Chapter 6. Recommended Crisis Data Management Checklist
The immediate demand for data about students displaced by hurricanes Katrina and Rita
was overwhelming for many school districts that gained or lost students because of the
disasters. This guide provides recommendations for developing and maintaining data about
students moving in or out of your agency because of a crisis. These recommendations
are not a comprehensive disaster recovery planning tool. Rather, they are limited to data
system planning activities intended to minimize the impact of a crisis and preserve or
restore educational services to students following a crisis.
The items below summarize critical data issues for an agency before, during, and
after a crisis. Additional details about these planning and response activities are available in
chapters 2 through 5.
Before A Crisis: Planning For Displaced Student Data
- Evaluate Your Disaster Recovery Team
- Ensure data management specialists are represented on your agency's disaster
recovery team and, when appropriate, that a "data subgroup" is established.
- Assess Existing Student Data Systems
- Automate all data systems and maintain all data in an appropriate electronic
- Verify that your student data systems are flexible enough to permit the creation
of new applications and file formats as needed in a crisis situation.
- Implement Placeholders For Displaced Student Data Elements
- Implement a displaced student indicator and associated crisis event table
before they are needed in a crisis.
- In addition to a code that identifies a crisis, consider including other
information to fully explain the event, including crisis name, crisis type, crisis
start date, and a crisis descriptor.
- SEAs: Prepare to collect displaced student information from LEAs to meet
state and federal reporting requirements related to a declared crisis.
- SEAs and LEAs: Coordinate, communicate and confirm data items and file
formats before setting up any new elements or systems.
- Maintain Data Elements
- Review and maintain all basic student data items in your SIS. In addition to
basic student information, users must be able to access related data in other
systems including, for example, records from facilities, security, transportation,
programs and services, and staff data systems. Several national data standards
are available to inform these activities as necessary.
- Because federal agencies emphasize county-level action, be aware of your FIPS
resources, including the national databases. The National Center for Education
Statistics has an online tool that allows users to obtain FIPS County Codes
for all public schools and districts in the United States.
- Review The Frequency And Timing Of Data Collections
- Know the frequency and timing of your agency's current data collections.
- Be prepared to introduce additional data collections or collection cycles as
- Review Data Policies And Procedures
- Review and understand current federal, state, and local data policies and
During A Crisis: Collecting And Disseminating Data About Displaced Students
- Evaluate The Crisis Declaration
- The disaster recovery team should determine the organization's response based
on the nature and scale of the crisis and clearly communicate data action plans
to staff at all levels of the education enterprise.
- Assess data systems
- Inventory data systems and determine whether any data have been lost or
otherwise made inaccessible.
- Use a formal chain of communication between agencies to initiate collection
of displaced student identifiers.
- Protect and respect the confidentiality of education data.
- Be prepared to query and analyze aggregate data in a variety of ways to support
decisionmaking during a crisis.
- SEAs: Consider utilizing a temporary database to help share displaced student
data during a crisis.
After a Crisis: Displaced Student Data Reporting And Evaluation
- Review Ongoing Data Sharing
- Recognize that tracking displaced students following a crisis is an ongoing
process given the high likelihood of multiple enrollments and withdrawals by
- Plan State And Federal Reporting
- Consider the possibility of the SEA stepping in as the fiscal agent for LEAs
when requesting Impact Aid and other federal support.
- Footnote reports and other published data when marked changes may be a
function of student displacement rather than normal measures of progress and
- Discontinue Temporary Systems
- Formulate a plan to archive or destroy temporary data systems based on
usage agreements, confidentiality expectations, and other data lifecycle
- Evaluate the effectiveness of your agency's disaster recovery plan to improve
future planning efforts and emergency responses.
- Other Challenges
- Proactively address issues that frequently challenge organizations, including
- Statewide Student Information Systems (SIS)
- Unique, statewide student identifiers
- Timing of crises
- Displacement status