Crowdsourcing: enrollment projection

Just curious, for you myriad readers. 🙂 How would you suggest, if were so inclined, to go about producing an “open source” method of accurately projecting Unit 4 enrollment? Let’s just say we allow 5% error for right now. This method would need to depend on publicly available and “easy to obtain” sources. For instance, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) will release birth stats to anyone, but that data will be about 4-5 years old. If you want current data, you have to be a researcher and/or have a signed note from God. But let us start with the general pieces of information we need. What variables do we need to consider, and what weight shall they have?

 

Obviously, local birth rates are a large component to kindergarten enrollment. I am trying to obtain kindergarten enrollment data for the past 20-30 years to see to what degree new housing construction correlates. Right now all I have is total school enrollment, and the new housing construction only correlates to a degree of 24%, which is really low. Enrollment data from other local providers would play a role as well (private schools, home schooling, neighboring school districts, etc). Mobility is a factor, people moving in to and out of the Unit 4 area. But how much does that really matter?

 

Right now, Executive Director of Business Services Matt Foster is tasked with gathering data and making yearly projections. I have traded a few emails with Mr. Foster and have learned that the Wohlers-Gardner Enrollment Projection System is no longer in use because the software is so old it does not run on any current computers; apparently, the old one they had for that very reason was decommissioned. We also chatted about the IDPH after my initial attempts to obtain birth stats. Our most recent conversation was about correlating enrollment to housing construction, hence where I learned about the 24% number. I know Mr. Foster has a ton of things on his plate, which got me to thinking, what if we in the community could come up with a sustainable way to reliably predict enrollment? Note, I do not speak for Unit 4 or Mr. Foster in any sense, and I am not asking on their behalf. I am genuinely asking on my own behalf.

 

What do you think? What would we need to make this happen?

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