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May 102010

Using Data To Drive the  NPS Budget Process and Improve Our Academic Performance


These challenging economic times that we face are unlikely to disappear anytime soon.  In fact, this may become our new reality, both in Norwalk and throughout the US.

Since the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Law passed in 2001, educators have been forced to adopt methodologies and to work to specific metrics related to the testing and collection of student data.  Standardized tests like the CMT (Connecticut Mastery Test) for 3rd-8th grades and the CAPT (Connecticut Academic Performance Test) administered in 9th grade, have been designed to capture student achievement and progress in the areas of math, science, reading and writing.  These tests must function across ALL student demographic groups, in order to ensure adequate progress for all students regardless of socio-economic conditions, gender or race.

Teachers and administrators in the Norwalk Public School District have been working hard at raising student achievement levels, and have been recognized by the state of Connecticut for their efforts.  However, the gap in leadership over the past couple of years has taken its toll on the Norwalk Public School District’s operations.  This has made the budget cycles over the past several years incredibly painful for ALL parties concerned.

So what other benchmark data exists (besides student data)?  Is there data that could be collected and shared with members of the B.O.E. (Board of Education) and/or parent community (if appropriate) that could help the distributed system of educational leadership make better and more informed choices and decisions for improving the academic performance of the children of Norwalk? Could the collection of additional operational data  help the district better manage its finances, facilities and staff of administrators, teachers, clerical and  auxiliary staff?

Below is a sample grocery list of possible management metrics that could be useful in helping the district leadership better manage the district’s finances.  This data can also drive both adult and ultimately student actions and achievement.

Which benchmarking metrics do you think would be helpful?  Are there metrics that are missing?  Let us know what you think?  This information IS being shared with the Superintendent’s Office and members of the Board of Education.

R. Ed.  A.P.P.L.E.S. of Norwalk is committed to gathering this type of data in an effort to drive the educational change and reform necessary to have the children of Norwalk succeed.  Thanks to those of you who have already submitted your incredibly valuable input!

Overall Fiscal Accountability and User Satisfaction

  • CT  CMTs and NCLB statistics for Norwalk
  • NPS Tax dollars as a % of the City Budget (historical figures as well)
  • NPS Tax dollars  amount spent per pupil  (historical figures as well, adjusted for inflation)

NPS School Climate Metrics

  • Parent and/or Student  satisfaction survey formulated by PTO input from each school
  • Employee 360 degree survey formulated by an independent consultant

Parental and Community Involvement Data

  • Estimated parent and community volunteers in NPS school district for fundraising,  committees, tutor/mentoring , social events in Norwalk
  • % of parent and/or PTC participation by school with historical data going forward
  • Amount of grant money that Norwalk applies for versus available grants in dollars, as well as number of grants (historical data, and dollars adjusted for inflation)
  • School climate satisfaction survey for parents

Administrator Historical Data

  • Number of school administrators (Principals and Asst principals)
  • Ratio of administration to teachers
  • Average number of years service of administration in  elementary, middle and high school
  • Number of central office staff  and average years service
  • Number of teacher’s aides/specialists by school

Student Historical Data

  • Total number of students by elementary, middle and high school
  • Aggregate CMT and CAP data by school
  • % of students in district  that attend and stay in school district  graduating  in Grade 12
  • Number of AT students in elementary and middle school
  • Number of minorities in AT in elementary and middle school
  • Number of students in AT classes that participate in AP classes in high school
  • Number of students that were not in AT in middle school and participate in AP classes in high school
  • Number of students tuition-ed out of the district
  • Number of out of district students
  • Number of student law suits by school
  • Number of in –school suspensions by school
  • Number of students that leave district between elementary and middle school
  • Number of students entering a particular program in 3rd grade (ie  AT or  Strings 3rd grade students) versus  number  in 5th grade or into middle school
  • Attrition rate of programs
  • Growth rate of new programs or desired programs (i.e.  Middle school Chinese)
  • Attendance of students by school and grade
  • School climate satisfaction survey for students
  • % of minorities or subsidized lunch students in AT
  • # of GOAL or ADVANCED minority students that leave the school district for private school
  • # of children in at BELOW BASIC, BASIC or PROFICIENT GOAL and ADVANCED that are enrolled in after school programs

Teacher Data

  • Number of teachers in the district
  • Breakdown by elementary, middle and high school
  • Teacher absence data
  • Teacher turnover
  • Number of teacher disputes
  • Average teacher salary
  • # of teacher disputes
    • By school
    • Teacher turnover in district
      • Reason for turnover
      • By school
      • % above average
      • % below average
      • % of teachers with exceptional rating
      • % of teacher with average rating