Insights & Analysis

Education, K-12, Opinion

Understanding Enrollment Loss in Your District

Three Tools to Help Mitigate Student Migration

School districts across the country have been challenged with decreasing enrollment numbers, in part impacted by the pandemic and alternative education options that parents explored during that time. While much of that student migration was predictably temporary, schools are still closely monitoring enrollment loss and gain in order to forecast and build scenarios for the future.

With per-pupil public funding tied so inextricably to enrollment numbers, district leadership are looking for any tools at their disposal to gain a better understanding of:

  • What are the causes of enrollment loss within the district?
  • What can the district do to reverse student attrition trends?
  • How can school districts become more “magnetic,” so that student migration is resulting in more inbound student flow than outbound.

Three Ways to Monitor and Counteract Student Migration

The challenge facing administrators and superintendents is manifold. One is increasing competition from a growing number of alternatives: private schools, student choice, home schooling, virtual academies, and so on. Another is understanding the myriad factors that are impacting such enrollment loss — some seemingly obvious and others lurking below the surface. And, third, once the drivers of enrollment loss are fully and completely understood, taking measures to counter student flight, and even perhaps reverse it.

Here are three tools that educators and administrators have at their disposal in the competition to retain and attract student families in and around their district.

1 – Student Migration Map

The first step is getting a clear picture as to where student flow is going, both in and out of the district. Seeing a visualization that demonstrates enrollment trends in pictures can help administrators and educators literally and figuratively see the big picture and the all of the individual data points that tell the complete story.

A student migration visualization is an essential tool for understanding the ebbs and flows of students going in and out of your district to help manage and forecast enrollment. Our own Student Migration Map, for example, offers these tangible benefits:

  • A collection of charts and graphs that help you understand the magnitude and trends of student gains and losses and where they are attending.
  • It provides greater granularity and understanding of the patterns associated with student movement.
  • Users can quickly define what percentage of your resident students attend in-district versus out-of-district schools.
  • This allows district leadership to inform strategies to attract students back into the district.
  • It simplifies use of resident/non-residency data for ease of tracking ebbs and flows of student movement patterns.

Once you understand the trends, you can take a data-driven approach to examining and influencing the drivers of those trends.

2 – Early Warning Module

Superintendents, educators, administrators, principals and counselors are increasingly focused on gaining greater insights into the individual student, in addition to studying building-level and district-wide trends. 

How can such a granular tool help superintendents counteract certain kinds of enrollment loss? By heading their drivers off at the pass. 

Parents and families have choices when it comes to where they live and where they send their children to school. Whether evaluating districts based on school choice or sizing up whole communities to make decisions about where to move, two of the most important data points parents will look at are graduation rates and dropout rates. They intuitively understand that the better a district scores in these metrics, the more valuable the community is as a destination to live, whether they have children to educate or not, in fact.

The all-new Munetrix Early Warning Module serves as an early detection system for children potentially at risk of falling behind their peers. If early indicators of potential at-risk students can be identified earlier, they can potentially be reversed and be neutralized as drivers of dropouts — and lead to higher graduation rates.

The robust, intuitive visualization software empowers educators, administrators and counseling professionals to view the whole child behind the myriad data points:

  • Educational Performance and Progress
  • Assessment Results
  • Social Emotional Learning Benchmarking (coming soon!)
  • Demographics and Equity in Education
  • Discipline and Behavior Data
  • Attendance and Tardiness Reports
  • Student dashboard

Rather than having to log into multiple, disconnected, disparate portals, the Early Warning Module provides a singular holistic view of each student, all in one place, enabling users to connect dots, spot trends, and detect risk early on — before it’s too late to reverse course.

There are often early indicators of future enrollment loss, as well as learning loss. Attendance, behavior, social-emotional learning challenges, home-life issues, etc., are just a few. Of course, each student is an individual — not merely an anonymous data point. Having the complete picture of any one individual pupil in the district is an emerging tool in the enrollment loss reversal toolkit.

3 – Comparative Analytics

Comparative Analytics is a method of data analysis that entails comparing a district’s own data set against those of its peers. If your school or district is truly in competition with its neighbors for students, treasure and talent, peer analysis is your competitive advantage in outperforming neighboring alternatives and reversing enrollment loss in your district.

