Webster Pacific has developed an expertise in the business of education, working for several clients, including a national operator of charter schools, an international private school, and clients in the traditional public school space. We’ve helped our clients: find new school sites, maintain the facilities of their existing schools, improve their admissions and marketing systems, visualize student data, evaluate the state of their business and technology systems, and develop new funding strategies.

CASE STUDIES

Assessment Dashboard

Question: How can we measure our students’ learning progress?

Approach: Webster Pacific helped an educational client build an assessment model to measure student’s skill development. The client wanted to identify progress at two different levels: the individual student’s progress to be used by teachers, and the classroom and school-wide progress to be used by administrators. We began by interviewing the users (teachers, administrators, and executives) to determine data pain points, set granularity levels, and develop use cases. Using these interview results, we designed a data architecture and prototype visualizations. We trained all teachers and administrators and provided supporting documentation.

Result: Teachers, administrators, and executives can efficiently assess all students individually and against their peers.

Increasing Enrollment

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Enrollment Location Qualifying Students and Competition_v1

Question: Where should we, as a private school, focus our efforts in order to increase enrollment?

Approach: 

  1. In which neighborhoods do our current students live?
  2. How many qualifying students live in each of these neighborhoods?
  3. How much competition is applicable to each of these surrounding neighborhoods?

Result: Webster Pacific uses analytics to answer the above questions and estimate which neighborhoods have the most opportunity for increasing enrollment.

Career-Based Learning Market Analysis

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Question: Throughout public 9th-12th grade education in California, what is the market potential for career-based learning, in terms of funding and enrollment?

Approach: The client, a technical service provider, asked Webster Pacific to estimate the current size of career-based learning and the potential for growth.  Webster Pacific studied existing research on career-based learning in grade 9-12 environments, built a projection model, and conducted an online survey and interviews.  The projection model included every district in California and calculated current and future career-based learning enrollment. Contributing elements to the model included: current district funding and LCAP projections, district career-based learning convention attendance by year, and enrollment projections. We also incorporated unstructured data with interviews from 15 public school districts, along with a survey of district leadership across California. Combined, these elements helped us to better understand intent for career-based learning growth.

Result: Webster Pacific estimated that in 2020, there would be 385 districts in California with some career-based education, which is sharp increase from the 214 districts today.  Also, we discovered that to date, career-based education is implemented primarily in the largest districts of California, which implies there is potential for growth in districts with medium-to-low enrollment.  These findings educated our client on market potential and suggested a strategy for targeting districts to introduce or grow career based learning programs.

Public School District Funding

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Question: How do we increase per-pupil funding for a rural school district?

Approach: The client, a rural, public school district in Colorado, commissioned Webster Pacific to understand whether and how they increase revenues. Through an iterative process, we benchmarked financial strategy against other school districts with similar enrollment, population density, and academic success to gain insight into their financial efficiency and funding-generation. We also carefully studied the financial statements of the district, as well as the various possible processes, such as a mill levy override, that could be used to increase revenues.  

Result: While revenues come from many sources, we found that the mill levy override, because of the vast oil and gas wealth of the county, was by far the most efficient source of revenue generation. A gain of 23% in per pupil funding could be achieved with the residents paying about 3% of the total cost or less than $25/year for the typical taxpayer.

Charter School Admissions Systems

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Question: How can we improve the financial sustainability of our admissions and enrollment systems?

Approach: Webster Pacific performed a detailed business process analysis, from application through enrollment for a charter school client. We created a robust Excel model that analyzed the client’s admissions system incorporating applications, acceptances, enrollments, and withdrawals by division and grade.

Result: Webster Pacific’s work helped the client visualize the admissions and enrollment process and understand why they had an excess of students on their waitlist, even though their schools had excess capacity. By systematically taking applicants off the wait list for particular schools and particular grades, the client was able to increase capacity utilization by approximately 1%, a change worth over $3 million per year.

Private School Technology System Review

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Question: What are the existing business processes and technology systems in a private school and how should we prioritize our efforts to improve them?

Approach: Webster Pacific conducted an organization-wide review of business processes and technology systems as well as corresponding pain points. A comprehensive model of activities, processes, and technology tools was created and socialized amongst the various leaders of the school.

Result: Webster Pacific’s work helped create organizational clarity about the current status of processes and systems and, more importantly, align the organization around priorities going forward.

Gentrification Study

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Question: How much would a neighborhood have to gentrify to make its location become an attractive site for a private school?

Approach: Webster Pacific researched gentrification through historic wealth and demographic data in a large American city. Using data estimates for the years 2000, 2015 and 2020, we estimated both historical and projected gentrification. We developed a metric calculating the neighborhood wealth and population growth necessary for demand to become sufficient for locating a site in a particular neighborhood.

Result: Webster Pacific’s forecasts gave the client confidence to understand whether particular locations would become sufficiently enrolled in accordance with their school opening plans.