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Optimal Average Daily Attendance: Tying it All Together

Posted on Dec 19, 2018 7:20:00 AM

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We’ve spent the last few weeks discussing the new game of average daily attendance, the formula to optimize it, and IT's role in the process. Now, let’s tie it all together. Remember: always start with the desired outcome, then establish measurable success criteria and develop the technological solution that maps directly to your goals.

What Good Looks Like
What does optimal average daily attendance look like for you? What does that mean in terms of enrollment, assuming that there will be absences every day? Start by deciding the number of students that need to attend daily for your desired level of funding, then determine how that translates into total enrollment. This is something you’ll need to discuss with key stakeholders like the CBO and the superintendent. You won’t ever hit your target if you don’t have one. You should also compare this number to your current ADA to determine the necessary growth.

Spreading the Word
Once you’ve established your enrollment goal, it’s time to start spreading the word to get more interested families. Think about some of the factors we’ve mentioned so far:

  1. Parents are willing to make the extra effort if they feel like the value is high enough for their student(s) and for their future(s).
  2. Also think about parents who are commuting to your city to go to work—if they’re commuting, their kids can too.
  3. Start young. Your goal may be to maximize ADA in your high schools, but you have to start earlier. Parents are looking for more continuity for their students, so seek to enroll more young children and nurture them so that they stay through high school.

The next step is to communicate. Parents need and want to know the benefits of your district whether that’s the quality of extracurriculars, consistently high test scores, college success rates, or your safety record.

Bringing the Value
Of course, you can’t communicate value to potential students unless the value really exists. There are going to be some perceived benefits of students attending your school. The challenge is to look at it from an outside perspective and discover what you’re doing well and where you could use a little boost. We’re not saying you have to do everything perfectly all the time; focus on the areas that you feel matter most to students and parents, and continually challenge your staff to up their game.

Here are a few examples to get started:

  • Safety: Campus safety has never been more important. Proving that you have a comprehensive strategy that focuses on realistic safety measures (which goes far beyond a few cameras) can mean big things for families.
  • Student Success: This should be expected. What’s your college acceptance rate? Are students learning in ways that will help them build a better future? How are you preparing students for their next phases of education and/or the real world? What opportunities do your students have that set your school apart from others?
  • Engagement: If you’re not getting/keeping parents and students engaged, you’re missing an opportunity for positive impact on your student body. Think about how you’re communicating with parents to keep them engaged. Are kids excited to come to class because of interactive lessons and an engaging curriculum? If not, do your best to move those goals to the top of your list. If they are, shout it from the mountain tops!

Where Technology Comes In
Technology can play a role in all of these areas (and more), which is why we’re so passionate about what we do. Our objective: collaborate with K-12 IT departments and leverage technology to achieve all of these goals.
 

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