Utilizing Data to Advance Equity in Education

May 18, 2022

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FUSE Corps

The Atlanta Public Schools (APS) is launching the first-of-its-kind Opportunity, Tangible, Intangible, and Systems (OTIS) Equity Index to extract data trends to inform how APS makes strategic decisions about its programs, interventions, time, and resources. APS will partner with a FUSE Executive Fellow to lead the co-design, implementation, and dissemination of the OTIS Equity Index.

This fellowship project begins on July 25, 2022, and ends on July 24, 2023. The fellowship begins with a multi-day virtual orientation the week of July 25, 2022. The selected Executive Fellow will begin their first day of providing services to the host agency on August 1, 2022.

PROJECT CONTEXT

The Covid-19 pandemic upended the education system across the county and spotlighted longstanding disparities in educational opportunity, academic growth, and achievement. Within the context of the pandemic, students of color in public schools face deepening disparities, falling even further behind pre-pandemic expectations. Public schools across the US are utilizing this unique moment, taking stock and building schools back better post-pandemic – addressing any barriers and working to eliminate these disparities by ensuring equity and opportunity are available to all students.

In 2020, the Atlanta Board of Education and Atlanta Public Schools (APS) launched an ambitious strategic plan that places equity at the forefront of their work. The We are APS, Building on Our Legacy plan outlines equity commitments and provides a framework for staff to address education equity in specific and impactful ways. This includes changing how APS fundamentally operates to improve equity at scale in the district. In late 2021, APS opened its first office devoted solely to advancing equity in education to drive forward the district’s new equity policy. The APS Center for Equity and Social Justice (CESJ) will support APS in delivering on its Equity Commitments, examining current policies and practices, working to interrupt and eliminate inequitable practices, and creating inclusive and just conditions for all students, in particular ensuring that Atlanta’s most vulnerable and marginalized students receive a quality education. The Center envisions serving as a national model for intentionally, explicitly, and sustainably addressing equity challenges in education. This includes launching the first-of-its-kind Opportunity, Tangible, Intangible, and Systems (OTIS) Equity Index. The OTIS Equity Index will extract data trends to inform how APS makes strategic decisions about its programs, interventions, time, and resources. This tool will be essential to enhancing the district’s mission of equipping students for college, career, and life.

To support district leaders and staff with being more deliberate in infusing equity into APS’s practices and operations, APS will partner with FUSE Corps to lead the co-design, implementation, and dissemination of the OTIS Equity Index. The Executive Fellow will work directly with district leaders and stakeholders to transparently solicit and incorporate input on the development of the data tool and develop a comprehensive plan to operationalize the data tool, internally and externally. The Executive Fellow will review initial trends and recommend emerging opportunities for APS to champion that support the academic interests and whole-child development of APS students, families, and school communities. Overall, the FUSE Executive Fellow will establish an explicit culture for using the resource to make strategic data-informed and equity-guided decisions that benefit all students. 

PROJECT SUMMARY & POTENTIAL DELIVERABLES

The following provides a general overview of the proposed Executive Fellowship project. This summary and the potential deliverables will be collaboratively revisited by the host agency, the Executive Fellow, and FUSE staff during the first few months of the Executive Fellowship, after which a revised scope of work will be developed and agreed upon by the FUSE Executive Fellow and the host agency.

Starting in July 2022, it is proposed that the FUSE Executive Fellow will work to quickly build deep relationships with a wide range of critical stakeholders, including staff across APS and the City of Atlanta, APS families, school communities, and community partners. The Executive Fellow will solicit and incorporate stakeholder input on the development of the OTIS tool. This will include understanding what metrics or indicators must be tracked within the tool. The Executive Fellow will engage closely with APS’s Data and Information Group to determine what data is in the current system, how metrics are tracked, and gaps based on stakeholder needs. The Executive Fellow will review best practices from other city’s Opportunity Indexes (Boston and Chicago), assessing applicability locally.

