Set Expectations Early, Collect Data Continuously

from Nichole Schweitzer
Principal of Wisconsin Connections Academy As a public charter school we have to adhere to our local district and state education requirements. Daily attendance, state standardized tests, and adequate yearly progress are examples of some of the student information that we need to track. The role parents play in providing this data is critical, so setting the ground rules early in the game is essential especially since many of our students are from a home-schooling environment, and the transition to a public school and interaction with licensed educators will be new to these parents. Wisconsin Connections Academy has a two-pronged approach in our efforts to facilitate both the data collection and the relationship building: 1.) We set the expectation from the very beginning by providing an overview for the parents, including a timeline of important school deadlines and eventsand 2.) We automate as much of the data collection as possible, including an online attendance system and daily tracking of academic progression. It’s important to give enough structure and guidelines to parents, and through these efforts we start off the relationship with our parents on the best possible footing, setting the right tone for a successful partnership.