Recently I was working with a school near Chicago on their school improvement plan. A task force of parents, teachers and administrators revised the school's vision and then selected twenty different types of data that could be used to help identify action steps. Every member received a notebook full of data and a wiki was created so that members could share their observations and thoughts about the data.
The group held several "data nights" where they met, worked together to examine the data, discuss its implications, and assess the school's current success on each indicator. Small work groups met to continue the analysis and suggest next steps.
The data nights were helpful because they assured that everyone had the same data, had an opportunity to talk about its meaning, and to contribute to the analysis. These "data nights" helped the group move forward to develop a plan for their school's continued improvement.