Making Smarter Decisions with More Timely Enrollment Data

Posted February 13, 2017

 

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When it’s time to set enrollment strategy for your district or for your school, how do you gather and analyze the necessary data to optimize student enrollment and to plan staffing for the upcoming school year? Until recently, the only options out there were paper-intensive, time-consuming, and very inefficient. Even when these processes are managed via individual Google forms and spreadsheets, which don’t lend themselves well to real-time analytics or reporting, they can leave considerable room for human error. But now, online and mobile enrollment systems can help districts and schools quickly understand how enrollment is shaping up in a fraction of the time it would have taken them before.

Get a 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 Enrollment and Registration Trends

In districts and other large school networks, getting data from a school to the central place of management for this information can often be inefficient, time-consuming, and frustrating in general for everyone involved. People working in school operations roles and at the district administration level need accurate and timely enrollment updates for reporting, budgeting purposes, staffing, and for short and long term strategic planning. They are responsible for performing sophisticated analyses of all student enrollment data, and until online enrollment systems became available, producing this type of analytical work had been anything but easy and streamlined for them.

Now people in operations roles needing access to such critical enrollment data can work with these 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, and access predictive analytics based on census data and other relevant information. If you are still spending weeks to months going through analysis for your district or network, our recommendation is that you explore what options currently exist to make your life better on so many fronts.

Not only can you quickly get a clear picture of enrollment, in general, using an online and mobile enrollment system, but you can analyze recruitment trends as well. For example, SchoolMint 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; or the school website, for example. 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.

Get a Better Handle on Family Demographics

Schools need to understand their families’ demographics in order to meet reporting requirements, improve outreach to families, and where relevant, provide better 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 we work with uses SchoolMint to find out whether or not parents of current students are members of the military since that information is important to funding. For example, they may look at how many kids in their schools are living with grandparents or in a temporary living situation since that helps with their 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 stay compliant, 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 expanding or shrinking due to demographic changes in their area, or if more parents are exercising school choice, having access to accurate enrollment information is critical. With a better handle on enrollment trends and statistics, districts can better understand quite literally where on the map it might be good to open a new school, determine where the bus route should go based on data showing where students are, see the student demographics for the area of a new school that has been proposed, or decide how best to optimize their budget based on enrollment trends. This insight 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 a little research and a little technology, your life can be so much better, your data can be more accurate, timely, and accessible, and your decisions can be based on a solid grasp of this critical information. Want to learn more about how SchoolMint can help you have better data insights? Don’t hesitate to reach out!

 

Key Takeaways:

  • 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 to where it would be ideal to run a new bus route or open a school. Insights gained from data can inform strategic conversations about the school or district’s future direction with its board or local authorities.
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