Families & Communities

How is Your School Doing

Schools, families and communities working together have the capacity to craft and carry out effective solutions that will make a difference for students. It’s important to know how your neighborhood public schools are doing in order to focus your actions to have the most impact. There are several ways to do this. You can research information online (see below). You can enlist a volunteer or workgroup in your community to gather data or hire a consultant.

IDRA OurSchool Data Portal for Texas
IDRA’s OurSchool portal is unlike other web-based school datasets. Designed around IDRA’s Quality Schools Action Framework,™ the portal helps educators and community members find out how well their high school campus is preparing and graduating students, what factors may be weakening school holding power, and what they can do together to address them. First developed by IDRA in 2004-05, to inform a series of regional conversations in Texas on the high school dropout issue and graduation, the portal has been central to school-family-community conversations across the state.

Video Introduction to the IDRA OurSchool Portal
The IDRA OurSchool portal is designed to help you – educators and community members – find out how well your high school campus is preparing and graduating students, what factors may be weakening school holding power, and what you can do together to address them. [02:16 min]

Fair Funding Now! for Texas Education
In 2011, the Texas legislature cut education funding for the first time in four decades. Instead of ending funding disparities, they walked away – pushing millions of Texas children aside. But communities across the state are taking action to make sure that schools are equipped to guarantee that all children graduate ready for college and career. Get tools, handouts, news and more resources at IDRA’s Courageous Connections – Fair Funding Now! website.

See Maps of Texas Education Funding Cuts
Find out the level of school funding cuts across school districts and for every county in Texas.

See How Much Money Your District is Losing Due to State Funding Cuts
Visit IDRA’s OurSchool Data Portal to see funding information and compare school districts and find out how your high school is doing academically. (Simple, free registration is required.) The site is also available in Spanish.

Video Clips Give Quick Overview of Texas’ School Funding System
You don’t have to understand how an engine works to drive a car. And you don’t have to be a lawyer to push for fair funding. But it is in everyone’s interest that we have schools that are excellent and equitably funded. Here are brief easy-to-understand presentations that give an overview of Texas ’ school funding system. Topics include: Why fair funding depends on our state, how your schools are funded; how your property taxes are calculated; and how the current system promotes equity.

Parents Using Data to Improve Schools – IDRA Classnotes Podcast Episode 92
Anne Foster, executive director of Parents for Public Schools, describes how PPS is training parents to interpret data and to better understand how schools and school boards function. She gives examples of transformations that have occurred as a result.

Communities Using Data to Improve their Schools – IDRA Classnotes Podcast Episode 35
Anna Alicia Romero and Hector Bojorquez describe components of IDRA’s School Holding Power Portal, challenges families and others face in accessing useful data, and how communities are using data to improve their schools.

Partners and Catalysts – How Communities Are Putting Data to Work to Improve Education
In this IDRA Newsletter article, Laurie Posner, MPA, shares examples of how, with key partnerships and the power of “actionable knowledge,” people around the country are bridging school-community divides and working at the leading edge of change.

Knowledge for Action – Organizing School-Community Partnerships Around Quality Data
There are few mechanisms for helping parents interpret data on school performance. There are even fewer resources to guide authentic parent-school collaboration and engagement resulting from analysis of the data. In this IDRA Newsletter article, Laurie Posner, MPA, and Hector Bojorquez  encourage these joint efforts and introduces a dynamic web-based tool – IDRA’s School Holding Power Portal (now the OurSchool portal) – to support them.