Put simply, comparative analytics refers to the process of examining your own organization’s data and performance against those of your peers and competitors to draw more informed conclusions and to make better decisions. It’s a methodology for avoiding one of the greatest perils to critical decision-making: thinking we have all of the information we need and omitting a potentially decision-changing data set.

The good news: For schools and municipalities, the performance and budgeting data for all of your competitors and benchmarked peers is publicly available. All you have to do is go find it.

One of the most informative applications of comparative analytics is to closely examine learning loss or gains in student achievement against instructional dollars invested: gains per investment. In reviewing data in districts across the U.S., we have discovered numerous instances in which increases in instructional dollars spent do not directly correlate with student achievement gains. And vice versa: some districts that boast the highest academic performance are not necessarily those spending the most on curriculum or instruction.

If you can view your own historical data and forward-looking projections against those of neighboring entities with whom you may be competing, won’t you be able to make more confident decisions and more strategic allocations of budgets, personnel, investments and resources? Anything less, and you’re making critical decisions in a vacuum.

Control the Controllable, Manage the Manageable

As in any endeavor, to be forewarned is to be forearmed. With so much access to information, it is incumbent upon all of us to see the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. May these tools help you and your district compete in the arena of enrollment, student achievement and community health.

Mike Geers is Client Partnership Manager with Munetrix, and he can be reached at

early warning module for planning intervention programs
Education, K-12, Webinars

Watch Webinar Replay: Are Your Student Warning Lights On?

Are you struggling to identify which of your students are at-risk of meeting important academic goals?

Does risk calculation take way too much of your time? Watch David Hundt, the School Improvement and State & Federal Programs Consultant at Muskegon ISD, discuss ways in which your district can increase attendance, decrease dropout rate, and take preventative actions to change the trajectory of student outcomes.

This webinar reveals how we developed the Early Warning Module with the guidance from our customers so that educators can easily understand which students need attention — when they need it.

Interested in a private demo of the Early Warning Module? Click Here


Education, K-12, Opinion

How Superintendents Can Simplify Their Tech Stacks

Getting More Done in Less Time with Fewer Tools

Noted political scientist Herbert A. Simon once observed:

“In an information-rich world, the wealth of information means a dearth of something else: a scarcity of whatever it is that information consumes. 

What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. 

Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it.”

Superintendents and other school administrators can no doubt relate. Over the last decade or more, we have gained greater access to information, have an ever-growing stack of tools and information at our disposal and yet we find ourselves so overwhelmed and overworked that we can scarcely make sense of it all…let alone leverage the insights that lurk beneath the surface, hidden from plain sight.

Each passing year or so, without really thinking about it, professionals in every sector (the public and educational included) have incrementally added a tool here, an application there, a system here, a database there. We are now at the point at which enough has become more than enough — it’s become too much.

Now the challenge has become finding ways to do more with less. The forward-thinking among our busiest superintendents are now discovering ways to combine tools, simplify the tech stack, and eliminate multiple — even redundant — tools by combining once disparate systems into more holistic, singular systems that complement each other and work in unison to achieve optimal educational outcomes.

Combine and Contract to Get More Out of Your Technology

As a school district superintendent, you are responsible for the technology that supports much more than only the learning of your students and performance of your staff. The sheer amount of technologies a given administrator must log into and assess at any given time is enormous. Student achievement reporting, learning management systems, budgeting and forecasting software, educator evaluation systems, transparency and compliance reporting, personnel management, project coordination software, school safety drill management systems, time and resource tracking, truancy and attendance, behavior and discipline. I might go on and on and still never even cover them all. This can be a daunting task, as the tech stack for a school district can be complex and ever-changing.

There are many reasons why you might want to simplify your tech stack, and only one among them is to save the obvious time and administrative burden of managing, maintaining and accessing this number of disparate technology tools. Perhaps you are also looking to save money facing budget cuts, or perhaps you want to make it easier for your staff to use the technology in a way that is more clearly and closely tied to measurements of outcomes. Maybe you are looking to improve security or compliance.

Whatever your reasons, there are a few things you can do to simplify your tech stack.

