Student mobility, the term for student transfers between schools or districts, is a common occurrence. With more than 56 million students in US schools, there are hundreds of thousands of transfers every year.
When a student moves between schools, information can get lost in the transfer. Paper files sometimes get lost in the mail, digital files are sent too late and student behavioral risks can go unchecked.
Case management software helps school districts handle student mobility by providing the tools to share pertinent conduct information, identify vulnerable students, eliminate blind spots and comply with FERPA requirements.
P.S.: Read our eBook to learn how school districts are using case management software to keep their students, staff and schools safe.
School and Student Mobility
Sometimes called student “churn” or “transience,” transfers can be either voluntary or involuntary. Moving homes, for example, is a voluntary move. Getting expelled is involuntary. Natural transitions, like the move from middle to high school, are not counted toward student mobility.
How Common Is It?
Statistics on student mobility differ based on the demographics of the school. Elementary schools typically see higher churn. Communities where families rent their homes see higher churn. Schools with a disproportionate number of poor or black families see higher churn.
A report by the National Academy of Sciences found that schools in poorer areas have seen more than half of students turn over in a single school year. A study of elementary schools in Detroit found that one in three students changed schools every year.
Mobility rates in poorer urban areas are frighteningly high and rising.
Consequences of Churn
With millions of students nationwide, there’s always a new student in class. Studies have proven that even normal transitions, such as from middle to high school, may cause students to stumble.
Transferring between schools and being the “new kid” is stressful not only for the student but also for the teachers and the other students from both schools.
Consequences for the Student
A study of 13,000 Chicago students found that transferring schools four or more times in elementary school caused them to fall an entire year behind their classmates.
Students with high mobility receive poorer grades in reading and math. One study concluded that students lose approximately three months of reading and math learning every time they transfer. The harm is worse for younger students.
These individuals are also at higher risk of dropping out of school. In fact, even one move raises the risk of graduating late or not at all. High churn results in a loss of relationships and support systems, which might exacerbate the academic trouble that sometimes comes from changing schools.
Consequences for Everyone Else
The transferred student is not the only one to feel the consequences of a move. Schools with high churn have higher percentages of students with disabilities and fewer students in gifted education programs.
Teachers find it difficult to carry out their work when students transfer into their class mid-semester and mid-unit. School personnel, such as administrators, counselors and course schedulers, must fill out paperwork and help the new student settle in.
Student transfers, whether they occur in September or December, increase the “chaos factor” at schools.
If You Can’t Prevent It, Manage It
Student churn is a natural part of life. New jobs, new homes and new responsibilities come up for adults every day and, with them, the need for students to transfer schools. The best way to deal with this reality is to reduce its risks.
Case management software buffers the negative results of student mobility. Districts that use software to manage student mobility find it easier to eliminate information silos, keep track of student data, identify vulnerable students and comply with privacy laws.
Identify Vulnerable Students
Better information transfer between schools makes it easier to identify and track vulnerable students. With paper records or local files, schools run the risk of losing a student’s behavioral information when they transfer.
School district-wide case management software also streamlines communications so that risks don’t go unchecked. Sometimes, paper files can take weeks or months to be sent over, during which time school administrators and teachers may be missing critical information.
Eliminate Information Silos
When using enterprise case management software such as i-Sight, every school in the district has access to the same platform and pre-approved data sets. This way, when a student transfers between schools their conduct history follows them.
Better student data transfer eliminates the debilitating information silos that occur, particularly in high-churn schools. It also eliminates duplication of effort since school administrators won’t need to follow up with past principals or fill out an entire record for new students.
Comply with FERPA
Configurable to the needs of K-12 school districts, case management software stores student information in a way that complies with FERPA rules. All data is stored in a secure database that protects student privacy. Role-based access protects student privacy and keeps sensitive information accessible only to authorized users.
With all information stored safely in one place, case management software ensures secure, compliant and efficient student transfers.