On April 21st, 2021 Tara Morrison, Program Design Manager, and Tracey Sundeen, Assistant Director of Program Operations, were recognized at the National Head Start Association Scholarships and Awards Event for obtaining their Data Literacy Credential. The Data Literacy Credential is offered through the National Head Start Association in partnership with Acorn Evaluation. It is a brand-new opportunity that is available to Head Start program leaders to demonstrate the commitment to data-informed decision making and to develop and demonstrate unique skills. The credential is designed to educate Head Start program leaders on communicating effectively about how the program utilizes data at all levels, using data to inform quality improvement plans, describing the programs impact on children and families, and informing program decision-making. To earn the credential, Morrison and Sundeen started the endeavor on October 19th, 2020, as the first cohort, and took a series of three 5-week-long courses: 1. The Wonderful World of Data, 2. Understanding Head Start Data, and 3. Foundations of Storytelling with Data. It is a rigorous process with formal success criteria that participants have to meet in order to receive credit towards the credential. This involves active participation in 24-30 zoom meetings (at least 8 per course), scoring at least 70% or better on the various assessment questions throughout the three courses, as well as completing a portfolio assignment at the end of each of the three courses. The portfolio allowed participants to tangibly demonstrate their comfort level of the course material and ability to apply these new skills and knowledge within the Head Start program.
Morrison has this to say about receiving the Data Literacy Credential: “It was a rich experience to be able to collaborate with (about 50) other Head Start Managers and Directors from around the country on the topic of data. The credential fostered my knowledge on data and increased my comfort level with using it on a daily basis in the work that I do for our Head Start program.”
Sundeen has this to say about receiving the Data Literacy Credential: “It was an intense course, but well worth it! I learned a great deal, and it was nice to see our current work validated as we have implemented systems that will continue to help us create a data-rich environment in our program.”