Using Benchmarking as a Budgeting Tool

By Trevor Skelton, Associate Client Manager

June 2019

California charters are full swing into the budgeting season for the upcoming school year, and for brand-new schools to thriving networks, budgeting is never a simple process. We at EdTec often find that benchmarking against historical data as well as data from similar charters is an invaluable tool in assessing whether a budget is built on realistic assumptions. This information should not be used to define an entire budget, but rather as one of many tools used to inform budget formation and key financial decisions. This data also helps school leaders to understand the charter financial landscape, discover inefficiencies in their budgeting practices, and evaluate where and why their budgets may be similar to or different from that of the average charter.

Revenue

From a historical viewpoint, the last five years have seen strong increases in K-12 education funding with the full implementation of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), which was enacted in FY14 to replace the previous California education funding system. Between the five-year period from FY14 to FY18, the average charter’s total revenues grew from $9,513 per ADA to $13,078, or nearly 9% per year.

In FY14, average LCFF revenues for charters were $6,887 per unit of Average Daily Attendance (ADA) – in FY18, they were $9,633c a 40% increase as closing the gap toward target funding progressed ahead of schedule. However, not all schools have benefited equally from LCFF. Funding is distributed to schools based on the number of students who qualify for Free and Reduced Priced Meals, are foster youth or homeless, or qualify as English Language Learners. This unduplicated pupil percentage (UPP) of students is a major funding indicator now that LCFF has been fully implemented, with the intent to direct additional resources to students and schools that need them the most. Funding disparities between schools with low and high populations of unduplicated students have grown significantly, as shown in the graph below. Beyond LCFF, federal revenues, most commonly Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Title funding, also have a direct relationship with unduplicated students. Thus, accurate budgeting, tracking, and reporting of ADA and student demographics via CALPADS are more important than ever in maximizing revenue.

In FY18 the average charter school reported a 64% UPP, so while many have enjoyed increased resources, others have been forced to innovate to acquire resources to make ends meet. For charters, we see that disparities in government funding are often supplemented with local funding where available. In particular and perhaps unsurprisingly, charters located in counties with higher median household incomes, especially the Bay Area and Coastal regions, have the greatest access to these additional resources. Charters with a UPP of below 25% reported an average of just below $1,000 per ADA in local revenue, compared to less than $500 for the average charter.

K-12 education funding is at a point of uncertainty. LCFF has reached target, and FCMAT projects meager 2-3% COLA adjustments in future years – well below the revenue increases of the past half-decade of steady economic growth. An economic recession would certainly impact not just state funding, but local resources as well. Charters will need to be able to adapt and weather a possible storm if they are to survive an uncertain future.

Expenses

In examining statewide charter expenditure data, we see that expenses have grown in a similar fashion to revenue over the past five years. The average charter was spending $8,411 per ADA in FY14 – by FY18, this had grown to $12,011, a 43% increase. Over this time period, California has grown from near the bottom of per pupil spending in all the U.S. to about average[1]. While certainly movement in the right direction, pupil performance indicators, a higher-than-average cost of living, and the uncertain future of LCFF funding all indicate that this is hardly the moment for celebration.

An average charter will spend 60% of its budget on salaries and benefits, so it is essential to understand each piece of the compensation puzzle and to budget appropriately for future considerations. Overall, salaries per ADA have risen 9% a year, a rate of growth charters may no longer be able to afford in the new post-LCFF-target world.

Employee benefits have become a major budget challenge for charters. From FY14 to FY18, the average charter’s spend on benefits grew from 25% of salaries to 29% of salaries. This means the growth in benefits spending has matched and then surpassed the growth in salaries by nearly 20%. As shown in the figure below, this growth was led by STRS, as the mandatory employer contribution rate doubled over this time from its long-standing 8.25% to 16.28% of salaries for certificated staff. This may very well explain why the rate of new charters that chose not to enroll in CalSTRS rose from its steady 10% to 20% in FY15 and 33% in FY16[2]. PERS has also seen rates that have more than doubled in the past decade, while health and welfare benefits continue to soar across the board.

