Spend time with educators and a few simple truths emerge: There is never enough time, resources are constrained, requirements grow more complex, and so on, and so on. If you travel to enough education-related conferences, the refrains become all too predictable. Yet at these same conferences, you learn about people and groups who are overcoming challenges and making a difference.
At last week’s annual conference of the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships (NCCEP), we conducted a joint presentation with our good friends from GEAR UP North Carolina. We learned how innovative educators craft unique solutions to complex problems in ways that improve students’ lives.
As part of a company known for advanced analytics, we were gratified to learn how many presenters use statistical analysis as a part of their solutions. For example, Greg Darnieder of the U.S. Department of Education, highlighted how school systems analyze FAFSA completion rates to improve college admission rates. And Paul Smith of Virginia Commonwealth University led a session at which participants learned to use statistical analysis to identify strategies that influence student matriculation into post-secondary education.
Our presentation, GEAR UP + SAS® Curriculum Pathways® Yields Greater College Readiness for All Students, generated engaging discussions with educators from California, Tennessee, and Utah about their technology initiatives. We found common goals and ambitions that can lead to effective collaboration.
The education landscape is too often littered with bad news, from low test scores to high dropout rates. Increased statistical analysis, improved technology, and better funding are all critical to addressing these problems. But they will be solved by innovative educators using their collaborative talents. Hearing of their successes and plans, we can’t help but feel invigorated and optimistic.