Hello all,

I just sent out the following email to the Superintendents of each district.  You may be very interested in what MCGS is offering or may know of others who would be.  Please pass this information on as appropriate.

Thank you,
Allen Cohen
(802) 380-2182

Text of email sent to Supers:

You have probably received an email from Caleb Clark, director for the ed tech programs at Marlboro College Graduate School alerting you to a few new courses being offered at the College.  As a former graduate of the MAT program there and as someone who will be co-teaching one of those courses I wanted to make sure you understood the value to your district of a totally new offering.


The Vermont Department of Education’s new $4.95 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to modernize the state’s data systems presents an important leadership opportunity and challenge for Vermont’s superintendents: How to implement effective data leadership and practice at both the school and district level to meet the state’s increasing demands for sophisticated educational data usage?


To meet this emerging demand, Marlboro College Graduate School (MCGS), is offering “Data Visualization for Leadership,” a new and unique one-year series of graduate courses designed for district and school leadership. Students will learn how to move beyond the highly ineffectual static, paper-based reporting mechanisms currently used by most educators to create highly dynamic, interactive Excel-based data displays (“visual analytic resources”). The course will weave those Excel-based technical skills of dynamic data display and design within the larger organizational concepts and culture of effective data leadership and practice to support professional learning communities.


The three-course series will comprise “From Data to Data Visualization,” “Key Practices in Leading with Data,” and “Leading Teams with Data Visualization.” The course will be offered in a hybrid structure (face-to-face and online instruction) and graduates of the three-course series will earn a professional certificate of practice. Students may enroll as individuals but would accrue greater benefits if enrolled as members of a district cohort. MCGS is offering a special tuition discount equivalent to the UVM cost per credit.


The course will be taught by Steve Bogdanoff, Founder and President of ISIS Affiliates and currently Data Specialist for the Massachusetts Dept. of Education. Steve is the designer of multiple Visual Analytic Resources being used in the state. His chief responsibility is to train district and school leadership to build “well-orchestrated systems of data collection and analysis embedded within sustainable cultures of data-driven instructional decision-making and evidence-based school improvement practices.”


Information about the course is below.  Registration is online at:


K-12 Data Visualization for Leadership.


K-12 leaders and data teams need to develop and sustain well-orchestrated systems of data collection and analysis. At the same time, they are being asked to build sustainable cultures of data-driven decision-making and evidence-based school improvement practices. These courses provide the practical skills needed for data-driven leadership by developing leadership capacity to design Excel/Google form-based, interactive visual data displays using data relevant to one’s own day-to-day practice. By using “Visual Analytic Resources” (VARs) educators can shift from a passive relationship with static, paper-based PDF data artifacts to dynamic, interactive analytic experiences.  

3 Classes. 9 graduate credits. One year.

Fall: From Data to Data Visualization: Drawing on data display principles developed by Edward Tufte, this course introduces the principles and practices of developing Visual Analytic Resources (VARS) for K-12 leadership. Students will learn how to bring data to life through the development of visual displays. Using standard spreadsheet software, students will organize, structure, calculate, format and construct the data displays needed to make data useful for understanding, communicating and decision-making. Topics covered include: the systems framework for effective data leadership and practice; visual displays for collaborative inquiry; leading and maintaining data systems. The skills learned will be used as a basis for enhanced VAR construction in the following courses. 3 graduate credits.

Winter: Key Practices in Leading with Data: Continues the topics introduced at a deeper level of sophistication.  Students will explore the integrated solution required to implement and sustain a framework of effective data leadership and practice, focusing on the elements of conceptual modeling, strategic implementation (based on the “strategy in action” paradigm developed at Harvard) and VAR-based progress monitoring. Speadsheet topics will expand to include database and workbook design techniques, as well as advanced forms of data manipulation and display. 3 graduate credits.

Spring: Leading Teams with Data Visualization: Integrates the skills and knowledge from the first two classes into a team-based VAR development project where students will create a fully interactive VAR that is relevant to their day-to-day practice. The VAR will be presented at the end of the trimester and will include leadership protocols for its use.  All team VARs will be shared with class members. 3 graduate credits.