Telling a Data-Driven Story about DC Public Charter Schools

October 17, 2016 8:43 am PDT | Open Data

There are many options when it comes to public charter schools in DC. Fortunately, there is data on student enrollment, graduation rates, academic performance, and much more. When Tomeika Bowden, the Director of Communications at the DC Public Charter School Board, prepared to publish their Facts & Figures Report, she chose to use Socrata solutions to share their story. The report is an easy way to share data and context with parents, charter school leaders, elected officials, education experts, and internal staff. Read more about Bowden’s motivating factors for this project, and her vision going forward.

Socrata: Why was creating a data-driven report important?
Tomeika Bowden: Telling the story of DC Public Charter Schools is important to our mission and vision. Our Executive Director Scott Pearson believes data is the key to changing perspectives. It will educate the public about the impact and importance of public charter schools. In addition, this tool is easy for our analysts to create charts and curate stories. This reduces our reliance on web developers when we want to get new information out to the public.

Socrata: How will this new data- and context-rich site affect citizens in your community?
Bowden: It will help our stakeholders know the “Truth About Charters” in Washington, DC.

Socrata: As you worked on this project, were there any surprising datasets?
Bowden: “Who public charter schools educate” — the demographics data was fascinating. For instance, public charter schools serve a higher proportion of economically disadvantaged and special education students than the average of all city schools.

demographics dc charter schools

Socrata: What’s your vision for this program?
Bowden: We hope Perspectives will eliminate powerpoints. It’s important that our reports, charts, and even raw data are available online, so that our staff, families, school leaders, and other stakeholders can access the information anytime on any device. I hope we continue to add more data points and tell more stories about who public charter schools educate.

Socrata: How do you hope your program influences other educators?
Bowden: I hope other school districts tell their data story.

Socrata: What advice would you have for other school districts?
Bowden: It’s easy. Transparency is key; telling your story is vital.

Want to learn how to make your reports more interactive and data-driven? Reach out to us.


If you’d like to learn how to create your own compelling data stories, sign up for our free online course on Visualization and Communication through the Socrata Data Academy.


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