Every US school district is required to submit regular reports to their state in order to secure funding. These reports contain a wide variety of information, including student enrollment, staffing, expenses, special programs and activities, and much more.
State reporting isn’t easy. Schools collect thousands of data points in a given day, and many states require districts to submit reports several times each year. With so much work to do and information to process, many school districts employ dedicated staff (often with the title of Data Coordinator) to make sure all information submitted to their state is complete and accurate.
Here are three pieces of advice we’ve learned at jmc after decades of helping districts meet their state reporting responsibilities:
Manage your student roster throughout the year. If data doesn’t exist in a school’s information system, it doesn’t get reported. And unreported data doesn’t receive funding. To keep up with the many enrollment changes that can occur in the average school, it’s helpful to manage students’ enrollment throughout the year rather than letting the work pile up. (jmc users, you can do this using the add, drop, and reenter options in jmc Office, which you can learn more about in the attendance section of our help center.)
Use an integrated data system. While schools collect lots of different data from across their communities, states want to receive district information in discrete, unified reports, often with complex formatting requirements. This is why it’s challenging to have lots of different systems and processes for collecting information across a district. To combat this problem, many schools and districts have moved away from spreadsheets and other ad hoc data collection methods toward integrated student information systems (SIS). An SIS specifically designed for K-12 schools can share information with your other edtech tools so information only has to be entered once, significantly reducing the likelihood of data entry errors.
Rely on your SIS provider’s resources and relationships. If your school or district works with an SIS provider, they may have state reporting specialists working on staff. For example, jmc client services specialists develop close relationships with state agencies throughout the Midwest to ensure our team—and our software—is always up to date on the latest requirements. We also hold interactive webinars and lunch and learn sessions on state reporting to keep our users informed. Check with your SIS provider to find out if they offer similar resources.
Share Your Thoughts
What are your best tips for state reporting? How do you make the process easier or less stressful in your district? Feel free to share in the comments section below.
Working with an SIS provider is a great way to streamline your state reporting efforts and ensure that your data is being stored and shared securely. To learn more about jmc’s solutions and state reporting capabilities, schedule a no-obligation demo today.