A Date with Data
Special education staff have been asking to hear from staff in other states and districts about what they’re doing that’s working and lessons they’ve learned, so we’re throwing a spotlight on your IDEA data stories. Join your host, Amy Bitterman, as she chats with state and district special education staff, who, just like you, are dealing with IDEA data every day. We hope that by sharing these real experiences, you’ll be able to feel more connected to colleagues in other states doing the same work, grow together, and, ultimately, improve your data quality.
Patterns, Trends, & Tips: IDC TA Providers Share SPP/APR Insights, Part Two
April 10, 2024 • 19 MIN
And we're back! Last time on A Date with Data, host Amy Bitterman discussed IDC's annual review of state SPP/APR submissions with TA specialists Rachel Wilkinson and Nancy Johnson. Now for the big finish. Join us for part two of this illuminating conversation full of insights into the patterns, trends, and tips that your own state might find invaluable during its next SPP/APR period.
Patterns, Trends, & Tips: IDC TA Providers Share SPP/APR Insights, Part One
March 28, 2024 • 15 MIN
Every year, IDC reviews and offers feedback on dozens of state SPP/APR submissions. From that vantage, our TA specialists gets a unique view of national patterns and trends. In this episode of A Date with Data, host Amy Bitterman sits down with our own TA specialists Rachel Wilkinson and Nancy Johnson to share a glimpse of this perspective, offering invaluable insights, advice, and tips that you might be able to use in your own SPP/APR.
Data Swap: From State Data Manager to IDC Technical Assistance Provider
March 13, 2024 • 24 MIN
Stop us if you’ve heard this one: Three former state data managers walk into a U.S. Department of Education-funded data center. Not ringing a bell? Relax. It’s no joke; it’s this week’s episode of A Date with Data. Join host Amy Bitterman as she sits down with former data managers-turned-IDC’s own Kelley Blas, Kristen DeSalvatore, and Austen Ferrier. They’re discussing how they made the transition from working for states to working with states building their capacity to improve the quality of their IDEA data.
Busy as a Beehive: Utah Addresses General Supervision, Part Two
February 22, 2024 • 13 MIN
Utah: land of bees! In our last episode, we learned more about how the state is prioritizing general supervision as part of Differentiated Monitoring and Support or DMS 2.0. On this episode of A Date with Data, host Amy Bitterman brings it all home with Leah Voorhies, assistant superintendent of student support and state director of special education, and LauraLee Gillespie, special education coordinator of the Utah Program Improvement Planning System (UPIPS). They’re talking about monitoring, support, and compliance with federal and state requirements. Don’t miss the conclusion of this buzzy back-and-forth.
Busy as a Beehive: Utah Addresses General Supervision, Part One
February 8, 2024 • 19 MIN
Utah: the Beehive State. With Differentiated Monitoring and Support or DMS 2.0 in full swing, general supervision is a high priority area for every state, and Utah is no exception. In fact, you might say they’ve been as busy as bees. On this episode of A Date with Data, host Amy Bitterman sits down with Leah Voorhies, assistant superintendent of student support and state director of special education, and LauraLee Gillespie, special education coordinator of the Utah Program Improvement Planning System (UPIPS). They’re sharing the story of Utah’s general supervision system and how the state uses it to monitor and support compliance with federal and state requirements. Buzz, buzz, buzz. (That’s bee for “Don’t miss it.”)
Call and Response: How Arizona and IDC Address Nonresponse Bias
January 25, 2024 • 28 MIN
In data as in dating, the proper response can make all the difference. Nonresponse, and the bias it may create, remains a challenge for state staff charged with gathering reliable survey data with generalizable results. That’s the call. What’s the response? On this episode of A Date with Data, host Amy Bitterman will find out as she sits down with Heather Dunphy, Lead Education Program Specialist from the Arizona Department of Education, and IDC TA specialist Tamara Nimkoff to learn more about the persistent challenge of identifying and analyzing nonresponse bias and some of the tools available to help address it (Hint: Tamara may have written one!).
