food services, and library circulation. The work done by staff in the Office of Strategy and Performance to maintain these systems enables essential functions across all schools such as: school enrollment, ensuring students with food allergies are safe, providing report cards and progress reports to families, ensuring the necessary and appropriate supports are provided to students with disabilities, regular and emergency communications with school communities, and the management of library materials. The proper maintenance and upkeep of the information in these systems enables the PSB to fulfill the reporting requirements of the state and federal government. Without these systems and this work, the PSB would not receive Chapter 70 funding, Medicaid reimbursement, Circuit Breaker reimbursement, or federal funding and grants. Below are a portion of the required data collection requirements from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education:
Members of this team also work with the Office of Teaching and Learning to support teachers, teams of teachers, principals, and coordinators in easily accessing student learning data. In providing this information, the question, “How are our students doing?” can be asked and investigated from many angles. In the 2017-18 school year, this department supported schools, teachers, and administrators by: developing improved reports for our benchmark literacy assessment reports; building the Youth Risk Behavior Survey administered by the Brookline Health Department and PSB with our middle and high school students; providing information about students with chronic absenteeism to all schools; providing data to principals and curriculum coordinators to help them better understand achievement and opportunity gaps that exist in our schools; disaggregating MCAS data by grade level, race/ethnicity, special education status, and socio-economic level; and working with the K-12 Director of Performing Arts to better understand the participation of subgroups of students in BHS performing arts programs, and investigating structures within our district which have disparate impacts on students by race/ethnicity, special education status and socio-economic level. While the Office of Strategy and Performance provides this information and more, it is the schools, principals, teachers, coordinators, deans and other staff who decide how to respond to the information.3. Family and Community Outreach
This office facilitates the work across the district to include, inform and engage families and community members in the work of our schools and the district. PSB reaches out to community members through public meetings, email, the PSB website, social media, our school PTOs, our community partner organizations, and our local newspapers. This office also coordinates and supports outreach related to public meetings, such as the public engagement process for the 9th elementary school construction and the expansion of Brookline High School and leads our efforts on crisis communications.
The primary objectives of the Office of Strategy & Performance are listed in the FY2017 budget as follows:
- Develop a comprehensive plan for data use throughout the system, including comprehensive strategic data governance and security policies;
- In collaboration with the Office of Teaching and Learning, develop and implement a strategy for making student learning data accessible and usable at all levels of the system to support continuous improvement in learning, achievement, instruction, and operations;
- Implement efficiency-building work in core data systems, including system integration and migrations to vendor-hosted platforms;
- Document and improve workflows and processes so PSB has accurate data for students when they enter school and for staff when they are hired;
- Complete the development and rollout of Strategic Plan 2.0;
- Develop and execute a system-wide communications plan for internal and external stakeholders
- Provide ongoing strategic and communications support to the School Committee and Town on the 9th Elementary School Site Selection process and the BHS Expansion and Renovation project; and
- Complete current in-process technology projects, including migration to a new email system and the transition of all school websites to the SchoolWires platform.
Background on the Office of Strategy and PerformanceThe Office of Strategy and Performance is a renamed and reorganized department that is made up primarily of staff from what was previously called the Data Team. Prior to the 2015-16 school year (FY16), the Data Team had existed for over a decade and consisted of three staff members – a Director, a Database Manager, and an Applications Support Specialist – performing tasks related to the collection and management of data required for state and federal reporting including enrollment, attendance, and assessment. It also supported the analysis and use of MCAS results in schools and classrooms. Over the years, the Data Team had moved between the Office of Teaching and Learning and the Office of Administration and Finance and lacked consistent support, oversight, or leadership.
In August 2015, the Special Assistant for Strategy and Performance was hired to provide leadership and management to the group. A Data Specialist was hired in May 2016 to respond to the growing interest by teachers, teacher teams, senior leadership, curriculum coordinators, and principals to use a wide range of data to inform decision making. In FY 2017 the department added a Planning Specialist to support the significant need to improve long-term planning and help keep staff, parents, guardians, families, and community members well informed about and engaged in the work of our schools, and the ongoing and rapidly increasing number of significant capital projects.