Sarah Hartman ’25

KIPP Philadelphia Schools, Philadelphia, PA

The Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) is a network of 281 public charter schools across America. Over the past 25 years, KIPP has helped to prepare more than 170,000 students from underserved communities to succeed academically and pursue the college or career path that they each choose. This summer, I worked remotely as a data and analytics intern for the KIPP Philadelphia region, a network of seven public charter schools.

One important aspect of KIPP’s success is that data and evidence drive curricular decision-making. Through my internship, I was able to participate in this process firsthand. KIPP demonstrates its commitment to data by hosting an annual data retreat, which I attended virtually. It was very cool to meet people all over the country who were working on the same mission. Everyone had a different “data superpower,” from coding to visualizing to communicating data. I realized just how many different skills are needed, and how many different roles exist, in the data-world alone. In addition, I attended workshops on early literacy and data visualization that were relevant to the work that I did for the rest of the summer.

My first project involved early literacy. I started by learning more about the science of how reading is learned and assessed. I learned that reading is different from talking because it must be taught explicitly, and learning to read is important for a student’s continued success. My main task was to investigate two different reading assessments to see if a student’s growth and achievement scores on one assessment correlated with their score on the other and trying to find possible explanations for why, in some cases, the two scores didn’t correlate. Other projects I worked on involved assessing the impact of attendance rates, curricular pacing and educational technology use on a student’s growth and achievement.

For each of these projects, I started with big spreadsheets with thousands of rows and was able to use technology to make meaningful findings. I reported each of my findings in a presentation that included an executive summary and visualizations. I learned a lot about how to best communicate these findings to different stakeholders and which statistics were most important to report. It was rewarding to hear that my work was making an impact as it was shared with KIPP staff.

This was my first experience working with data outside of the classroom (about the classroom!), and I found this work to be enjoyable and rewarding. At Williams, I will continue to take more statistics, computer science, psychology and project-based classes. I will also continue to participate in education outreach at Williams and will be able to bring a more data-driven mindset to any work that I do.

I would like to thank Jeffrey Hines ’77, the ’68 Center, and my supervisor, Mike MacArthur, for giving me the opportunity to work on impactful projects, providing great feedback and encouragement and helping to make my experience extremely rewarding.