Dynamic Data Duo: Two Data Managers Look Back and Move Forward
January 11, 2024 • 26 MIN
The turn of a new year is the perfect moment to reflect on where we’ve been and where we’re going next. We might even wish to share with others a few of the things we've learned along the way. On this inaugural 2024 installment of A Date with Data, we’re doing just that as host Amy Bitterman sits down with Amy Patterson, data manager with the Kentucky of Department of Education, and Alisha Fewkes, data manager with the Idaho Department of Education, to contemplate lessons learned and to offer a word or two of guidance to newcomers to the field.
Hand in Mitten: Warming Up to Michigan’s Data Use Plan
December 14, 2023 • 21 MIN
Thoughtful planning and data use go together like a hand in a mitten…or a Mitten State. In this episode of A Date with Data, host Amy Bitterman bundles up and heads north to learn more about Michigan’s data use and action plan process with the state Department of Education’s Jessica Brady, Aaron Darling, and Julie Trevino. They discuss the eight-step procedure Michigan designed to help districts reach their own unique data goals. So, put on your mittens and hop on the toboggan; you don’t want to miss our final episode of 2023.
Close (to the Edit Check Tools): The Art of IDC’s Innovative Online Resource
November 9, 2023 • 22 MIN
Don’t want to go out? No problem. Sometimes you just want a date closer to home. In this cozy episode of A Date with Data, host Amy Bitterman is doing just that, welcoming our very own Terry Long and Chris Thacker to learn all about IDC’s edit check tools, an online resource that allows users to visualize and review SEA and LEA EDFacts 618 data files. From Child Count and Educational Environment to Discipline and Personnel data, they’ll cover it all. Join them to get close (to the edit check tools).
California Teamin': Addressing Significant Disproportionality Together in the Golden State
October 26, 2023 • 23 MIN
In a state the size of California, implementing systems for change requires a whole lot of teamwork. In this episode of A Date with Data, host Amy Bitterman heads to the left coast to find out how Jack Brimhall, Interim Associate Director of the state’s Special Education Division, and Kishaun Thorntona, Education Program Consultant, team up with local districts to address issues of significant disproportionality with robust data and a model system for monitoring and tracking progress. Tune in to see how these golden state warriors are getting it done.
A Friend Indeed: Keeping Things on Track in Indiana
October 11, 2023 • 23 MIN
One thing we appreciate: A good friend who has our back, keeps us on the right track. In the Indiana Department of Education, that’s Angela Vaughn, Assistant Director of Monitoring and Compliance. In that role, Angela helps oversee her state’s annual LEA determination process, and, in her role, host Amy Bitterman is eager to learn more. Join us for this week’s A Date with Data where Angela describes how she and her office help Indiana LEAs use data elements and apply criteria to the determination categories to satisfy this important, and mandatory, process.
Good Neighbors, Good Data: A Date with Data in Arizona and Utah, Part Two
September 28, 2023 • 20 MIN
Deep canyons. Soaring mountains. Red rocks. Neighboring Utah and Arizona have plenty of landscape in common, but what about their data landscape? What role does data play in their state initiatives and priorities now and in the future? On this episode of A Date with Data, host Amy Bitterman takes it all in as she concludes her conversation with guests Arizona State Director of Special Education Alissa Trollinger and Utah State Director of Special Education Leah Voorhies. Don't miss part two of our guided tour through these states’ epic data quality landscapes.
Good Neighbors, Good Data: A Date with Data in Arizona and Utah, Part One
September 14, 2023 • 22 MIN
Canyons, plateaus, the Colorado River, good data. These are just some of the things that neighboring Arizona and Utah have in common. Host Amy Bitterman packs her bags and heads west to take it all in with guests Arizona State Director of Special Education Alissa Trollinger and her northerly neighbor Utah State Director of Special Education Leah Voorhies. Join us for a neighborly chat about these states’ data-quality landscapes.
Maine Narrative: Using Data to Tell a Story in the Pine Tree State, Part 2
August 24, 2023 • 13 MIN
The Princess Bride, Finding Dorie, The Goonies, data. Stories are everywhere you look, and this week A Date with Data is looking in the state of Maine. Join host Amy Bitterman for the second part of her conversation with even more members of the team from Maine’s Department of Education's Office of Special Services and Inclusive Education: Colette Sullivan, Mary Adley, Dr. Roberta Lucas, and more. We’re talking about sharing data and using that data to tell a story about inclusive education. It’s the Maine narrative, so don’t miss out.
