Data Capacity Toolkit

All Head Start programs need to collect and analyze data and other information to find ways to improve their operations. Building capacity to use data to make better decisions is not a one-time, quick-fix project. It requires an organizational shift that takes time and requires deliberate changes in process, capacity, and approach. Use NHSA’s Data Capacity Toolkit to learn why and how you should be implementing data tools and processes in your program.

Developing Data Capacity

Do you know what skills to look for in a candidate to be your data manager? How about if you’re ready to hire a data manager? Have you considered writing an RFP for contracted data work? This guide provides resources for hiring or contracting someone to do data work, such as questions to ask when interviewing, skills to look for in a candidate for various positions, boilerplate job descriptions, and language for RFPs to retain analytic services.

Data Capacity Toolkit Components

Everyone will find different pieces of this toolkit useful. Feel free to focus on the elements that meet your program’s needs.

  • Evaluate the current state of data in your program and where you should start your data journey.
  • Assess whether your program should hire new data staff or work with data consultants.
  • Review draft language for various data-related job descriptions and learn where to recruit data staff.
  • Identify possible ways to incorporate data literacy into existing positions in your program.
  • Learn about Request for Proposals, review draft language, and explore lessons for hiring consultants.
  • Review questions to ask potential contractors to identify if they are a good fit for your program.
  • Explore some of the common lingo used in the data analysis world.

Questions? Suggestions? Ideas?

The Data Capacity Toolkit is a living resource, and NHSA needs your help to keep it so! Let us know which parts are the most useful, which could be improved, and if there is any new content we should add. Email: This work is a product of NHSA’s Data Design Initiative.

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