Special education is notoriously difficult to budget for and is extremely underfunded. Based on our experience and data, we estimate the average charter spent at least $1,300 per ADA on special education in FY18. Charters that are a part of a Special Education Local Planning Area (SELPA) may receive SpEd revenues to cover around half of that, but for charters serving their students as a school of the district, it’s not uncommon for district SpEd encroachment fees to exceed $1,300 per ADA.

Finally, we see facilities costs rising across the state for charters with and without SB740 revenues. Facilities costs for charters are rising at a pace of 8-10% per year, translating to over $600 per ADA net of facilities revenues.

For these areas with inherent risk and uncertainty, conservative budgeting with contingencies is imperative in managing school budgets.

Fiscal Health

These data all come together to form a charter’s overall fiscal standing. Overall, California charters have averaged somewhere between $400-$500 in operating income per ADA in any given year for the past five fiscal years, which has allowed them to steadily grow their fund balances. In FY18, new schools saved between 10-20% of expenses, while older schools were able to accumulate greater reserves for future investments and to manage cash fluctuations. Charters had a median of 80 days cash on hand – a comfortable amount for the average-sized charter – and at least 25% had 30 days cash on hand.

While operating income, fund balance, and cash balance are the main indicators of a charter’s financial stability, variance to budget will also be important to monitor. Continuously tracking budget vs. actuals year-to-date for trends and discrepancies can help to identify clear areas of weakness in a school’s financial or budgeting practices. And of course, managing against any debt covenants or authorizer requirements is imperative to staying in good financial standing.

Averages don’t tell the whole story. Every school has variances from the norm, but it’s essential to be able to explain why and understand what the possible financial implications may be. From individual school practices to the California Department of Education’s new LCAP Budget Summary for Parents, we see a trend toward increasing transparency when it comes to California’s education funding and spending. Adopting a practice of regular communication of school budget information and comparative data like this with parents, community members, school staff, lenders, and others can foster engagement and understanding with stakeholders, empowering those most invested in educating California.

 

[1] http://www.teaching-certification.com/teaching/education-spending-by-state.html

[2] https://calpensions.com/2017/09/11/fewer-charter-schools-choosing-calstrs-pensions/

Data Sources: Unaudited Actuals Financial Data (CDE); Public Schools Data Files (CDE); CALPADS UPC Source File (CDE); SB740 grantee lists (CSFA); County Data (U.S. Census Bureau); EdTec Client Data (Note: only includes financial data for charters whose data is available (n = 588 – 927), and thus is not representative of all charters. Sample sizes and composition vary over time.)

Register for the EdTec/YM&C 2019 Charter Leadership Forums!

Young, Minney & Corr, LLP (YM&C) and EdTec are partnering to bring you the latest fiscal, operational, legal, and political updates, along with expert advice, to help your charter school thrive in these challenging and uncertain times.  All charter developers and operators are invited to attend this annual educational and networking event, which promises to deliver critical information and practical takeaways for your role as a charter school leader.

Event Locations & Dates 

SF Bay Area
Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Sacramento
Wednesday, May 1, 2019

San Diego
Thursday, May 9, 2019

Los Angeles
Friday, May 10, 2019

Click here to view more event details and register for an event!

California Charters, Stay Calm and Focus on Your LCAP Submission and the 2019 Dashboard!

By Jennifer Reyes, Ed.d., Educational Support Services Manager; Chris Lim, Senior Director of Data Management; and Annice Weinstein, Senior Manager, Assessment Data and Analysis 

April 16, 2019

California charter leaders, as you enter the last few months of the school year, pay attention to these important tasks to help you stay on top of your LCAP submission as well as ensure accurate reporting on the 2019 Dashboard.