Maine Narrative: Using Data to Tell a Story in the Pine Tree State
August 10, 2023 • 18 MIN
There are many ways to tell a story: words, images, and, yes, data! Join host Amy Bitterman as she sits down with Erin Frazier, the Maine Department of Education’s Director of Special Services and Inclusive Education, Birth to 22, and her team as they talk about how they use data (and movie references!) to tell a story about inclusive education and least restrictive environments in their state.
A Date with Data Chats with OSEP...Live, Part Two
July 25, 2023 • 37 MIN
Lights, mics, action…one more time! We return to Charlotte, North Carolina, for IDC's Interactive Institute 2023, where we grabbed some quality time with OSEP's Gregg Corr, Christine Pilgrim, and Richelle Davis to discuss how states can interact, influence, and improve their way to higher quality IDEA data. Join host Amy Bitterman and our very first studio audience for a lively episode of A Date with Data.
A Date with Data Chats with OSEP...Live, Part One!
July 11, 2023 • 23 MIN
Lights, mics, action! In dating, as in life, it's important to keep things fresh and lively. That's why we took advantage of our time in Charlotte, North Carolina, for the IDC Interactive Institute 2023 to sit down with OSEP's Gregg Corr, Christine Pilgrim, and Richelle Davis. Join host Amy Bitterman for this national perspective on how states can interact, influence, and improve their way to higher quality IDEA data. It's the very first episode of A Date with Data recorded before a live studio audience!
Eight Is Still Great: Meet the Ohio IDEA Data Team, Part Two
June 22, 2023 • 12 MIN
In our last episode of A Date with Data, we got to know the Ohio IDEA Data Team. Now it's time for a deeper dive. Join host Amy Bitterman as she continues her conversation with this innovative octet as they cover strategies for the collection, analyzation, reporting, improvement, and use of IDEA data. Pull up a chair; there's room for one more.
Eight Is Great: Meet the Ohio IDEA Data Team
June 7, 2023 • 15 MIN
Dates are one thing, but sometimes it’s fun to bring along the whole gang. In this week’s A Date with Data, host Amy Bitterman does just that, sitting down with the entire Ohio IDEA Data Team to talk strategies for the collection, analyzation, reporting, improvement, and use of IDEA data. Things are getting crowded in the Buckeye State, but there’s always room for you to come along.
Status Quo? No! Delaware Finds Creative Approaches to Improved Pre-School Environments Data
May 25, 2023 • 22 MIN
In Delaware, they're doing it different, at least when it comes to Indicator 6. In our second date in the First State, our own Amy Bitterman sits down with Cindy Brown, 619 Coordinator, and Bob Sabolcik, Part B Data Manager with the Delaware Department of Education, to talk about changing trajectories on pre-school environments data, asking districts that are doing well to share their strategies with others, and just generally saying no to the status quo. Res ipsa loquitur, no?
Slow Dance With Stakeholders: Setting the Pace in North Carolina, Part Two
May 11, 2023 • 20 MIN
When you learn a new dance, you don’t learn it all at once. It’s a process. It’s one step at a time. Left, right, left, right. In the second of this two-part A Date with Data, host Amy Bitterman continues her discussion about how North Carolina is engaging its stakeholders through a measured, step-by-step process that leaves no partner behind and creates poetry in motion. Tune in for the big finish.
Slow Dance With Stakeholders: Setting the Pace in North Carolina, Part One
April 27, 2023 • 14 MIN
Leading a dance is a lot of responsibility. You must send clear signals to your partner, keep the rhythm, and make sure not to step on anyone’s toes. Similarly, even for experienced practitioners, the pace and rhythm of incoming data can feel a lot like a complex and delicate dance. For stakeholders, it can be positively overwhelming, leading to confusion, frustration, and a lack of engagement. In the first of this two-part A Date with Data, host Amy Bitterman learns more about how North Carolina is trying to be a good dance partner to its stakeholders by putting in place a structured process for engagement, responding to feedback, and learning the value of taking things slow. So put on your dancing shoes and join us, won’t you?
Stakeholders on Their Minds: Growing Lasting Relationships in Georgia, Part 2
April 13, 2023 • 15 MIN
Georgia, Georgia, the whole podcast through. In this second segment of our two-part A Date with Data, host Amy Bitterman continues her exchange with Part B data managers Dawn Kemp and Dominique Donaldson about their ongoing efforts to keep stakeholders on their minds by evaluating progress toward targeted goals and creating spaces for consequential partnerships. It's the end of that old sweet song, so don't miss out.
