The Louis Riel School Division (LRSD) is committed to using data for progress monitoring and decision making. Data involves a growth mindset and a solid grounding in data ethics as much as it involves proper tools and processes.
In line with goal 3.2 of the Multi-Year Strategic Plan (MYSP), LRSD's Data Literacy Initiative was originally launched in the 2019-2020 school year. After a pause due to the pandemic, this important initiative was officially restarted in January 2021.
How do experts define data literacy?
Data literacy is the ability to ask and answer real-world questions from large and small data sets through an inquiry process, with consideration of ethical use of data. (Wolff et al., 2016)
While it’s important to agree on what we mean when we talk about data literacy in LRSD, we also need to agree on a framework specific to developing our data literacy. We are inspired by the Open Data Institute’s (ODI) Data Skills Framework which helps us recognize the collective and individual skills we need to develop as a learning community.
Another ODI tool we use is its Data Ethics Canvas. It helps us to navigate the ethical issues at the heart of any individual or collective effort to steward and use data to create positive and lasting change in LRSD.
When we talk about data literacy in LRSD, we are referring to our MYSP's focus on creating a culture of inquiry and responsibility that has all learners demonstrate the aptitudes, skills and knowledge to be autonomous and confident in their innate ability to achieve goals and become life-long learners. It is a culture where all parents/guardians demonstrate support for the MYSP and contribute to a culture of inquiry and responsibility in their schools. Staff create and nurture this culture by demonstrating they are members of on-going cycles of collaborative evidence-informed inquiry to improve practices and systems.
This important initiative involves four commitments. On behalf of the students and communities we serve, we strive to be:
1. Data informed
2. Data ready
3. Data intelligent
4. Ethical data stewards
Learn more about LRSD's Four Data Literacy Commitments.
One valuable tool in LRSD's data literacy journey is Power BI, an analytics application by Microsoft. Power BI allows users to create a visual display of data (Data Discovery Dashboards) and helps individuals easily interact with data while quickly gaining insights. School leaders can access Power BI reports on student achievement, engagement, attendance, enrolment, diversity, and more. View the public Data Discovery Dashboards on:
The Data Literacy Initiative is also directly tied to the actions LRSD is taking to achieve the goals outlined in the MYSP. In the 2020-2021 school year, the division began measuring the impact of those actions on student outcomes. Learn how LRSD is Using Data to Monitor our Multi-Year Strategic Plan.
LRSD will continue its focus on data literacy to effectively identify improvement, successes, and needs. Further developing and implementing research-informed teaching practice and learning theory will also be important to remaining responsive to students' specific needs. This journey toward improvement must be co-created alongside students to ensure they are empowered to self-direct their learning.
The hope is that if this work is connected to the development of greater intercultural understanding, compassion, and mutual respect, then all students, especially those made most vulnerable by barriers created by systemic racism, will experience positive changes in achievement, belonging and well-becoming.
- Christian Michalik, Superintendent