Making Waves Foundation (MWF) is a private operating foundation that supports Making Waves Academy (MWA), a 5-12 grade public charter school serving over 1,000 students in Richmond, CA, and operates CAP, a college success program providing a critical bridge between college acceptance and graduation for college students. Committed to advancing educational opportunities for children of color from historically underrepresented and underserved communities, we provide students access to opportunity, the support they need to succeed, and the agency to pursue their chosen postsecondary pathway.
We are among the first organizations to focus on both college access and success as a strategy to support underserved and underrepresented students – from 5th grade through early career. Together, MWA and CAP form a unique, holistic educational model that supports students academically, socially, emotionally, and financially on their journey to, through, and beyond college.
Our Strategic Plan
Over the next ten years, MWF is pursuing an expansion strategy, working toward equity and excellence in college attendance and graduation for Contra Costa students. A key lever in strengthening our impact and scaling effectively is implementing focused learning cycles that center the experience of those closest to the challenge we seek to address, alongside best practices and qualitative and quantitative data. To effectively implement this structured approach of organizing our work and learning through iterative practice and reflection requires a robust data infrastructure and aligned measurement framework.
To that end, Making Waves Foundation seeks a Data Specialist to manage our work toward building a strong foundation to ensure data is:
- Aligned: Data reflects the kind of information we care about and that we are going to use. It is aligned with our program strategy and theory of action so that we can discern what is happening, if it’s happening as expected, and what and how to improve or innovate.
- Accurate: Data is complete, valid, and consistent. We implement measurement tools that are accessible and inclusive across lines of difference. We rely on standard, documented reporting and analysis practices to ensure data is accurate and represented fairly in our reporting.
- Actionable: Data is timely and relevant to the end-user. It is presented visually to facilitate interpretation, learning, and reflection; and it is differentiated by audience and focus to support effective planning and decision-making – all in alignment with our strategic goals.
- Integrated: Data is understood, actively referenced, and integrated in day-to-day practice and established organizational planning, problem-solving, and learning routines.
The Data Specialist will serve as the organization’s resident data expert and will develop data tools, models, reports, and analyses to support and enhance student programming. This position will have the opportunity to establish best in-kind data practices; perform strategic and ad hoc data analyses to support strategic decision-making; conduct research to inform program design and evaluation; and build capacity for data-driven problem-solving and continuous improvement.
Do any of the following sound like you? Then, this position may be for you!
- Commitment to Making Waves’ mission: You believe all youth, regardless of race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status, should have access to high-quality educational opportunities
- Commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion: You acknowledge that marginalized communities face systemic inequities. You see the value in and actively seek and create space for diverse perspectives to inform your work and promote fairness for everyone.
- Knack for numbers: You are proficient in various forms of quantitative analysis and have an exquisite attention to detail. You genuinely enjoy sifting through data to find trends, patterns, insights.
- Data detective: You bring an analytical mindset and methodical approach to your work. You are naturally curious and have a high “figure-it-out” quotient to work through problems big and small.
- Data storyteller: You believe data-driven decision-making is essential for continuous improvement and effective growth; and work to present complex and technical concepts in clear, compelling ways through relevant visuals and verbal/written communication. You are fluent in a data visualization tool (e.g. PowerBI, Tableau).
The below statements are intended to describe the general nature and scope of work being performed by this position. Other duties may be assigned as needed.
Data Systems and Tools
- Develop and maintain organization metrics book to ensure clarity, consistency, and replicability of data practices and analyses; support ongoing data governance for the foundation.
- Support in identifying appropriate, research-based metrics and benchmarked targets for program goals.
- Collaborate with IT team to ensure data is stored and transferred between applications securely.
- Support the design and maintenance of data tools used to monitor and inform program design and implementation.
- Produce customized dashboards for individuals, managers, leaders.
Analysis and Reporting
- Prepare data reports and appropriate visualizations. Translate complex analyses into a format that a broader audience can understand and act upon.
- Locate, clean, and combine available source data for analytic priorities; troubleshoot anomalies in data; and produce analyses of the data to support program needs.
- Conduct analysis of available data to identify areas of opportunity and craft concrete recommendations for program improvement.
- Present data and progress on data-driven initiatives for leaders; communicate progress to key stakeholder groups and incorporate their input.
- Respond to internal and external data requests and inquiries.
- Design and deliver data-driven learning experiences for program staff.
- Build relationships and liaise with various teams to drive collaboration and synergize support by layering in data analysis and requests related to content-specific work.
- Engage with colleagues and program teams to determine opportunities for improvement, research specific issues, and develop recommendation plans to resolve.
- Anticipate, identify, and resolve complex obstacles to success of overall work responsibilities and specific projects.
Aligned with the core responsibilities above, success for this individual in their first 6-12 months will look like:
- Building relationships and understanding the team’s work to inform adaptive and technical data support and development; developing a perspective and recommendations on where and how to prioritize realizing the organization’s data vision
- Supporting the development of a program measurement framework, including identification of appropriate measures, tools, and targets
- Designing and producing actionable and interactive reports and dashboards for staff – and building staff capacity through aligned learning experiences to support data-driven problem-solving, learning, and design
- Codifying and defining standard data collection and reporting practices in a technical metrics book and annual reporting calendar
- Bachelor's degree in applied mathematics, statistics, data science, relevant social science, or related data-intensive discipline, and three to five years of related work experience (or equivalent combination of advanced education and experience) in the field of public or education administration, business, performance measurement, program evaluation, data analysis, educational research or evaluation, or a related field.
- Previous exposure to or experience in the education sector a plus.
- Demonstrated success in using data analysis to inform strategic planning and decision-making, applying skills to communicate complex information to a variety of audiences easily and training others in measurement and target-setting.
- Excellent quantitative skills, including the ability to examine available data, apply decision rules and analytical methods, produce descriptive and inferential statistics, and prepare meaningful reports based on analyses that enable programmatic next steps and actions.
- Fluency in a statistical software package (e.g. Stata, SAS or SPSS), data visualization tool (e.g. Power BI, Tableau), and ability to use advanced Excel functionalities (pivot tables, lookup procedures for merging data).
- Strong attention to detail and accuracy of information, including the ability to organize large amounts of data and track multiple projects simultaneously, setting priorities for analysis and use in consultation with numerous stakeholders.
- Excellent communication skills, including ability to contribute additively to discussions, drawing upon expertise to influence group outcomes.