How to develop a data-driven enrollment strategy for K-12 schools.
When it’s time to design an enrollment strategy for your district or school, how do you gather and analyze the necessary data to optimize student enrollment and plan staffing for the upcoming school year?
Until recently, the only options available were paper-intensive, time-consuming, and inefficient. Even when these processes are managed via individual Google forms and spreadsheets, they can leave considerable room for human error and do not lend themselves easily to real-time analytics or reporting.
Thankfully, now schools have access to online and mobile enrollment systems that can help them get a better picture of how enrollment is shaping up in a fraction of the time.
Get a Clear, Real-Time View of Student Enrollment
Without an online system that can centrally store, manage, and organize enrollment data, it can be hard to get a clear understanding of how enrollment and re-enrollment are shaping up each year.
Some of the schools we’ve worked with note that before they moved to an online enrollment system, it was like chasing a moving target because they didn’t know how many applicants and new re-enrolling students there were.
Re-enrollment planning was difficult, and it was hard to know how many kids would show up. Now, using an application and enrollment dashboard, charter and district schools can view the number of prospective students progressing through each stage of the enrollment and registration process in real time.
This data can be used to improve enrollment outreach, capture shifting population and choice trends, and help schools make better staffing decisions earlier in the year.
Analyze Trends in Recruitment, Enrollment, and Registration
In districts and other large school networks, transferring data from individual schools to central office management can often be inefficient, time-consuming, and frustrating for everyone involved.
People working in school operations and network administration need accurate and timely enrollment updates to inform reporting, budgeting, staffing, and strategic planning.
They are responsible for performing sophisticated analyses of all student enrollment data, and before online enrollment systems became available, producing this type of analytical work was anything but easy and streamlined for them.
Now these school personnel can:
- Work with online, cloud-based enrollment systems to better understand their current enrollment numbers.
- Determine where their enrollment is projected to go in upcoming years based on data from previous years.
- Access predictive analytics based on census data and other relevant information.
If you are still spending weeks or months analyzing enrollment data for your district or network, then we hope these solutions will make a world of difference for you and your school community.
Not only can you access a clear picture of enrollment using a streamlined online and mobile system, but you can also analyze recruitment trends.
For example, SchoolMint’s online and mobile enrollment software features a report that shows the top referral sources driving recruitment.
Such sources could include:
- Radio ads
- Friends, family, and colleagues
- A school website
You can customize these reports to match your district’s needs or leverage the data contained within the system to answer other questions.
And, since this enrollment data is organized in a single place within an automated system, staff have the ability to analyze it in granular detail — by grade, by school, by approval status, even by school preference if applicable — to get the desired information on the spot.
Understand Family Demographics within Your School Boundaries
Schools need to understand their families’ demographics in order to meet reporting requirements, improve outreach to families, and potentially improve services and resources for parents living in the area.
Accordingly, your district or school may want to better understand how well it is meeting the needs of families. The reports provided in an online and mobile enrollment system can help with that.
For example, one network of charter schools uses SchoolMint to find out whether parents of current students are members of the military, which has school funding implications.
Similarly, schools may look at how many kids in their schools are living with grandparents or in a temporary living situation, as that can help with planning and prioritizing social support services.
Many districts and schools need to have access to such data to fulfill state reporting requirements or improve their marketing outreach as well.
Having timely access to the right information can help them to remain in compliance, perform their core functions more efficiently, and build a strong community of informed and involved parents.
Gain Insights into School Enrollment
For districts, networks, and schools that are impacted by demographic changes in their area or adapting to changes in their school choice environments, access to accurate enrollment information is critical.
With a better handle on enrollment trends and statistics, districts can:
- Better understand where on the map they should consider opening a new school.
- Determine where a bus route should go based on where students live.
- View student demographics for the area of a new school that has been proposed.
- Decide how best to optimize their budget based on enrollment trends.
These insights can help in conversations with the board to gain approval for such growth plans, or with the local governing authority in the public school context. Better data provides schools with the ability to make informed choices about their future direction.
When making important decisions, it’s essential to have timely, accurate, and relevant data at your fingertips in a form that is both easy to understand and actionable.
And, by having all the data you need in one place and at your fingertips, you can perform ad hoc analyses as needed.
By taking advantage of the intelligent reporting that an online and mobile enrollment system can offer, your district can gain powerful insights about enrollment trends and identify opportunities for strategic development in the future.
With user-friendly new technology, your life can be much easier, your data can be more accurate, timely, and accessible, and your decisions can be based on a solid grasp of this critical information.
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- Real-time enrollment data can help schools improve enrollment outreach, capture shifting population and choice trends, and make better staffing decisions earlier in the year.
- Online enrollment systems that automatically store and manage enrollment data in a single place make it possible for schools and districts to analyze trends, such as popular referral sources, on demand. Custom reports can also be created to look at more granular data.
- Districts and schools can also use insights from online enrollment systems to get a better handle on family demographics. This information can be useful for improving outreach or fulfilling state reporting requirements.
- Enrollment data can also help schools answer such questions as where to run a new bus route or open a new school.
- Insights gained from data can inform strategic conversations about a school or district’s future direction with its board or local authorities.
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