Post Content

School statnet

In the past decade, school districts in Massachusetts and around the country have been learning how to use data to customize teaching to each student’s individual needs, to support coaching and development of teachers, and to make big-picture decisions about resource allocation within a district. In internal meetings at all levels, districts across the Commonwealth are using data in high-stakes and high-impact ways.

While districts have become increasingly sophisticated at using data internally, we haven’t as often been using data to compare practices across districts. The new School StatNet program will take districts into this new area of data usage by convening district decision-makers for four discussions of data relating to school operations. Our hypothesis is that, by bringing together a group of districts to discuss consolidated practices and data related to important district topics, each district will have an opportunity to get new ideas on options for improving operations and educational strategies.

School StatNet is one of five education-related projects being carried out throughout the Commonwealth funded by the Patrick-Murray Administration’s Community Innovation Challenge (CIC) Grant Program. Somerville, Revere, Chicopee, and Fitchburg are taking the lead on the School StatNet program, which also involves partners from state agencies and academia.

School StatNet is being modeled after the successful Municipal StatNet program that Somerville helped found in 2008 with Springfield and Amesbury. Also with funding from A&F, Municipal StatNet brings together more than 64 New England municipalities to discuss data and share best practices.

Somerville fully understands the value of data in informing the decision-making process. While the City of Somerville had been using our own data to make decisions and improve operations for almost a decade, participating in the Municipal StatNet program has allowed us to do something we hadn’t been able to do before – compare what we do to other cities, rather than just comparing to our own past performance. Most striking about municipal StatNet meetings are the lessons learned and best practices that surface when data get shared. At each meeting, every community has an interesting practice to share; even the most sophisticated communities walk away with new ways of thinking about municipal operations. Meetings have also helped us identify challenges common to many municipalities which may require regional or state-level solutions.

School StatNet will bring together school districts from throughout the Commonwealth to examine data on school operations and student achievement, and to discuss operational strategies on a variety of topics.  A State-level advisory board will help shape the direction of School StatNet so that it complements related initiatives at the State level, such as the release of Edwin, the State’s new teaching and learning data management system.

Our first School StatNet meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 21st.  The meeting will be a data-informed discussion with participants comparing notes on the following two topics:

1. Systems of student support and intervention that districts carry out for general education students in grades K-5; and

2. An overview of the basics of each participating district — the size, number of schools, grade-spans of schools, and student population characteristics.

To get more information on School StatNet, please contact the project coordinator, Stephanie Hirsch, at  shirsch@somervillema.gov or 617-625-6600 ext. 2340.

We look forward to rich, data informed discussions in the coming year, and to the lessons learned for each of us who participate and for our state-level and academic partners.

By: Vincent P. McKay, Ph.D., Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, Somerville Public Schools & Stephanie Hirsch, School StatNet Coordinator, Somerville Public Schools and the City of Somerville

Written By:


Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, Somerville Public Schools

Dr. McKay has achieved several accomplishment since taking this post. They are, including but not limited to: Added a wide variety of subjects and course offerings in core content subjects and specialist subjects; Updated textbooks and instructional materials to support subjects and course offering; Increased the availability of technology to supplement subjects and course offering; Instituted required writing program with a portfolio of writing samples for each student in all grade; and placed significant emphasis on research, critical thinking and problem solving across all subjects.

Tags: , ,

Recent Posts

Mass EduData Challenge Marks its Third Week posted on Jun 24

Mass EduData Challenge Marks its Third Week

The Mass EduData Challenge, an education-centered civic data challenge, just completed its third week. Since the May 28th launch at Cambridge hacker space, hack/reduce the challenge has seen a steady increase in participants. The goal of the challenge participants is to enhance educational tools and   …Continue Reading Mass EduData Challenge Marks its Third Week

COMMBUYS Provides New Web Platform for Commonwealth Businesses/Government Commerce posted on Jun 23

COMMBUYS Provides New Web Platform for Commonwealth Businesses/Government Commerce

In 1997, a new web-based bid solicitation system called Comm-PASS was launched by the Commonwealth. At the time, it was considered cutting edge. Unfortunately as time progressed, Comm-PASS no longer adequately met customer demand. Accordingly, the Operational Services Division (OSD) sought to create something better.   …Continue Reading COMMBUYS Provides New Web Platform for Commonwealth Businesses/Government Commerce

Developers Dive into Educational Data at the Mass EduData Challenge Kickoff posted on Jun 3

Developers Dive into Educational Data at the Mass EduData Challenge Kickoff

The Mass EduData Challenge, a six-week open data competition, held its official kickoff event on Wednesday, May 28th at hack/reduce. This education-focused civic hacking competition challenges developers to enhance educational outcomes by leveraging public data sets maintained by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education   …Continue Reading Developers Dive into Educational Data at the Mass EduData Challenge Kickoff