Stakeholders on Their Mind: Growing Lasting Relationships in Georgia
March 23, 2023 • 18 MIN
New relationships are great, sure, but what most of us strive for are long-lasting, meaningful connections. That’s the goal in Georgia anyway, where Part B data managers Dawn Kemp and Dominique Donaldson are keeping stakeholders on their mind as they implement strategies to improve and expand stakeholder engagement. In part one of this two-part A Date with Data, they share all with host Amy Bitterman, including their strategies for maintaining stakeholder feedback, evaluating progress toward targeted goals, and creating spaces for consequential partnerships. Join us to hear Georgia’s sweet song about building stakeholder connections that last.
Just the EDFacts, Ma’am: IDC Demystifies EDFacts Modernization
March 9, 2023 • 14 MIN
Flustered by EDFacts? Mystified by modernization? If so, this episode of A Date with Data is for you. Join host Amy Bitterman as she sits down with IDC’s own Audrey Rudick to talk about the facts, the EDFacts that is. Audrey gives listeners a broad overview all things EDFacts modernization, including what it is, what’s about to change, and what’s ahead with the upcoming EDPass system. Join us, and by the end of the program, all you'll know are the facts.
Support Group: IDC TA Providers Talk Differentiated Monitoring and Support (DMS) 2.0
February 23, 2023 • 28 MIN
Support is a critical component of success. In practice, support means having a group of trusted partners who are there when you need them and who provide help and insight when asked. On this very special episode of A Date with Data, host Amy Bitterman sits down with her IDC colleagues Mary Watson and Amber Stohr, who share their experiences as TA providers supporting Cohort 1 states through DMS 2.0. Join us as Mary and Amber share tips, perspectives, and a thought or two about how IDC supports states, helping prepare for onsite or virtual visits. This is one support group you’ll definitely want to join.
Success Comes Naturally: Arkansas and DMS 2.0
February 9, 2023 • 30 MIN
Dateline Arkansas, the Natural State: As a member of Cohort 1, Arkansas is among the first in the nation to complete the first two phases of OSEP’s Differentiated Monitoring and Support (DMS) 2.0. Naturally, Arkansas education officials have stories to tell and insights to share, and naturally, they sat down with host Amy Bitterman to discuss the crucial steps of their DMS 2.0 experience. This included pulling together an effective team, updating state procedures (and online information), and working with technical assistance (TA) experts to ensure the most successful possible outcomes. It’s an insider’s look you’ll only find on this episode of A Date with Data, naturally enough.
Nothing for Granite: New Hampshire Takes the Long View on Indicator 8 Data Quality
January 26, 2023 • 25 MIN
Sometimes an up-close perspective requires us to step back and take in the long view first. That’s what happened in New Hampshire where Mary Lane, Education Consultant with the New Hampshire Department of Education’s Bureau of Special Education Support, and Michelle Lewis, Executive Director of the New Hampshire Parent Information Center, were on a mission to improve the quality of their state’s Indicator 8 data. In this episode of A Date with Data, host Amy Bitterman learns more about how their process of capturing the close-up family perspective first required them to step back to consider the “why” behind this indicator.
Data Informed Decisionmaking Is Evergreen in Washington State
January 12, 2023 • 21 MIN
How states go about data informed decisionmaking is as diverse as the states themselves. In this episode of A Date with Data, host Amy Bitterman chats with Julie Dean, Early Childhood Special Education Inclusion Specialist; Ryan Guzman, 619 Coordinator and SSIP Lead with the Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction; and Kathy Lenihan, Inclusionary Projects Coordinator with Educational Service District 105. Join them to learn more about their State Systemic Improvement Plan’s (SSIP) unique focus on social emotional learning in early childhood and how they worked with partners across the SEA, districts, and the community to build a culture of data informed decisionmaking. Now that’s evergreen.
