The Importance of Resident Based Research Especially This Fall

Our firm is preparing for a new year of student forecasting, development research, rezoning and GIS support as client districts are preparing for opening during the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic is on everyone’s mind with questions of how they are going to help get the kids up and running for the new school year. During recent conversations, clients have mentioned the disappearance of students this spring and in this fall’s registration. One client mentioned a 10% loss over last year’s state reported count (average daily attendance). Our answer, we know where the students live and can help you understand these impacts of the student loss.No alt text provided for this image

Knowing where students live is more important now as districts try to juggle the new reality of distance, hybrid, and tradition classroom learning. A district with annual enrollment snapshots (fall state reported files) can use geographic information systems (GIS) to geocode each student record. Knowing where each enrolled student lives NOW compared to last year can help direct resources towards neighborhoods in need for connectivity (Internet Access Map

Typically, K-12 district administrators focus on school enrollment for staffing and budgetary needs. However, this method is inadequate for Covid-19 response reopening in most school districts because the location of the students is not taken into consideration. A school’s enrollment can fluctuate annually. This is due to variables in the curriculum, program changes, school administration, and open enrollment policies BUT NOW enrollment shifts to online charter and private school alternatives are adding to re-opening uncertainties.

Resident based research combine historic student population counts, past and present demographic characteristics, and planned residential development to forecast future student population at small aggregates called Study Areas. Resident numbers are based on where students reside and where they are assigned to attend school. Resident results use the location of where the students reside, as opposed to their school of enrollment. Resulting analysis can be provided in an Attendance Matrix and a comparative analysis with prior year student records can help identify outliers in the student population; helping administrators focus on areas of need.