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How Minneapolis Public Schools decreased churn across the district


Challenges

Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) is a public school district serving Minneapolis, Minnesota, where over 36,000 students are enrolled in roughly one hundred public schools, including primary and secondary education. Entering 2016, MPS had a strong system for cultivating a talented pool of principal and assistant principal candidates, but struggled with the question of fit between a school leader and the unique needs of different schools. Their primary mechanism for finding the right fit was through manual processes that were heavily reliant on resumes, and anecdotal personal accounts.

MPS' biggest challenge was a lack of visibility into the unique strengths of skills of school leader candidates, which resulted in instances of poor fit and increased turnover year over year. Competition with neighboring urban and suburban school districts also meant leaders had numerous local options for where they accepted positions. Overwhelmed with unstructured data points on school leader candidates and a lack of sophistication beyond Excel reporting to perform analysis, MPS engaged Convergence Consulting Group (CCG) to help them overcome their data obstacles and transform their leadership fit practices. 

Solution

In collaboration with CCG’s strategic partner, The Calsoyas Group (TCG), who specializes in human capital systems, change management, and education research, CCG delivered a data warehouse solution that encapsulates data on candidate strengths and school needs, and made it accessible to MPS Area District Leaders, Human Capital, and other in leadership placement professionals. CCG then developed Tableau dashboards to visualize attributes describing a school. Metrics such as proficiencies, demographics, and assessment scores, were used, bringing data points from multiple different places onto one dashboard for the first time. CCG then provided an interactive leader match tool that made it easy for leaders to match those school needs to viable candidates based on candidate strengths and preferences. These match dashboards allowed for visibility into characteristics, qualifications, strengths, and interests of the candidates being considered for leadership positions, and related them directly to the needs of schools. 

Results 

The use of these Tableau dashboards, backed by a stable data warehouse foundation, allows for the more purposeful placement of leaders in school districts where they are more likely to facilitate positive change and less likely to churn due to poor fit or misplaced skills.

The leadership matching tool achieved high adoption rates with its ease of use and simplified interface. Shortly after launch, MPS found that current system’s mismatches between leader and school resulted was highly correlated with school leader turnover, which provided anecdotal validation of the match effect.  MPS has gone on to present this solution to the Greater Council of City Schools in hopes of sharing this process with others, and CCG has already helped to implement this transformative leadership fit solution with multiple school districts throughout the country. Together, through the ongoing support of MPS, the strategic influence of TCG and the analytics expertise of CCG, this solution has the potential to impact the success of K-12 students through the refinement, development, and improved placement of educational leadership throughout the country.

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