CALPADS Submissions and the Dashboard

Demographic data reported to CALPADS informs the subgroup information reported on the CA School Dashboard. The CA Department of Education (CDE) typically extracts this information shortly after CAASPP testing is completed, so review the 8.1 ODS report in CALPADS to be sure the right demographic information is reported for each student: race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, homeless, foster, English learner, and disability status. For corrections, update the information in your student information system (SIS) first, then push an updated extract up to CALPADS, so the original source of your data (your SIS) is accurate and matches what’s in CALPADS.

We also recommend you push up an enrollment update to CALPADS prior to testing to make sure all students enrolled at your school are represented in TOMS.

The end-of-year submissions (EOY 1, 2, and 3) provide information on program eligibility, chronic absenteeism, suspension rate, and other disciplinary incidents, as well as college and career readiness. EOY information is also used to determine graduation rates along with cumulative enrollment, which the CDE uses to determine which students will factor into each of the Dashboard calculations.

LCAP Annual Update

Coordinate with your staff to gather the data necessary to update all the measurable outcomes defined in your LCAP. You’ll notice that some of the measures may be a year old (SBAC scores or graduation rate from 2017-18),but do your best to gather current data when available (example: local assessment data). Gathering the data early will give you a chance to share progress with your stakeholders and get their feedback, as well as use the data to determine if the actions or services you implemented are showing the results you anticipated. If they aren’t, this is the perfect time to update your plans in the 2019-20 LCAP.

If you haven’t been coding your finances to align with your LCAP goals, actions, and services throughout the year, you’ll need to start reviewing your general ledger to identify how each of the expenses line up with your LCAP. The Annual Update requires you to include your estimated actual expenditures for each action/service, including the funding source (base, supplemental/concentration, title funds, CSI), so this task can take some time.

It’s also a good time to start planning for that final round of stakeholder engagement prior to Board approval.  This will allow you to get quality input on your draft LCAP so that your entire school community is represented in the plan.  You will be able to include these efforts in the stakeholder engagement section and show that you are meeting this LCAP requirement.

One last item to start preparing is your responses to how you’ve addressed each of the local indicators. You will need to present the information at a regularly scheduled board meeting either at the end of this school year or the start of the next school year. Your overall score – Standard Met or Standard Not Met – will be entered by your Dashboard Coordinator next fall, but since you will be including that information in the LCAP Annual Update, it makes sense to prepare your narratives for the Dashboard local indicator reporting at the end of 2018-19.

The end of the school year will be here before we know it! We recommend planning ahead and allotting time to get these items right, as they have a significant impact on your school. For additional questions on the LCAP, Dashboard, or CALPADS submissions, please contact LCAP360@edtec.com.

California Charters, Know the Impact of Participation Rate on Your School’s Academic Indicators!

By Annice Weinstein, Senior Manager, Assessment Data and Analysis

March 29, 2019

In 2018, the California Department of Education added participation rate as a factor into the calculations for the Academic Indicators on the CA School Dashboard. But how exactly does that affect your school?

For both ELA and Math, the goal is to have a participation rate of 95% or higher on the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments (SBAC) and the California Alternate Assessments (CAAs.) If the participation rate falls below 95%, a fourth of a point (.25) is deducted from the Distance from Standard (DFS) for that subject for each percentage point below the target 95%.

For example, if a school had a participation rate of 91% on the SBAC/CAA ELA and a DFS in ELA of 9:

95% – 91% = 4 (points below the target participation rate)

4 x .25 = 1 (deduction amount from the DFS)

9 – 1 = Adjusted DFS of 8

Participation rate is calculated for every subgroup with 11 or more students and factored into the Academic Indicators for all reported Dashboard subgroups.

The following students are not included in the participation rate calculation: students absent from testing due to a significant medical emergency who are also flagged with the medical emergency condition code on the CAASPP file, and for the ELA portion of the SBAC/CAA, English learners enrolled in a U.S. school for less than one year. Parent waivers do not exempt students from the participation rate calculations.

