In each community, there are instances of great communal joy and celebration, times of change both great and small, and moments that test the very fabric that holds it together. And, just like a community, when you’re a part of it you understand why you enjoy it and why you feel others should seek to be a part of it. Schools are no exception.

I am currently in my third year at Golden View Classical Academy. As each year passes I find more and more reasons to believe why our small school is excellent. The unique culture of trust and sincerity, the dedicated and prudent leaders, the knowledgeable and kind teachers, the partnership we have with families, and, of course, the noble aspirations of our students, are key examples of what sets Golden View apart.

As the Student Affairs Coordinator at Golden View Classical Academy, I’m in a unique position to see all facets of student life at the school. That includes everything from student events and schedules to record keeping and student data. It also includes recruiting new families through school tours and information sessions. Being immersed in the school’s data submissions helps to inform the way I am able to talk about our school and its goals with families.

When you stand outside a community, it is difficult to know what those on the inside experience, apart from emotionally-saturated stories and examples that may mean little to the person learning about the community. The world of data submissions changes that.

Data allows us to show students and families outside our community pieces of what makes our school excellent. It’s digestible and tangible evidence that speaks for itself. Through our partnership with Charter School Institute (CSI) we can see trends in everything from enrollment and special education to discipline and employment. But data submissions does not just act as fuel for our enrollment efforts. The very process itself requires a keen eye and discipline in the details. Data submitted must be accurate, prompt, and clear. It requires collaboration across the entire school, reaching nearly every department in one way or another. This labor bears fruit by revealing areas where we can grow and by holding us accountable both to our own goals as well as the requirements of the state of Colorado.

The reports that CSI provides help us to put our work in perspective of other schools across the state so that we can better answer the question: where do we fall?

Personally, I have enjoyed the ongoing nature of data submissions. My work, like so much of our work at the school, is never complete. One report feeds into the next, which feeds into the next, into the next. With all the different people and departments involved in a single report, compiling one feels like working on a puzzle that changes its picture every few months. It’s afforded me chances to better understand the way our Special Education and ELL processes work. It’s given me awareness to where our methods of documentation can continue to grow. I’ve encountered puzzling coding situations that take time and investigation to whittle out. All of this effort — the collaboration, the painstaking error clearance in reports, the multitude of deadlines, etc –pushes us to serve our students in the best ways we can.

Megan Atherton

Student Affairs Coordinator, Golden View Classical Academy

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