Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Riverview Gardens School District Solves Enrollment Imbalance

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Riverview Gardens School District Solves Enrollment Imbalance

Article excerpt

Riverview Gardens is a typical Midwestern school district. Serving a northern suburb of St Louis, Mo., the district has just over 7,100 students in 12 schools (nine kindergarten through grade, 6, two middle and a high school).

For the district administrators and the school board, the abnormally high level of student mobility within the district was a major challenge. It produced an uneven and unpredictable distribution of students at various grade levels across the district and, consequently, difficulty providing adequate teaching resources.

"We used to find," says Cheryl Van Noy, the district's management information systems coordinator, "that by the time the enrollment dust had settled -- in our case usually some time in October -- one school's grade 4 could have as many as 40 students, while at another school grade 4 would have only 16 or 17." For the district, that meant scrambling to hire teaching staff at the last minute. "The quality of teachers available in October tends to be much different from that of those hired in April or May," Van Noy points out.

Balanced Enrollment

To address, the problem, the board and district administration settled on a policy of balanced enrollment. Starting in September 1999, all grades K through 2 were limited to art enrollment of 23 children, grades 3 and 4 would have 25 and grades 5 and 6 would enjoy a 26 to one student/teacher ratio.

The key to managing this balanced enrollment lay in having; clear visibility of the day-to-day registration and enrollment. situation across the district. Riverview Garden District was in a good position to accomplish this. In 1997 they had implemented Chancery Software's site-based student information system, Mac School, in all their buildings.

Using this as a springboard, Riverview Gardens purchased Chancery's district solution, Open District, in April 1999 and implemented it over the summer in time for the start of the school year.

Tremendous Difference

Open District consolidates all the student data gathered in the Mac School database at each of the schools, including student demographics, daily attendance, family contact information, grades and so forth, in the central office Open District database.

The information moves automatically over the district's high-speed T1 network to the central database on a daily basis. In the process, the system enables district MIS staff to scrub the data, eliminating duplicate records, rationalizing conflicts and accomplishing a very high degree of accuracy. …

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