Happy December, Head Start Professional!
This is about hundreds of Head Start/Early Head Start managers and directors and their investment in the The Academy at NHSA’s Data Literacy Credential, and two charts that tell a story.
Chart One: At the START of the three-course Data Literacy Credential program, how would you describe your level of comfort using data?
Chart Two: At the END of the three-course Data Literacy Credential program, how you would describe your level of comfort using data?
In a “pre-post” data world, those two charts above show significant change. The construct of comfort is directly related to a person’s job satisfaction: how much they enjoy their job, how much they want to stay in their job, how willing they are to work at improving their job, and how much they are motivated on a daily basis to show up, work hard, and add value.
This is something Head Start really needs. A real conversation about job satisfaction among managers and directors, especially when it comes to data.
Data, of course, is foundational to everything a Head Start manager/director takes responsibility for all year. The endless tasks of data collection, entry, analysis and reporting. The mandated timelines. The compilation of selected data points into the PIR. The coordination of all data-related activities with all program staff. The use of multiple data systems.
All the data things cause stress. All the data things are directly related to feeling comfortable with knowing what to do, how to do it, and, for managers and directors, getting everybody else comfortable and motivated with what to do, and how to do it.
Investing in a professional development opportunity means adding to your plate. It means deliberately choosing to take a series of classes, with other Head Start colleagues, that take time and effort in addition to what you are already responsible for at work. That means temporarily choosing to be uncomfortable with something. Lots of videos, and questions. Group projects. New terms. New ideas. Thinking about things in different ways that you may be used to.
The 300+ people who are represented in the charts above all chose to add to their plates – and invest their time and effort into professional development. At the end of that investment – they are reporting a significant increase in comfort – that it was worth it.
“I like my job more now.”
“Things are easier for me now. I understand data much better.”
“My team has noticed that I’ve changed things for the better. They appreciate my new skills.”
“Our entire program’s attitude is starting to improve around data. I never thought that could happen.”
In the business world, they call this “upskilling”. It’s when someone gains new skills and applies them in the workplace, for the benefit of everyone they work with.
In 2023, The Academy at NHSA and Acorn Evaluation offer terrific, accessible upskilling opportunities around data.
The Data Literacy Credential is a three-course, 15-total-week program for any Head Start/Early Head Start manager or director, to obtain across-the-board literacy in data language, workflow skill, and storytelling with data.
Head Start Data Basics and Essentials are 3-hour and 7-hour online training courses for any Head Start staff – teachers, family advocates, health staff, home visitors, ERSEA professional, etc to learn about how data works within their programs, and how to work more successfully with that data.
And, Acorn Evaluation offers a direct training through a new Lyceum professional development platform. The Data Analyst Certificate is a two-course, 10-total-week program for any Head Start/Early Head Start professional who is interested in exporting data from their data system and building tools in Excel, then supporting their team in their program with those tools.
Make 2023 a year that you and your team members proudly say “I’m so glad I did this.” Invest in your professional development today!