  1. First, take an inventory of all the technology that you currently use. This will help you to identify any areas where you could consolidate or eliminate systems.
  1. Second, consider your needs. What are the essential technologies that you need to support the learning of your students and staff? Once you have identified your needs, you can start to eliminate any unnecessary systems.
  1. Third, look for ways to consolidate systems. For example, you might be able to move all of your student data into a single cloud-based system — including both publicly available peer data as well as your own internal proprietary data. This will make it easier for your staff to access, analyze and leverage the data.
  1. Fourth, consider using a single platform for all of your technology needs. This can make it easier for your staff to learn and use the technology, especially during times of high staff turnover.
  1. Fifth, work with your vendors to simplify your tech stack. Many vendors offer discounts or other incentives for schools that commit to using their products for a certain period of time or the more available options/modules the user elects to activate. Purchasing more from a single vendor may actually reduce cost through the elimination of others.

By following these tips, you can simplify your tech stack and make it easier for your staff to use the technology to support the learning of your students. You will no doubt reduce the burdens of time and employee training, where monetary savings become obvious. In return, both you and your team will have more time and greater bandwidth to focus on what is most critical: elevating educational outcomes.

But that’s only the beginning of the benefit. The true upside is perhaps far less obvious.

The Hidden Benefits of Making the Invisible Visible

One of the most powerful cases for merging technology, simplifying the superintendent’s tech stack, and eliminating costly redundancies is the upshot of what this truly accomplishes. What results is more comprehensive systems that keep all of the important information and data in one location, so that the drivers of success can talk to each other, learn from each other, and be analyzed holistically.

When systems are in silos, your various data systems are keeping secrets from you — and each other. When combined, integrated and overlaid, what often results is that invisible becomes…visible.

We use the term “braiding data,” which is an apt representation of the benefit of such an approach. Individual strings of rope in the physical realm are made much more stronger when braided together than are when used separately and alone. Your data is no different. When intertwined, integrated and interdependent, your various systems become much more than a stack — they become a powerful, complete and cohesive system that honors and accounts for all drivers and outcomes of a school’s or district’s ultimate success.

The Munetrix Enterprise Edition for Schools is an example of just such braided technology that superintendents have at their disposal. The system is a comprehensive, all-in-one solution for school districts looking to create a district-wide culture of community through trust, teamwork and transparency. From financials and transparency compliance to planning and progress reporting, the Munetrix Financial Module features easy-to-adopt and easy-to-use modules that facilitate simpler and more robust forecasting, capital planning and performance management. 

Offered in conjunction with the Munetrix Academic Module, the product offers a comprehensive suite of powerful, interdependent solutions for the whole district, as well as the whole student—taking multi-level, complex data sets and making them simple to understand, report and act upon. The Academic Module provides a full suite of tools single tool that gives superintendents and educators the ability to accelerate academic outcomes and effectively educate and monitor the progress of “the whole student”—academically, emotionally, socially, demographically, and socio-economically—all with a single, easy-to-use interface.

Specific modules address the complete range of a district’s departmental operations, including tools for performance analytics, data visualization, business and process workflows, fiscal wellness, and compliance reporting. Maximizing the product’s interoperability by integrating with a district’s existing systems, the product enables users to quickly and easily harvest and contextualize publicly available data and privately generated data in one powerful combination. 

Users at any level of financial proficiency can use the system to create linear regression budgets in a matter of minutes, as well as multi-year forecasts with multiple scenarios, to assess potential outlooks and plan for the future. Human resources teams can generate multiple reports to better understand performance, staffing trends and costs related to salary and benefits. The system also empowers administrators to compare enrollment trends against staffing trends to easily visualize operational and budgetary status/forecasts. 

Easy-to-use interpretive charts and graphs help policy makers understand the true picture and help auditors in the preparation of “supplemental” reports. 

Best of all, users are able to quickly transform multi-level complex data sets into easy-to-comprehend visualizations in order to provide consistent, relevant and actionable data to stakeholders—leading to greater transparency and collaboration across the district and entire community it serves.

The product saves superintendents hundreds of hours per year, otherwise spent on collecting, aggregating, disaggregating and analyzing data by more traditional methods such as spreadsheets, Google forms, Word documents, etc., stored in multiple, disparate locations, where they are difficult to sort, search and cross-analyze. 

The Munetrix Enterprise Edition for Schools provides schools a unique, holistic platform that empowers districts to analyze all of their data with a single log-in and destination, supporting horizontal succession planning, building institutional knowledge, and facilitating workflow management. 