The Executive Fellow will utilize this information to develop a comprehensive plan to operationalize the data tool. This will include determining how to combine data from school to school effectively; building out a process for integrating other/new data sets, using potential external sources; and shaping the design elements of a dashboard (that is both internally and externally facing). The Executive Fellow will also design data analysis training for district staff, stakeholders, and partners. This will include developing a framework for how each stakeholder can utilize this data to highlight effective policy and programs currently in place or create a business case for developing new policy, programs, and advocacy campaigns.

The Executive Fellow will support the implementation of the tool, articulating clear roles for internal and external stakeholders, roll-out timelines, and determining milestones. The Executive Fellow will connect with partner organizations to encourage responsible use of the OTIS tool in coordination with city planning efforts. The Executive Fellow will also provide APS leadership with practical communications resources to initiate and strengthen collective advocacy campaigns that champion academic interests and whole-child development. The Executive Fellow will support long-term implementation, employing continuous improvement strategies and accountability mechanisms.

The following responsibilities and anticipated outcomes are expected of a FUSE Executive Fellow during the yearlong project: 

  • Engage stakeholders and conduct a thorough review of current data Facilitate communication and information exchange, strengthening existing lines of communication between stakeholders; review all existing data, sources, and metrics/analysis; determine needs and map gaps; extensively review national best practices and identify solutions that could potentially be used by Atlanta, assessing applicability locally
  • Develop a comprehensive plan to operationalize the tool – Work closely with APS’s Data and Information Group to source and integrate new data sources that address academic and wraparound support needs; determine the elements of an internally and externally facing dashboard; design accessibility and data analysis training, including a framework with probing questions, a template, and direction on communicating insights, combining data, visuals, and a narrative, for different audiences
  • Support initial implementation – Establish a framework with clear roles of internal and external stakeholders, timelines for new data integrations, and milestones for tracking progress; connect with partner organizations to encourage responsible use of the resource in coordinating with city planning efforts, soliciting feedback from major stakeholders on the dashboards and data; establish a process for capturing important trends in the data and determining the impact of APS investments/programs in realtime
  • Support long-term dissemination and accountable use of the tool – Work with leadership across the city to manage the tool; analyze initial data to determine which APS divisions need supplemental support to reach their Equity Commitments; review trends and recommend to APA where community partners should ‘plug into’ programs; provide APS leadership with effective communications resources to initiate and strengthen collective advocacy campaigns; employ continuous improvement strategies; and leverage a local and national network to identify value-added context, explore solutions, and integrate new data sources that address academic and wraparound support needs

KEY STAKEHOLDERS

  • Executive Sponsor – Dr. Tauheedah Baker-Jones, Chief Equity & Social Justice Officer, Atlanta Public Schools
  • Project Supervisor – Natasha Speed, Executive Director – Equitable Resource, Atlanta Public Schools
  • Ketisha Kinnebrew – Program Director – Equity Strategy, Atlanta Public Schools

QUALIFICATIONS

  • At least 15 years of professional experience in an adaptive leadership role, those with experience in an urban education setting highly preferer
  • Flexible work hours, including occasional evening work hours
  • Passion for advancing equity and social justice through education
  • Expertise in leading organizational change, creating unified and consistent communication plans, data analysis, continuous process improvement, and evaluation strategy
  • Strong data acumen (Tableau) and project management skills, having brought a data tool from conception to execution
  • Skilled in effectively engaging diverse audiences and stakeholders
  • Exceptional written and verbal communication skills, easily able to make a data-driven business or use case
  • Robust business improvement practices experience, supporting process improvements across multiple coalitions of stakeholders
  • Superior critical thinking and analytical skills, ability to synthesize both qualitative and quantitative information into clear and concise recommendations
  • Flexibility, adaptability, persistence, humility; confronting challenges with tenacity, resilience, and patience
  • Ability to manage changing priorities in a fast-paced environment
  • Self-starter with the ability to lead with minimal direction and oversight
  • Familiarity with bureaucratic settings, prowess in handling delicate situations or stakeholders
  • Understands the need for solutions to support all people in a community regardless of race, religion, gender, immigration status, or ethnicity

FUSE Corps is an equal opportunity employer with a core value of incorporating diverse perspectives into our work at every level. We encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply forthis position

FUSE Corps is an equal opportunity employer with a core value of incorporating diverse perspectives into our work at every level. We encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply for this position.