Increasing Student Enrollment Part 1

In the state of Texas, K-12 public and private schools have experienced a steady growth in student enrollment for the past several years.
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Cynthia Joffrion


July 24, 2010 - PRLog -- Introduction
      Instructional programs, facility capacity, staffing, and availability of funding are factors that influence a school systems future success.  The United States Department of Education’s, No Child Left Behind Act has focused attention on student achievement scores and school accountability. (2004) In order to increase student achievement scores, school systems must provide students with the adequate instructional tools to learn.  As student enrollment increases it has become increasingly difficult to provide enough tools and certified teachers to accommodate the student enrollment increases. Budgetary factors are the predominate influence in preventing school systems from addressing the issue.
      K-12 public and private schools in Texas have experienced a steady growth in student enrollment for the past several years.  The continued increase in enrollment for K-12 schools is predicted to increase significantly in the next 10 years.  Providing a solution means that school systems must begin strategic planning process to address the enrollment increase.  To complicate the planning process state and federal funds are decreasing. Therefore, school systems must have a strong strategic plan in place that addresses increased enrollment while maximizing programs and strategies that provide low cost solutions.   In cases where a strategic plan and funding is not available school systems are making up for the deficients by overcrowding classrooms, hiring non-qualified teaching staff, and using outdated textbooks.  
      The purpose of this paper is to analysis information on student enrollment and research finding to outline past, current and future trends. Using trend extrapolation factors this paper outlines the principle of using Distance Education as a cost effective solution to offset the vvldt conditions imposed by increasing enrollment.  Trend extrapolation is a tool that provides a reasonably clear picture of where an organization is headed and what might be done about it, particularly in the near future. (Alexander, 1999)   The main concept that is developed from analyzing information is that trends must be reviewed in order to accomplish completing a successful strategic plan.  Alexander and Serfass outline planning strategies that can be useful in analyzing the issues and planning for needed changes.  (1999)   The trend extrapolation process
is comprised of eight sequential steps. Figure I outlines the process.
Figure 1

   Step 1: Select the Appropriate Team
   Step 2: Identify Baseline Trends
   Step 3:Complete a Trendmap of the Organization
   Step 4: Conduct Environmental Scan
   Step 5: Extrapolate Trends
   Step 6: Analyze Cause-Effect Relationships
   Step 7: Determine Future Threats and Opportunities
   Step 8: Prepare the Forecast

Selection of the Appropriate Team
   The most affective teams members for a  successful trend extrapolation study would contain members representative of all stakeholder groups.  The team would be responsible for analyzing trend data and then applying the information to developing a strategic plan and vision.  The trend extrapolation study will provide information that will prepare the team to prepare a strategic plan equal to foreseeable challenges. Table 1 outline the team members and provides a justification for selection.

Table 1
Team Member   
Justification for selection
1. Distance education will have to have board approval it is important that they are represented on the exploration team.
2. School and district administrators are key to providing resources and interventions to successful implement a distance-learning program.
3. Vendors   Vendors can provide partnerships with school districts not only to provide equipment but they can also provide value add services. For example, they could provide staff development at no cost.
4. Parents   Many schools have advisory teams that have parents as members. Parents can give value input related to the learning needs of students.
5. Students   Many times we under estimate what our students can do. I think that the students can play a valuable role in successfully implementing a new distance education program.
6.Teachers can provide input as to what types of instructional methods are successful.
7. Community Members   Community members have a vested interest in the success of the local schools.
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