Connect with the people, ideas, and technologies you need to make critical decisions for your community. Read below to learn how your peers are responding to these new challenges, and the solutions that are working for them.
The criteria and deadlines for Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) funding are being implemented differently in each state. As Indiana's deadline was approaching, Forecast5 helped school corporations more effectively complete the application process and maximize funding use. In partnership with the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents (IAPSS) and Indiana ASBO, we hosted a webinar highlighting data-driven approaches to improving remote learning and addressing school equity issues.
The webinar highlighted how school corporations are using aggregated student data from the SIS, eLearning platform, and more, coupled with geovisual analytics technology, to address key GEER initiatives, such as:
• Providing actionable insights regarding connectivity issues and device management
• Targeting and prioritizing access for under-resourced communities
• Identifying and assisting at-risk students in a remote, hybrid, or on-site environment
• Assisting administrators in making data-informed pandemic and post-pandemic educational decisions
View the recording to learn what Forecast5 tools qualify for GEER funds, as well as how Forecast5 can assist you with your GEER funding application process and initiatives.
Earlier this spring, in response to the COVID-19 crisis, we developed a series of dashboard templates to help our clients assess their financial positions and identify the potential impacts of COVID-19.
One client, Brian Carter, CFO at Northwest ISD, recently shared with us the process he went through, using those templates in conjunction with our 5Cast Plus solution, to develop scenarios that he could use to communicate with his school board and help inform their decision making. Learn more about the process he went through and how he was able to refine a projected $21M adopted budget deficit to $11-12M using insights from 5Cast Plus.
On a recent statewide webinar, one of our 5Cast clients shared a PowerPoint presentation that had been recently delivered to his governance board. That presentation combined information about the status of the current-year budget, as well as multi-year projections that included COVID-19 scenarios. I thought the entire presentation was concise and very effective, but there were two slides that really stood out for me due to their ability to present complex financial scenarios in an easy-to-understand way.
In dealing with the COVID-19 crisis, schools have been forced to deliver services in a whole new way. In this rapidly evolving environment, this has ranged from ensuring that students have breakfast and lunch through food distribution, that they have laptops and lessons for eLearning, and that their families are aware of important communications. Equally as critical has been ensuring students receive essential services and supports.
As we reflect on what we've learned during the past 90 days and prepare for the 2020-21 school year, we've developed a list of questions districts may want to consider.
How are school districts analyzing student data to close the digital divide in remote learning? As districts and states begin to plan for the possibility of extending eLearning options for students in the fall of the 2020-21 school year, district leaders need critical information to ensure all students have access to the necessary learning materials.
Administrators across the country are using 5Lab to analyze student data to track coursework and next-grade-level readiness—all on a single platform—to ensure students stay "on-track" and the district closes the equity gap.
As a result of the COVID-19 crisis, districts are wrestling with the uncertainty of how to plan in a fluid environment in uncharted territory. This summer, administrators are examining the financial, logistical, and educational challenges schools are faced with while planning for an unknown future.
On May 22, CTOs, Superintendents, and other administrative leaders from districts across the country joined us for a panel discussion regarding lessons from the last 60 days, and specific ways districts are preparing for the next 120 days, including exploring “what if” scenarios for back-to-school and the ways in which they’re analyzing their data with a greater degree of rigor than ever before.
If it’s not already happened, in the near future you’ll likely be asked about how the COVID-19 pandemic will financially impact your district. While things like FY20 expenditure savings and FY21 interest earning reductions can be projected now, the fact is that the scope and/or duration of many financial impacts are still unknown. Nonetheless, there is great value in positioning your district to assess the impact of new information as it becomes available.
I've been encouraged by the way in which groups of school administrators, who are typically very collaborative, have banded together during this pandemic - meeting frequently and exchanging concerns, experiences, and best practices.
As business officials struggle with appropriately forecasting the financial impacts of this virus, two valuable approaches have emerged - reviewing the financial impact of the last recession and sharing potential scenario assumptions. Many business officials were not in their current positions during the Great Recession and, therefore, don't have the experience of navigating an economic recession. Analyzing historical trends in key areas such as CPI, EAV, tax collection, interest income, fees, and state/federal revenue in our 5Sight analytics tool has provided a helpful precedent for scenario-modeling.
Additionally, sharing assumptions for these areas and others with peers can provide confidence in your projections, as well as guard against extremes. "Peer-vetting" your scenarios provides both you and your Board with confidence in your financial projections.
Clients across the nation have inquired about using geospatial data and software to help with projects that spread happiness to their community! Several districts have shared with us that they have been using student and staff data in 5Maps to generate maps that allow them to not only provide critical services like meals or internet access – but also to deliver recognition.
One district used 5Maps to create areas in which their transportation team and bus drivers could drop off yard signs for graduating seniors. Another district utilized 5Maps to identify how to most efficiently and safely deliver gifts for “teacher appreciation” week. Congratulations and thank you to everyone who continue to think outside the box to spread joy through the community!
If you are a current 5Maps subscriber, please reach out so that we can assist. If you are new to 5Maps, please connect with us to learn more.
COVID-19 has rapidly shifted both learning and the workforce into a remote, digital environment. As students, teachers, and parents settle into the “new normal,” this is the ideal time for Information Technology (IT) teams to begin planning for what needs to happen between now and the end of this school year, for summer school, and for the opening of school activities. System activities that you’ve typically scheduled a year in advance are going to be influenced—and potentially changed significantly—by COVID-19. I’ve outlined some critical questions that you and your team should be considering, to ensure you’re prepared for potential school reopening scenarios.