Schools are also responsible for testing students who transfer in during the beginning 14-day grade period or during the Accountability Testing Window. These students will be included in the participation rate calculation. Schools are not responsible for testing students who transfer in during the ending 14-day grace period or transfer out during the beginning 14-day grace period. However, schools are responsible for testing students who transfer out during the Accountability Testing Window or during the ending 14-day grace period.

To see how participation rate may have affected your school’s Academic Indicators in 2018, schoolwide and for each significant subgroup, enter your school name into the box on this site:

https://public.tableau.com/profile/aweinstein#!/vizhome/2018_Participation_Rate_Impact/ParticipationRateDashboard

Connect with EdTec at the 26th Annual CCSA Conference!

March 6, 2019

EdTec is proud to be a sponsor, exhibitor, and presenter at the 26th Annual California Charter Schools Conference! The conference will take place in Sacramento from March 11-14, 2019. EdTec staff, along with our partner organizations and partner schools, will present 13 breakout sessions and poster sessions, as well as two sessions at the School Developer Summit and one session at the Renewal Summit. We’re looking forward to this opportunity to share our expertise with charter developers, new schools, and established schools.  Take a look at our sessions below so you can plan ahead!

We’re also excited to announce that, for the second year in a row, we will have two booth locations at the conference this year! We hope you will stop by Booth 904 to meet the EdTec team and learn more about our charter development and back office services. Our data experts will be at Booth 710 to introduce you to LCAP 360 by EdTec – the first integrated, end-to-end LCAP service for charter schools. They’ll also be available to discuss how we support schools with CALPADS, student assessment, PowerSchool, charter renewals, grant writing, WASC, and more.

Breakout Sessions & Poster Sessions

Tuesday, March 12

Wednesday, March 13

Thursday, March 14

We look forward to seeing you at our booths and sessions. We hope everyone has a great time at the conference!

Finance Academies: Sacramento & Oakland

EdTec will be presenting at CCSA’s Finance Academies in Sacramento & Oakland. The CCSA Finance Academy is a one-day intensive in-person workshop designed to prepare charter school leaders, board members, business office staff, and new developers to strengthen their school’s internal financial management capacity. EdTec’s charter school experts will be on site to share their expertise in budgeting, payroll, accounting, compliance and reporting, audit requirements, and more. Please see below for workshop details and follow the links to register online today!

Sacramento:

REGISTER HERE

Wednesday, January 30, 10am-4pm

CCSA Sacramento Office, Conference Room

1107 9th Street, Suite 200, Sacramento, CA 95814

Oakland:

REGISTER HERE

Thursday, January 31, 10am-4pm

CCSA Oakland Office, Conference Room

436 14th Street, Suite 310, Oakland, CA 94612

Understanding the LCAP’s Increased or Improved Services Requirement

By Jennifer Reyes, Ed.D., Educational Support Services Manager

January 15, 2019

California school leaders, are you confused about the LCAP’s increased or improved services requirement?

If so, you’re not alone!  Read on for a breakdown of the basics of this critical LCAP component.

Unduplicated Pupils

To begin, a charter school’s unduplicated count refers to the total number of students who belong to one or more of the groups identified for additional funding under the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF):  Low Income (measured by Free/Reduced Lunch eligibility), English Learner, and Foster Youth.  Unduplicated simply means that any student in one or more of these groups would only be counted once in the calculation.

The unduplicated pupil count is used to determine the amount of supplemental and concentration funds the charter school will receive under LCFF.  Charter schools receive these additional funds up to a maximum of the unduplicated percentage of the school district in which they reside.

To illustrate, a charter school of 400 students may have a total of 320 unduplicated pupils. This school has 320 students who meet one or more criteria for unduplicated pupils.  Rather than add together the school’s 310 students who are eligible for free/reduced lunch, its 50 English Learners, and its five foster youth, the formula counts each student just once – even those who meet more than one criteria – for a total of 320 of the 400 enrolled students, or an Unduplicated Pupil Percentage (UPP) of 80%.

