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Crisis Data Management: A Forum Guide to Collecting and Managing Data About Displaced Students
NCES 2010-804
February 2010

Chapter 2. Before a Crisis: Planning for Displaced Student Data—Reviewing Data Policies and Procedures

Agencies should review and understand current federal, state, and local data policies and procedures.

A strong working knowledge of current federal, state, and local policies will invariably prove useful during data collection and analysis following a crisis. After a disaster, key personnel may not be available to answer questions and make policy decisions. When multiple team members are familiar with data policies and expectations, they can immediately step in to make decisions. Having a method for tracking policy and procedural decisions is also critical, as is a strategy for effectively communicating the decisions. Some types of data policies and procedures with which team members should be familiar include
  • Federal policies and procedures: The federal government has a wide range of programs, offices, regulations, and statutes that deal with crises, displaced students, and related issues such as data privacy, homelessness, and emergency aid. Agencies should proactively review and understand the implications of the following federal programs and initiatives.
    • The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
    • The McKinney–Vento Act
    • The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
    • The Impact Aid Program
  • State and local policies and procedures: Many state and local policies and procedures may need to be adapted in response to a crisis. Assimilating state and local guidance related to the following topics will improve disaster recovery planning and help decisionmakers deal with these issues if the need arises. In addition to ensuring vital technical knowledge, precrisis engagement with staff within and across agencies will strengthen relationships and future disaster recovery responses. The following types of issues should be considered:
    • Assessment schedules
    • Average daily attendance/membership
    • Class size
    • Data retention
    • Disaster recovery plans
    • Full-time equivalent
    • Graduation requirements
    • Immunization waivers
    • Instructional days (required and waived)
    • Nonpublic institutions
    • Policy exceptions
    • State accountability plans and modifications
    • Data policies and procedures
    • Textbook allocation
    • Truancy

Lessons Learned: State Accountability Exceptions

After the movement of students from Louisiana to Texas that followed hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the Texas Education Agency modified state and federal accountability to accommodate the large influx of displaced students. This was accomplished by implementing additional demographic boxes on the assessment answer sheets.