Demographic Data and Recruitment and Retention Plans: Webinars June 23 and 30- Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Massachusetts Charter Schools

Demographic Data and Recruitment and Retention Plans: Webinars June 23 and 30

To:Charter School Leaders, Special Education Directors and Board Chairs
From:Cliff Chuang, Associate Commissioner and the Access and Equity team
Date:June 19, 2014


Ahead of your school's annual report submission on August 1st, the Office of Charter Schools and School Redesign (OCSSR) wanted to provide some clarifying information about the review of recruitment and retention plans. The review will focus on several criteria, including:

  • completeness (includes narrative reports on implementation of both recruitment and retention plans for last year, and unique strategies for each subgroup);
  • the comparability of demographics, based on data;
  • the use of accurate data for enrollment and attrition/retention goals, and
  • whether the school has included enhanced strategies for any subgroups for which enrollment is below comparison schools.

School staff who are involved in development of a charter school's recruitment and retention plan are invited to participate in webinars regarding these plans on June 23rd or June 30th. Interested persons may register at Charter School Recruitment and Retention Webinar.

In order to have a standard measure of comparability, the Department created the Charter Analysis and Review Tool (CHART) to examine student demographics, including enrollment and attrition. In CHART, a charter school is graphed against: comparable schools in its region; the median and first quartile of the comparison schools in its region; and the state average. For enrollment demographics, a statistically-derived "comparison index" (CI) is also graphed to provide a comparison figure that accounts for the charter school's size, grade levels served, and fluctuations in student populations that yield natural variation in school-level enrollment figures. The CI in CHART is designed to illustrate whether subgroup enrollment for each charter school is or is not comparable to a set of comparison schools.

In its review of recruitment and retention plans, the OCSSR plans to use CHART data to determine comparability of enrollment for three subgroups of students: students with disabilities, English language learners, and students from low income families. Specifically, OCSSR will begin to use the comparison index (CI) in review of recruitment and retention plans incorporated within each school's 2014 Annual Report. The OCSSR encourages each charter school to use CHART and the CI as it creates its Recruitment and Retention plan to determine for which of three subgroups (English language learners, students with disabilities, and low income) the school is enrolling a comparable student population, and for which subgroups it may need to enhance recruitment and retention strategies.

The tables below illustrate how the OCSSR will use CHART data in its review of recruitment and retention plans. The data will be used to place schools in one of three categories for each subgroup. A school with CHART enrollment or attrition data that places it in "red" will be subjected to a higher level of plan review and will be required to revise its recruitment and retention plan to include enhanced strategies. A school with CHART enrollment or attrition data that places it in "yellow" will be subjected to a higher level of plan review and may be required to revise its plan.

Rating Criteria: Enrollments
(Limited English Proficient, Students with Disabilities, Low Income)
high level of R&R plan review
moderate level of R&R plan review
low level of R&R plan review
Below the first quartile for targeted subgroups in comparison schools Above or equal to the first quartile, below the comparison index Above or qual to the comparison index OR Above or equal to the school's Gap Narrowing Target (GNT).

Please note that the statute specifies that the school establish recruitment and retention strategies for both free lunch and reduced price lunch subgroups and not a "low income" subgroup. Generally the strategies for both groups are similar, but in some cases a greater focus on the lowest income group is needed. The CI provided in CHART provides data only for the low income subgroup (combining free and reduced lunch); in most cases schools with a "green" rating for the low income group will also be comparable for the free lunch and reduced prices subgroups.

Gap Narrowing Target (GNT): A charter school may receive a green rating for enrollment in one of the subgroups even when the enrollment of a subgroup is below the comparison index IF the trend in enrollment shows incremental increases sufficient to meet their Gap Narrowing Target (GNT). The GNT refers to the halfway point between the school's baseline rate (which is the rate in the 2010-11 school year, or the first year enrollment data is collected if after 2010-11), and the current CI (the "target"). The object is to meet this halfway point by the 2016-17 school year (or in a later year if baseline is after 2010-11), giving the school six years to do so. For a school to be on schedule to meet its GNT, an incremental increase must be met annually.

Attrition Rate.
(To be used when calculating school's retention rate)
RedYellow Green
Equal to or above the third quartile of comparison schools Between the second and third quartile for the comparison schools (equal to or above the median) Below the median

If you have any questions about CHART, the comparison index (CI) or your school's Gap Narrowing Target (GNT) please contact James DiMaio or Joanna Laghetto. If you have questions on the development of your school's recruitment and retention plan, please contact Jane Haltiwanger or Ellie Rounds.

Last Updated: June 19, 2014

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