Sweet Sounds of Success: IDC’s A Date with Data Podcast Highlights State Stories

By the IDC Buzz Staff

One thing years of experience helping states improve their IDEA data have taught us: States love stories. Specifically, states love stories about other states, challenges they’ve faced, processes and strategies they’ve employed, successes they’ve enjoyed. That was the idea behind IDC’s twice-monthly podcast, A Date with Data, now in its second year of production and an effort that is particularly relevant in light of the Department of Education’s recent focus on sharing out state impact stories.

Hosted by technical assistance specialist Amy Bitterman and produced by IDC staff, A Date with Data shines a spotlight on states’ IDEA data success stories via conversations with state special education staff, data teams, Part B data managers, and anyone else with a data story to share. In its more than 30 episodes, A Date with Data has visited 23 states and territories, everywhere from Nebraska to New Hampshire to American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands. Even greater than geographic distance, though, is the breadth of experience, knowledge, and wisdom that state staff have brought to these conversations. Delaware discussed data stewardship. North Dakota and West Virginia shared strategies for supporting new Part B data managers. Georgia had stakeholders on its mind, detailing its plan to secure and maintain consequential partnerships. Arkansas told us all about its DMS 2.0 process. Pennsylvania shared the keys to reducing high school drop-out rates. Even OSEP got into the act, sitting down with us at our Interactive Institute 2023 for A Date with Data’s very first live, in-person episode. And that’s just scratching the surface.

As long as state staff remain eager to participate, A Date with Data is eager to share their accomplishments, and their voices, with its listeners and fans. We don’t see an end in sight—or sound. There are still plenty of states left to visit and plenty of stories to tell. That’s another thing years of experience have taught us: Success stories are everywhere. You just have to know where to listen.