Due to the recent national and state guidance surrounding COVID-19 social-distancing measures, most schools face the possibility of needing to extend eLearning through the end of the school year.
While each district, school, and/or grade level may have different distance learning policies and procedures, all districts will have to establish mechanisms to evaluate progress based on next grade and/or graduation protocols. Our full blog post outlines questions to consider within the areas of academic progress, assessment, and intervention.
The COVID-19 crisis has added an entirely new and complex dimension to supporting the Social-Emotional Learning needs of students. Now more than ever, district leaders need help - in the form of data - to not only be able to identify children's evolving SEL needs, but to also ensure that students are receiving appropriate educational services to support learning in this new reality.
On April 24, Dr. Brian Harris, Superintendent, and John Bruesch, Assistant Superintendent for Teaching & Learning, from Barrington CUSD 220 in Illlinois along with district panelists from across the country presented a webinar to discuss ways in which districts are successfully implementing data-driven strategies to connect with students in a virtual learning environment and address their social-emotional needs.
When the federal government moved the personal tax filing due date from April 15 to July, a series of cascading discussions followed from state and local governments, prompting an important question…”Would other tax collecting bodies follow suit and delay their collection of income and property tax?” Given the COVID-19 situation, this short-term forbearance is both appropriate and justified. However, at the local level, what if that delay of tax receipts disrupts the normal cash flow cycle to a level where critical services, or even debt payments, are at risk? Read on to learn more about the critical considerations related to these questions and access a video resource regarding potential approaches to addressing them.
In their effort to transition to eLearning, one of our clients needed to determine which of their students had Internet access in their homes, as well as devices (laptops, tablets, etc.) which could be used for instruction. They conducted a survey to gather this data, but wanted to use it to better understand where these students resided. We helped them upload their data into GuideK12 so that they can now visualize and analyze this information on the map.
They're using these visualizations to get a better idea of the areas in need of devices and/or hotspots, as well as the number of students in each of these areas, so that they can more effectively identify schools close to those areas which can be used as device hand-out stations. This data will also provide insight into whether the lack of Internet access is primarily a location issue in which Internet simply isn't available, or more of an economic issue, which can be used to inform future decision-making.
For more information about how to implement this for your district, please reach out to your GuideK-12 contact or 5Maps Advisor.
Each day, the great leaders in our education and municipal sectors demonstrate their dedication to helping our students and communities through this crisis. All of us at Forecast5 are committed to delivering resources, technology, and knowledge to support you. This new resource page is part of this commitment.
On it, you’ll find timely perspectives from our team on ways to address issues created by the crisis, tools that you can use to address them, and insights on how other Forecast5 clients are responding to similar challenges.
We’ll continue to add to this collection on a regular basis. In the meantime, we wish you all good health and safety.
My clients have recently asked how 5Maps software can support their organizations with the delivery of critical programs and services to students and communities during this period of social distancing. In response, I recorded a video to guide them through it. Here’s a brief summary for you.
5Maps is being used to address the challenge of providing meal services, tracking which students have Internet access, identifying specific demographic groups on the map, and delivering other programs and services. Your teams can use 5Maps can help your teams use mapping to visualize and produce detailed lists of those who are in need, produce detailed lists, and ultimately provide decision support in determining to help you the best methods to distribute those services.
If you are a current 5Maps subscriber, please reach out so that we can assist. If you are new to 5Maps, please connect with us to learn more.
The COVID-19 crisis seems to shift priorities and change assumptions for school business leaders on a daily basis. We have developed a checklist, by state, of potential budget items to consider in order to eliminate possible reimbursement funding falling through the cracks. We've also developed a variance analysis report in 5Cast Plus to enable districts to view changes against their trends and against their budget.
Our clients have also requested a dashboard we’ve developed to help explain a district’s financial situation that’s automatically populated, and also able to be customized with a narrative from administrators to tell the District’s story. These tools are helping clients model out the impact of the crisis and communicate the situation to their stakeholders. A review of these tools and techniques are included in our informational webinars customized by state. Below is an example of our budget checklist for the state of Texas. For more information on the additional state and local government checklists that are available, please contact us to learn more.
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, districts across the country are exploring ways to engage their students through eLearning. During our conversations with clients, all have indicated that they are currently navigating how to best ensure that all students receive the necessary learning experiences, both from a delivery and a content perspective.
To support this critical effort, we recently delivered a 5Lab dashboard to a client who needed to be able to visualize the last time each student logged in to their learning management system (LMS), as well as when each student was last actively accessing the material in the LMS. This 5Lab dashboard provides filtering capabilities so that specific student groups, such as students with special needs, English Learners, or low-income students, could be identified, enabling the district to provide additional resources to those students. Additionally, through our eLearning guided analysis page, the district leadership team was able to immediately generate a list of student names who had not accessed the eLearning materials.
If your district is interested in tracking eLearning experiences, please reach out to your 5Lab Advisor to learn more about how 5Lab can support your district’s eLearning efforts.
While the ultimate economic impact of COVID-19 has yet to be determined, there are steps school districts can take today to adjust their financial plans in response. Although there are clear differences in the underlying factors, there are numerous insights that can be gained from the Great Recession of 2007 and applied to budgetary forecasting.
This Forecast5 webinar recording will take you through an overview of our current economic conditions and their potential impact on revenue, outline what can be learned from our experiences in 2007, and end with a panel discussion with the Executive Directors from BASA and OASBO focused on expenditures, collective bargaining, ballots/levies, and financial strategies.
Although the datasets used during this webinar are specific to Ohio, the takeaways are applicable to districts located across the country.