A Heartland Heart-to-Heart
December 22, 2022 • 23 MIN
Nebraska. The Cornhusker State. Where wide-open spaces and big ideas go hand-in-hand. In this episode of A Date with Data, host Amy Bitterman has a heartland heart-to-heart with Kelly Wojcik, Director of Accountability, and Jamie Chambers, Part B Data Manager, with the Nebraska Department of Education. Join us to learn more about their hopes and dreams for the state’s data processes and their plans for moving beyond a “that’s how it’s always been done” mentality to one as wide-open as the Nebraska plains.
Data Without Borders
December 8, 2022 • 24 MIN
One thing we’ve learned: The search for high-quality data is bound by no border, no distance, no ocean. In this far-flung episode of A Date with Data, host Amy Bitterman travels to the heart of Oceania to sit down with the American Samoa Department of Education’s Herbert Boat and Jessica Tuu for a chat about challenges, triumphs, and their own unique journey toward becoming data-quality influencers.
Islands in the (Data) Stream: A Date with Data in the CNMI
November 23, 2022 • 25 MIN
"Data is everything and everywhere," and to prove it this installment of A Date with Data travels to the middle of the Pacific Ocean and the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). Join island-hopping host Amy Bitterman as she sits down with the CNMI public school system's Donna Flores and Nora Fujihira to talk about their journey to improve data quality; support students, teachers, and families; and work with their SEA to develop ever improving data governance policies. Pack your bags; you've got a date tonight.
Keystones of Improvement: A Pennsylvania SSIP Story, Part 2
November 10, 2022 • 17 MIN
Collaboration. Communication. Continuation. These are just a few keystones of improvement. In this second part of our deep dive into Pennsylvania’s SSIP journey, guests Dr. Laura Moran and Barbara Mozina share how they helped develop the ability of stakeholders—especially families and students—to provide feedback by creating and maintaining a continuous flow of information and by hosting focus groups dedicated to creating resources to boost graduation rates. It’s the culmination of our double date in the Keystone State, so don’t miss out.
Keystones of Improvement: A Pennsylvania SSIP Story, Part 1
October 27, 2022 • 19 MIN
Stop us if you’ve heard this one: A state wishes to increase graduation rates and decrease drop-out rates. That’s what happened in Pennsylvania, where Dr. Laura Moran and Barbara Mozina applied lessons learned to the second iteration of their state’s SSIP. In the first episode of this two-part A Date with Data, host Amy Bitterman hears all about it, including their efforts to move districts beyond being “data rich and information poor,” developing an online “early warning” data platform, and protocols for creating and sustaining data teams. You’ll be the richer, too, for tuning in.
Rookie Season Recap: Two New Data Managers Describe Their First Year
October 13, 2022 • 22 MIN
At some point, every one of us has been new at something. A hobby. A job. A relationship. On this episode of A Date with Data, host Amy Bitterman talks about first steps and initial impressions with the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction’s Alyssa Kramer and Part B data management coordinator with the West Virginia Department of Education, Traci Tuttle. From internal data collection and reporting to strategies for other new data managers, together Alyssa and Traci discuss tips, resources, and EDFacts file specifications, all from the newbie perspective. Whether you’re a rookie listener or seasoned veteran, this is one play-by-play you won’t want to miss.
Commonwealths, Common Cause: Influencing the Quality of Significant Disproportionality Data
September 21, 2022 • 25 MIN
“Improvement begins with data.” These are words to live by and a philosophy held in common by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Brian Coonley and the Kentucky Department of Education’s Jarrod Slone. In this episode of A Date with Data, host Amy Bitterman gets to the bottom of these two commonwealths' not-so-common strategies to support districts, which include a focus on increased transparency and data stewardship. Jarrod and Brian also discuss how root-cause analyses and long-term strategic planning can lead to meaningful, substantive improvement.
Shine On, Data-Quality Influencers: A Date with Data in Idaho
August 25, 2022 • 26 MIN
When it comes to high-quality data, there are some questions we all ask ourselves. What does it mean to be a data-quality influencer? Am I a data-quality influencer? And, if not, what must I do to become one? To unearth the answers, our latest episode of A Date with Data visits the Gem State, where host Amy Bitterman discusses this multi-faceted issue with the Idaho Department of Education’s Alisa Fewkes and Debi Smith. They talk about polishing up a school’s and district’s ability to read and analyze data through drill-down trainings that the department offers around the state. Can you see yourself reflected in their strategies of creating strong partnerships between data staff and program staff? Or of making certain that general education staff is part of important team-making decisions? What about holding meaningful reviews to discuss enhancements going forward? Join us to find out. This one’s invaluable.