Alternate UPP Example

Total student population:  4

  • Student 1- Free/Reduced Lunch-eligible
  • Student 2- Free/Reduced Lunch-eligible and English Learner
  • Student 3- Free/Reduced Lunch-eligible and Foster Youth
  • Student 4- Meets no unduplicated pupil criteria

Unduplicated Pupil Count:  3

UPP: ¾=75%

Now, if the district the charter school resides in has an equal or higher UPP, the school will receive funds for its own full count. For example, if your UPP is 80% and the district your school resides in has a UPP of 90%, your UPP will be capped at 80%. However, if the district percentage is lower, the school will receive funding at the district percentage. For example, if your UPP is 80% but the district your school resides in has a UPP of 45%, your UPP will be capped at 45%.

Minimum Proportionality

Minimum proportionality refers to the proportion of supplemental and concentration funds to base funds the school receives. Districts and charter schools are required to state and justify how they have used the supplemental and concentration funds to increase or improve services for the unduplicated student population by at least the proportion of additional funds received.

For example, if a school receives $10,000,000 in total LCFF revenue, and based on its unduplicated student population receives $1,000,000 in supplemental and concentration funding, then its Minimum Proportionality Percentage (MPP) would be 10%.  This school needs to demonstrate how it has increased or improved services for its unduplicated student population, in quantity or quality, by at least ten percent.

MPP Example

All other LCFF Funding (less TIIG & Transportation):  $10,000,000

Supplemental and Concentration Funds: $1,000,000

MPP ($1,000,000/$10,000,000):  10%

How can a charter school best demonstrate that it has increased or improved services for its unduplicated pupils?  In the LCAP, each action or service must be identified as contributing or not contributing to the increased/improved services requirement.  Those contributing actions/services are then identified as being applied school-wide or limited to the unduplicated student population.

Increased or Improved Services Section Requirements

Here are the items a charter school must include in the LCAP under DIISUP:

  • The dollar amount of funds generated by unduplicated students.
  • The Minimum Proportionality Percentage (MPP) reflecting the proportion of funds generated by unduplicated pupils.
  • If enrollment for unduplicated pupils is above 55%, for services that are applied schoolwide, include a description of how the services are principally directed  and effective.  For unduplicated counts below 55%, for services that are applied schoolwide, include a description of how services provided are the most effective use of funds to meet the goals of the unduplicated pupils.  Provide the basis for this determination, any alternatives considered, plus supporting theory, experience, or research.

Examples of Actions and Services

Some examples we have seen of actions and services targeting unduplicated pupils:

  • Restorative justice programs to facilitate communication, and understand barriers/challenges
  • Paperwork party: guidance on completing college or financial aid applications
  • Academic counseling and transcript analysis
  • Health & wellness education workshops for families
  • Multi-disciplinary support teams
  • Connecting families to community resources
  • Methods for differentiating instruction
  • Training on how children respond to trauma
  • Training on social-emotional skills (particularly impulse control and empathy) or an SEL curriculum

Get Organized and Share Your Great Work!

A charter school or district needs to be able to show, through its LCAP, how it is appropriately utilizing the additional funds received to support unduplicated pupils.  Recent news coverage has spotlighted both charter and district examples where funds are underutilized or unaccounted for in LCAPs.  An August 2018 report by Public Advocates found that not one of the 43 California charter school LCAPs it reviewed had properly documented how the schools were increasing or improving services for unduplicated pupils.  In our experience with schools, there are often many innovative approaches and programs in place to serve unduplicated pupils, and our work together is a matter of organizing the information to meet the LCAP requirements and sharing success stories.

Register for EdTec’s LCAP Workshops!

EdTec is excited to offer small group LCAP workshops again this year! The workshops will be held in February in Los Angeles & Emeryville. Read on for more workshop details and register using the links below.

