Cultural Data

Culture is changed through the grind of leadership and rarely happens in some cataclysmic fashion. It is a process that is certainly not for the faint of heart or those who deeply need to be liked by everyone in their life. Cultural changes, especially those given extreme toxicity, can wear on leaders. It is a grind and being intentionally relentless every day is exhausting. Instructional data reveals a great deal about the culture; however, it does not tell the entire story.


Cultural data that tells a story is found in how adults in the culture behave. Look at the attendance rate by adults by month. When do the adults in the system get tired and begin to miss work? Why do the adults begin to miss work (other than this is hard)? The first piece of data I look at to determine just about anything is teachers’ absences by month. Kids do not learn from substitutes, so the people we pay to be in the trenches doing the hard work of teaching need to be there and engaged. In healthy cultures, the adults wake up each day with a desire to make a difference. Publish teacher leave by month. Set goals around it and reward individuals and staff when those goals are met. 2020-2021 COVID leave data is exaggerated and not terribly accurate. Average the last 5 years and create goals with the leadership team. I never had the luxury of taking a “docked” day as my paycheck could never stand it.


Imagine not having to spend so much time getting substitutes as a leader. Imagine not having to worry about covering classes each day with aid or doing it yourself. That allows leaders to spend time doing things that impact student learning. There are certainly anomalies regarding things like absenteeism and docked time off, and I am not being critical of circumstances that cannot be helped. The inherent feeling that I am letting someone down when I cannot be there is a good feeling and a sign of a healthy culture. Set some goals and publish.

Ty Duncan – MindPlay Partner Development