More transparency. More teamwork and collaboration. Less with more…that is what the modern tech stack looks like for superintendents.Want help simplifying your superintendent tech stack? Contact us for a custom demo of the Munetrix Enterprise Edition for Schools.

Education, K-12, News, Press Releases

Munetrix Announces Release of Early Warning Module for School Districts

Offered as a extension to the set of tools in the company’s Academic Module, the Early Warning Module empowers Curriculum Directors, Education Specialists, Student Services Personnel, Data Coaches, Counselors, and Teachers​ to identify and support at-risk students early, so that potential obstacles to student achievement can be intervened and mitigated as early as possible.

Fiscal Health, Municipal, Webinars

Watch Webinar Replay: Budgeting/ Forecasting for Inflation

Save your municipality time, reduce workload, and get tips on how to effectively plan your budgets!

Watch Kevin Smith, a veteran with over 25 years in municipal government and finance, as he shares strategies for effectively navigating current budgeting challenges. Learn how our Municipal System can help municipalities effectively and efficiently plan their budgets for the next fiscal year while addressing the effects the inflation can and will have to your budget.

Watch the replay of our recent Webinar to learn tools and techniques to do budget planning and forecasting with greater confidence…even in these inflationary times!

Fiscal Health, Municipal, Webinars

Watch Webinar Replay: What’s New in Neighborhood Intel

Insights and Visualizations You’ve Never Seen Before!

The Neighborhood Intel Parcel Analyzer provides a variety of features to help multiple departments across the community quickly and easily analyze data in geospatial visualizations. Watch this video for a basic overview of the Neighborhood Intel Parcel Analyzer system and highlights of new features recently added.

Watch the replay of our recent Webinar to see how our Neighborhood Intel can power your community data and give you visualization insights you haven’t seen before.

Education, K-12, Opinion

Reversing Learning Loss: By District, By School, By Student

There is a unique challenge when it comes to addressing the causes of learning loss for the stakeholders looking to reverse the recent trends identified in the Nation’s Report Card and other assessment reports.

Superintendents are charged with overseeing and managing achievement — as well as budgeting, personnel, and a whole host of administrative responsibilities. But ask superintendents what motivates their day-to-day career objectives and they will tell you about the students they see in each and every building within their district. They know them by name. They can probably tell you who their teachers are. They are sources of both pride and legitimate concern. They are, after all, real people…not merely data points on a spreadsheet.

What’s required now is a truly collaborative and cooperative effort to stop learning loss in its tracks, reverse declining assessment scores in reading, mathematics and other subjects, and get student achievement back to pre-pandemic levels and beyond.

Fiscal Health, K-12, Opinion, Uncategorized

Better Data Makes Better Budgets

As we enter budgeting season, finance directors, superintendents and other administrators are facing dilemmas and difficult decisions. Whether trying to prioritize the allocation of stimulus or other surplus funds, or processing the challenging demands of budget cuts, it’s decision time.

The problem we see is many administrators are forced to make difficult decisions with limited data and incomplete information. As we will illustrate, placing unnecessary blinders on your budgeting can lead to incorrect conclusions and potentially misplaced allocations of resources.

Education, K-12, Webinars

Watch Webinar Replay: School Transparency Reporting Made Easy

31a “At-Risk” Reporting Made Easy — in Minutes, not Hours!

The 31a “At-Risk” reporting process can be daunting. Districts frequently use handwritten forms, spreadsheets or Google sheets to collect the information and involve several personnel across the district — principals, secretaries, counselors, social workers, and teachers — to manually identify students who meet at least one of the 13 eligibility criteria and/or which programs and services these students are receiving. And this process must be done at least three times per year! This requires several hours of time from individuals, let alone cumulatively across the district it can require hundreds of hours.

Watch the replay of our recent Webinar to learn how the Munetix 31a Toolkit automates the eligibility, programs, and services reporting processes so entire process can be done in minutes — not hours!


Education, K-12, Opinion

How to Align Curriculum and Student Achievement Data to Achieve True Equity in Education

As Michigan curriculum professionals, educators and assessment administrators gather for the annual Michigan School Testing Conference (MSTC), achievement data and equity in education are back in the spotlight. Learn how curriculum can combine with power of academic performance analytics to improve assessment scores, close achievement gaps, and foster equity in education.

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