Maranatha Recognized for Becoming Data Wise

This summer three staff members; English Department Chair Kerry Roche, Dean of Educational Services Christie Akins, and Principal Dr. Michelle Purghart were selected to attend a week-long Data Wise conference at Harvard Graduate School of Education. They were trained in the Data Wise project which offers a collaborative step-by-step process for educators to analyze data with the goal of improving student learning.

Dr. Purghart said the reason she was interested in bringing Data Wise to Maranatha is that, “The Datawise process creates collaborative teams that disaggregate student assessments with the hope of identifying a student-centered problem that will lead to an instructional plan to modify instruction and/or curriculum to then improve student learning in each discipline.” She continued, “One of the major recommendations through our last accreditation was to utilize data to affect instruction.” By training our staff with the Data Wise process, we are effectively responding to our desire to improve in this area.

Since the conference this summer, Dr. Purghart and her team have established a Data Wise Leadership Team comprised of our Department Chairs. Through their leadership, they will be training the entire faculty throughout this school year to navigate and become proficient in the eight Data Wise steps. By working through these steps our Educational team hopes to build an “inquiry mindset” of using assessments to guide instruction. Faculty will get in the habit of analyzing what questions students test poor on so they know how to better teach their subject. “Our goal,” said Dr. Purghart, “is that every faculty member has identified issues and made an action plan to revise their instruction to improve student learning by March 2015. In addition, each department will identify how students are doing as a group for the purpose of continuing to increase our quality of instruction.

Maranatha has been doing such a great job of launching the Data Wise process that of the 131 schools that attended the 2014 Data Wise cohort, Harvard selected our Data Wise Leadership Team to present Phase Two of our Data Wise journey on their October 1 Live Online Session accessible to over 700 schools. Dr. Purghart said we were selected because, “When they looked at what we have done since September, they felt the way we approached it, how far we have gotten, and the philosophy of how we have rolled out the process was noteworthy.”

Christie Akins, who has been instrumental in establishing the Data Wise program at Maranatha, says, “The Data Wise Improvement Process has been helping to shape a mind-set of information seeking at Maranatha. Data helps us to constantly improve instruction while we continuously learn about our students and their learning. This process is not a new initiative at MHS, but an approach to integrate into all initiatives in order to understand what is working. The Data Wise process further affirms how important it is for instructional teams to have the opportunity to work collaboratively, assessing student data in order to make informed decisions about instruction.”

Maranatha High School, 169 S. St. John Avenue, Pasadena, (626) 817-4000 or visit




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