Workshop Overview
EdTec’s charter school LCAP experts will lead you through a hands-on workshop designed to strengthen your LCAP and provide you with practical takeaways that prepare you to engage stakeholders, align your goals, set reasonable metrics, track expenditures, and more.

Workshop Dates

LOS ANGELES – REGISTER HERE

Thursday, February 7th, 10am-3pm

EdTec Office – 811 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1420, Los Angeles, CA 90017

EMERYVILLE – REGISTER HERE

Tuesday, February 12th, 10am-3pm

EdTec Office – 1410 62nd Street, Suite A, Emeryville, CA 94608

Workshop Topics

  • Engage your stakeholders
  • Align the goals across your LCAP, charter, WASC, and more
  • Set reasonable metrics to meet all CDE requirements & track progress toward goals
  • Understand the current CA Dashboard, its relationship to the LCAP, and how to impact both the state and local indicators
  • Implement best practices for tracking your expenditures
  • Review examples of well-written LCAPs

Workshop Features

  • Small class size – No more than 10 organizations per workshop
  • Practical takeaways – You’ll leave the workshop prepared to finalize your LCAP
  • Personal LCAP review – Workshop fee includes a review of your LCAP prior to submission
  • Coffee, snacks, and lunch will be provided

CALPADS Update for CA Charter Schools

By Gerald Cockrell, Data and Categorical Program Specialist

September 19, 2018

For California charter schools, it can be hard to stay on top of all the changes to CALPADS. Use the list below as an easy checklist to make sure your school isn’t forgetting anything this year. Check out our previous CALPADS post to see our list of the most important CALPADS reports to prepare for Fall 1.

Important Changes to CALPADS for the 18/19 School Year

  • There are new CALPADS submission certification deadlines for ‘18-‘19 and they are much earlier than previous years. Please plan accordingly, especially for the Fall 1 submission which now ends around Thanksgiving instead of the end of January.
    • Fall 1 Certification Deadline: 11/21/18
    • Fall 1 Amendment Window Deadline: 12/7/18
    • Fall 2 Certification Deadline: 2/1/19 (No Amendment Window)
    • EOY 1 – EOY 3 Certification Deadline: 8/17/19 (No Amendment Window)
  • In addition to the shorter submission windows CALPADS also has a significant outage planned for 9/21-10/01 to make major system changes. Please plan accordingly. It’s also important to get any SSID’s or other information from CALPADS you may need for assessment or ELPAC testing.
  • New students with a non-English primary language must have an ‘18-‘19 enrollment record and a “TBD” SELA record in CALPADS in order for them to show up in TOMS and be tested with the Initial ELPAC.
  • This update is not new, but it is important enough to warrant an annual reminder: all National School Lunch Program (NSLP) Free and Reduced Price Meal (FRPM) applications for the year MUST BE RECEIVED BY 10/31/18 for the student eligibility to count towards your official FRPM or LCFF Unduplicated counts.

To help you prepare for Fall 1 and make sure your charter school’s data is accurate for funding and accountability, check out our previous CALPADS post about the most important CALPADS reports.

We Need Proof: Capture & Demonstrate Student Performance across a Data Spectrum

by Annice Weinstein, Senior Manager, Assessment Data and Analysis 

May 23, 2018

With so much going on at your charter school on a day-to-day basis, it can be difficult to remember what data your staff needs to track throughout the year. This data is necessary to stay on top of accountability requirements and be able to demonstrate student performance to your stakeholders, as well as for your LCAP, charter renewal, WASC, and grants. This article takes a step-by-step approach to help you evaluate your data needs and establish processes for collecting that data.

Start with your Charter

When your school’s founding team wrote the charter, they laid the foundation for what the school aims to accomplish, student performance goals, and how it plans to measure its progress over the duration of the charter period. Because your LCAP is an annual reflection of the school’s performance and plan for improvement, aligning the goals and measurable pupil outcomes in your LCAP to your charter is critical. This will also save you time when you renew your charter, as aligning the two documents is a requirement for renewal.

