Driven by Data

Best Practices for Payroll – Part 2

As we prepare for an unusual start to the school year, we are striving to make staff feel like valued members of our communities. One element towards that is having routine operations running smoothly so that attention can be focused on the students and their learning experience. Payroll is a predictable element of running a school that, if done well, is hardly thought about by staff – except maybe on pay day! Payroll mistakes, however, can be upsetting, stressful, and take up a lot of administrative time and energy to rectify. This is the second in a series with tips on how to process an error-free payroll based on our extensive payroll experiences with schools. We hope these will be helpful in increasing the accuracy of your payroll.   

Best Practices for Payroll – Part 1

As we prepare for an unusual start to the school year, we are striving to make staff feel like valued members of our communities. One element towards that is having routine operations running smoothly so that attention can be focused on the students and their learning experience. Payroll is a predictable element of running a school that, if done well, is hardly thought about by staff – except maybe on pay day! Payroll mistakes, however, can be upsetting, stressful, and take up a lot of administrative time and energy to rectify. This is the first in a series with tips on how to process an error-free payroll based on our extensive payroll experiences with schools. We hope these will be helpful in increasing the accuracy of your payroll.   
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Selecting KPIs to Track Your School’s Operations

Data dashboard, data tools, data visualization, data-driven decision making — data everything is all the rage in education. And for good reason. Timely and understandable data, appropriately used, can have an incredible impact on outcomes for kids. 

There’s little buzz, however, about data on the operational side of schools. A strong operations function is like a house’s foundation: invisible, unglamorous, but absolutely essential. The ability to accurately assess performance, target problem areas, and drive operational improvement is as critical for a school’s long-term success as great curriculum and effective pedagogy. To kick-start a data-driven approach to operations, we suggest developing an operations dashboard.

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Using Academic Data to Attack the COVID Slide

Planning for how to address the COVID slide, or even a COVID slowdown, is challenging given the undefined path of the next few months, but one thing that is certain is that data will play a more critical role than ever in efficiently and effectively planning to make up for lost time and learning. The key questions many are looking to answer – which data to use, when to collect the data, and what to do with the data. While no consensus has been reached, a number of ideas and strategies are emerging that capture how schools plan to use current and future data to attack this learning slide.

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Budget Considerations from COVID-19: LEAs’ Follow-Up Planning

On April 15, EdOps published “Budget Considerations from COVID-19,” detailing planning considerations that LEAs might apply to their contexts when budgeting for SY20-21. This post is a follow-up to share the planning efforts of specific LEAs on DC’s Deputy Mayor for Education’s Contingency Education Budget Planning Response Work Group. The intention of this post is to facilitate knowledge sharing among public charter school LEAs as they prepare their SY20-21 budgets.

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Prepare your Student Information System for the new year

A successful first day of school begins months before the first day of classes. Schools with strong data practices typically begin initial Student Information System (SIS) planning and preparation during the spring of the prior school year. A staff member or team coordinates the completion of major tasks so that the student information system is ready for use by the first day of school. We recommend this sample timeline to get you started and highlight four things that can derail these plans.

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Board Governance of Academic Performance (Part 2)

This the second of our two-part series on best practices in board governance over academic performance. Part 1 focused on the responsibilities of an academic performance committee and the importance of creating a calendar around reviews of school performance. In this post, we delve further into how strong boards review school performance, as well as common metrics and visualizations that can help boards easily understand their student performance data. A board’s goal should look for ways to understand the trends in academic performance throughout the year, not just in a once-per-year snapshot when state assessment results are published.

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Budget Considerations from COVID-19

Much is unknown about the impact or the duration of the COVID-19 crisis. In coordination with the D.C. Deputy Mayor for Education’s Contingency Education Budget Planning Response Work Group, EdOps led the development of potential revenue and expense implications the pandemic may have on local education agency (LEA) budgets. LEAs are encouraged to apply these considerations to their contexts.

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