Professional Development Budget Recommendations - School Edition
November 23, 2021 11:04 PM   Subscribe

I have a new job in a database/admin role at a school district and have a $750 budget to spend on professional development. Snowflakes inside.

I'd appreciate any class or other recommendations metafilter has to offer. I am a database administrator, but also do a variety of admin tasks for a school district. The other similar questions are quite old at this point. I have some topics I'm interested in, but I'm having trouble finding specific things. Please feel free to suggest things not on this list.

- Python (Goal is to automatically download reports from a website)
- Excel (specifically INDEX, MATCH, HLOOKUP functions, conditional formatting)

- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in database management (I am a white cis woman.)
- Increasing Teacher & Staff Diversity (department staff is almost all white, students are almost all not, I have a somewhat managerial role with some power)

Other Skills
- Project Management (on the shorter side, don't think I could do a full class)
- Time Management (something I've always just been curious about)
posted by likethenight to Work & Money (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I was formerly employed in a position similar to yours, I think. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I understand you to be talking about your personal professional development, not something you're arranging for your department.

On the technical side, I would suggest looking into MS Reporting Services and Power BI, which would enable you to generate results into Excel format without resorting to a cat's-cradle of embedded Excel functions.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in database management: I have no idea what this means. "Data" doesn't have these attributes. If you're talking about improving diversity in your district's IT department, that's a discussion to have with HR. It's really outside the scope of your duties. Likewise, I can't see how the IT department can influence hiring of teachers, other certificated staff or classified staff. (I assume that both HR and your district's bargaining unit would have to take the lead there.)

Some items I didn't see included in your list but which would be worth your while:

...Security practices for your network, data and communication.
...System documentation, writing it, maintaining it and organizing it.
...Requirements documentation. You seem to be in California, so obtaining current CALPADS documentation (the system docs available online and the presentation docs from the annual web seminars with the state) is pretty important, not just for you but for your users who will need to understand the state's required reporting.
posted by SPrintF at 11:27 PM on November 23, 2021

Best answer: What a great question.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in database management: This is important and relevant. Here is an open access edition of Data Feminism, by Catherine D'Ignazio and Lauren F. Klein. While it is geared toward data science, I expect there will be crossover into your dba territory. And it's free!

I read something else recently - possibly/likely on the blue - about a prof who on the first day of class uses a student-driven model to...define/promote/create equality or equity in the course by having students discuss their circumstances, expectations, what might be reasonable learning outcomes for the course...sorry I can't remember anything else, but the article and the prof's approach were inspirational. If someone else remembers it, please enlighten! This is not a course that you could take, but describes a philosophy and an approach that, if nothing else, would be helpful to read as you consider your new role and the directions you would like to see the school district travel in the data world.
posted by lulu68 at 1:10 AM on November 24, 2021

I have taken a bunch of trainings by LifeLabs, my company hires them to come do in-house workshops a couple times a year. You can also sign up as an individual for sessions for $250. I think they're phenomenal. Really engaging, interactive, and with actionable take-aways. Strategic Thinking, Meeting Mastery, and Productivity and Prioritization come to mind as great ones I have taken.
posted by radioamy at 1:24 PM on November 24, 2021

Best answer: 750 can buy a lot of classes on Coursera or Pluralsight and similar online places.
posted by kschang at 12:26 AM on November 25, 2021

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