Here at CTData, we enjoy every opportunity to work with people to increase their data literacy skills so they can better use data to inform their decisions. In 2019 alone, we’ve had over 275 adults attend our workshops.

But starting next month, we’re going to be training a new group of Connecticut’s residents: high school students.

On October 1, Elizabeth Grim, Ilya Ilyankou, and I get to work with seniors in the IT program at A.I. Prince Technical High School through our new High School Civic Data Program. Over the course of several sessions throughout the month of October, we will guide them through planning and implementing their data projects, as well as communicating their data findings.

This partnership is particularly exciting because it is an opportunity for us to support the development of a skill set that is essential in supporting a strong democracy—the ability to read, work with, analyze, and argue with data. In other words, by strengthening data literacy skills, we also strengthen our democracy.

Photo from jopwell.com

We also are excited to be able to train the next generation of business and non-profit leaders in essential data skills.

Through this program, students will learn how to evaluate the credibility of data sources and find trustworthy data while considering ethics in their data work. Given the lack of trust people have in institutions to steward our data, it is imperative that the next generation of data and tech leaders are integrating ethical principles into their data use.

Additionally, students will develop questions to answer with data, analyze the data to gain insights, and compile their insights into data stories. While data analysis skills are important, we often overlook the significance of communicating data accurately. These students will critically look at their own and each other’s insights in order to draw meaningful conclusions and communicate them accurately.

Another compelling aspect of this program is the chance to support the growth of key data skills among young people who do not have many opportunities to access this kind of training. As an organization, while we seek to facilitate the development of data literacy skills among all of Connecticut’s residents, we appreciate when we can help cultivate data literacy among those who experience barriers to these opportunities or are traditionally not encouraged to invest in them.

We are currently exploring additional partnerships with other high schools and will be sharing updates on those soon. Schools do not often have budgets for these kinds of programs, so whether you’re a Connecticut teacher interested in bringing this program to your school, or a funder, you can review High School Civic Data Program information or email sarah@ctdata.org to learn more.

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