Influencing the Quality of IDEA Data, from Data Collection to Communication and Use
August 10, 2022 • 22 MIN
On the newest episode of A Date with Data, we “Wander Indiana” as Host Amy Bitterman sits down with Brandon Myers, Part B Data Manager with the Indiana Department of Education. Listen in as they discuss Brandon’s work as a data-quality influencer: collecting, organizing, monitoring, and communicating information about data. Brandon also shares how he ensures that schools and stakeholders understand how the data they are required to report get used. Join us in the Hoosier state, won’t you?
On Stage in Nashville, Tennessee: A Date with Data at ii22
July 28, 2022 • 17 MIN
Welcome to Nashville, Tennessee, home of country music, hot chicken, and southern hospitality. In this episode of A Date with Data, we’re on stage at the 2022 IDC Interactive Institute in Music City, USA. Join us as host Amy Bitterman performs a duet with Amy Patterson, IDEA Part B Data Manager with the Kentucky Department of Education, to learn more about her role as a data-quality influencer. Up next, Amy two-steps with Richelle Davis from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs for her perspective on the importance of states and districts understanding the “why” behind collecting high-quality data—including how the data drive policy and decisionmaking. Be sure to join us, won’t you? This one’s going Platinum®.
Creating and Sustaining an Effective Partnership Between Delaware’s State Education Agency and the Parent Information Center
July 1, 2022 • 24 MIN
It's the age-old question: What’s the secret to a long-lasting, meaningful relationship? For Episode 5 of A Date with Data, we travel to the first state to find out. For 20 years, the Delaware Department of Education has partnered with the state’s Parent Information Center to better facilitate family engagement. How do these partners maintain their strong bond? Host Amy Bitterman sits down with Mary Ann Mieczkowski, Barbara Mazza, and Meedra Surratte to talk about collaboration, specific programs, and the importance of creating spaces where family voices can be heard. You don’t want to miss this engaging conversation.
Building a Culture of High-Quality IDEA Data in Wisconsin
June 13, 2022 • 17 MIN
Wisconsin is striving to embed IDEA data culture throughout the state’s Department of Public Instruction. Learn how Wisconsin is working to achieve a strong, shared data culture through initiatives such as collaborating with Title I and Every Student Succeeds Act staff to create joint federal notification reports and creating dashboards for districts to drill down into their data.
Implications of Changes to the SPP/APR and Stakeholder Engagement Requirements in Oklahoma
May 5, 2022 • 10 MIN
Amy chats with Ginger about building the capacity of districts and other stakeholders in Oklahoma to understand the changes to the SPP/APR and stakeholder engagement requirements. Ginger shares key strategies for engaging stakeholders in target setting.
How the Pandemic and Changes to the SPP/APR Affected Arkansas’s IDEA Data
May 5, 2022 • 18 MIN
In this episode, we throw a spotlight on the implications of both the pandemic and the changes to the SPP/APR for FFY 2020—2025 for Arkansas’s data quality, results, and trends. Jody and Amy discuss how Arkansas mitigated the data challenges it encountered due to the pandemic and SPP/APR changes. Jody also shares the state’s strategy for successfully communicating the changes to the data and the SPP/APR indicators to districts and other stakeholders.
Georgia’s IDEA Data Quality During the Pandemic
May 5, 2022 • 20 MIN
During our first episode, we explore how the pandemic affected Georgia’s Part B 618 and SPP/APR data trends and quality. The good news? It’s far from doom and gloom. Dawn and Linda highlight many bright spots, including how they have harnessed virtual technology to improve collaboration, connectivity, and stakeholder engagement. They also focus on the positive effects the pandemic has had on Georgia’s data culture.
Welcome to IDC's New Podcast: A Date with Data
April 20, 2022 • < 1 MIN
Welcome to 'A Date with Data'... Special education staff have been asking to hear from staff in other states and districts about what they’re doing that’s working and lessons they’ve learned, so we’re throwing a spotlight on your IDEA data stories. Join your host, Amy Bitterman, as she chats with state and district special education staff, who, just like you, are dealing with IDEA data every day.