As a next step, you’ll need to track progress towards the measurable outcomes you set in your LCAP. For example, if one of your student performance goals is that all students enrolled at your school since ninth grade will graduate and be accepted to college, then you need to have processes in place to track progress towards graduation requirements and college acceptance rates. To accomplish this, you could assign a member of your data team to collaborate with the school’s guidance counselors and college counselors to determine the best way to gather this information. If one of your metrics for academic achievement is that all students enrolled at your school since kindergarten will be reading on grade level by the end of 3rd grade, then you need to have processes in place to track reading levels for a cohort of students over time.

Data Integrity

You won’t be able to evaluate your progress and student performance toward LCAP goals and tell your school’s story without consistent, reliable data. What’s more, your CALPADS data will be used to calculate the CA School Dashboard state indicators, so it’s extremely important that it’s complete and accurate. Review all CALPADS certification reports carefully. Take the time to download all student-level state test results from TOMS, CELDT, ELPAC, and testing systems to a safe place at your school. The data may not always be available to download when you need it; for example, TOMS only houses two historical years of data.

For all local test data, make sure to include student IDs so you can calculate longitudinal progress. Include proficiency levels where applicable to make it easy to determine the percentage of students on grade level or meeting the standard. Make sure the team in charge of data at your school is aware of the important role they play in compliance requirements and storytelling, and work with them to establish standard processes for tracking and reporting all data. You’ll want to make sure that everyone involved in these processes is kept informed of critical updates and timelines.

Use Data to Tell Your Story

CA School Dashboard Indicators

When it comes time to tell your story, it’s important to present the school’s performance in a clear, honest, effective way. In addition to the good news, you’ll also need to communicate dips in performance and indications of achievement gaps. You can use your Dashboard indicators to identify achievement gaps by identifying any student groups performing two or more levels below the school’s overall performance. You should also be prepared to explain how you are using data to assist in improving performance or closing the achievement gap.

Your Dashboard indicators are also useful for identifying and highlighting progress in student performance, such as an improvement in the test performance of English Learners. Whenever possible, try to identify specific programs or lack of programs that can be tied to progress or setbacks; this will weave a thorough story and set the stage for you to provide related recommendations about the best way to allocate resources going forward.

Local Metrics

You can also use local metrics to highlight your school’s performance. If you’ve had success in a particular area, you’ll want to make sure to share this with your stakeholders. Here are a few examples of metrics that might make sense for your school to track and report:

  • College Application, Acceptance, or College-Going Rate
  • AP Course Enrollment or AP Pass Rate
  • GPA
  • Participation in Programs (extracurricular activities, arts & science programs, leadership)
  • SAT/ACT Scores
  • Fundraising Success
  • Community Service Hours
  • Re-Enrollment Rate or Waitlist Count (to indicate satisfaction with or interest in your school)
  • Results of Parent/Student Surveys

Performance Analysis

There are two main ways to demonstrate student performance when telling your school’s story: longitudinal progress and comparison view. The longitudinal view compares performance for the same set of students over time. The comparison view shows school-wide performance by grade level or subgroup compared to demographically similar, resident, or district schools. When comparing performance, be sure to select comparison schools based on specific criteria such as similar demographics or geographic proximity. In the end, it all goes back to data integrity, as both views depend on access to complete, accurate data.

Summary

The most effective way to prepare to demonstrate student performance at your school is to outline a data collection strategy and plan. Make sure the relevant staff are on the same page regarding your school’s goals and implementation of those goals, so you are capturing the information you need to tell a powerful story. Schedule time throughout the school year to review progress on the measures established in your LCAP, accurately maintain your CALPADS data, and thoroughly understand your Dashboard. All of this will prepare you to explain both the progress and struggles reflected in your data.

Find out more about EdTec’s Student Performance Services.