One School District’s Response to Declining Enrollment

  Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify.   Sam Kirk is the Director of Finance and Operations at Armstrong School District in western Pennsylvania. As industry has dwindled, student enrollment in the district has taken a hit as well.   In this episode of Field Trip, Sam shares his experience grappling with the financial realities these […]


Cash for Chromebooks: Budgeting Tips for the Technology Department

‘Tis the season: as we approach the end of the year, families are preparing to gather over festive meals, students will head home for winter break… and department heads in schools everywhere will joyfully begin to put together their budgets for the next school year.   For K-12 IT professionals, that not only means keeping […]


Evaluating Key Data to Ensure Long-term Fiscal Strength for K-12 School Districts

In the increasingly complex world of K-12 school district administration, robust fiscal management is critical. However, achieving long-term financial sustainability requires more than a keen eye on the bottom line. It necessitates a detailed and thoughtful understanding of key data points, as well as how to effectively interpret and utilize that data to make informed […]


The Role of Data-Based Decision Support Systems in Improving Collective Bargaining and Teacher Negotiations

Data-Based Decision Support Systems (DSS) play an essential role in collective bargaining and teacher negotiations by providing access to accurate and relevant data to inform these negotiations. Collective bargaining is a process where representatives of teachers and school district officials negotiate the terms and conditions of employment, including salaries, benefits, and working conditions.   In […]


What’s left in the Tank: Budget Quiz

As a school district finance leader, managing your budget can be a complex and daunting task. However, it’s essential to ensure that your district’s resources are allocated effectively to provide the best possible education for your students.   That’s why we’ve created a simple and informative quiz to help you assess the health of your […]


Providing Structure to an Unstructured Data Environment

Big data is nothing new in education. Districts grapple with disparate datasets living in various places both at the district office and within each individual school, all with the objective of making sense of so many data elements. From state data sources to vendor data extracts to local data sets, collecting and organizing the vast […]

Substitute Management

Flexible Pay in K-12: The Benefits and Debunking the Myths

Since the launch of the Wagestream partnership, available to K-12 districts utilizing Frontline Absence Management, the concept of financial flexibility has been a frequent topic of discussion. But what does that really mean, why is it of paramount importance for K-12 school districts and why is this absolutely critical for K-12 school districts?   Our […]


How District Leaders Can Address Challenges with the Power of Analytics

In today’s K-12 landscape, school leaders face a host of challenges that seem to have only been exacerbated since the pandemic. Ongoing barriers to a quality education workforce, interrupted learning and widening academic gaps, increased social emotional need, inequitable access to opportunity, uncertain stimulus-boosted budgets and heightened pressure to demonstrate meaningful growth and change are […]


5 Steps to Forecasting in Uncertain Times

Long-term planning has always been a key responsibility for school business officials. But in the wake of the pandemic, this planning has taken on not only a new level of importance, but also a new degree of complexity. It isn’t enough to assume that a plan or budget will continue to work just because it […]

Talk Data to Me

A data-centric view on the challenges facing school districts

Recruiting & Hiring

Talk Data to Me: Hire Rates

According to a 2021 Frontline survey, about two-thirds of over 1,200 school and district administrators reported having a teacher shortage. Some districts experienced the teacher shortage worse than others. About half of the respondents reported difficulty filling jobs across all grade levels and subjects while the other half felt the effects of the shortage in […]

Teacher Absences & Subs

Talk Data to Me: Trends in Absence Management and Substitute Pools

Troubled by substitute shortages and low fill rates? You’re not alone. These are challenges faced by many districts, and for good reason. Substitute management is no walk in the park: a lot of different elements go into maintaining and managing a healthy substitute pool.   To overcome the challenges associated with the substitute shortage, districts […]

Recruiting & Hiring

Talk Data to Me: The State of the Instructional Teacher Shortage

The Frontline Research and Learning Institute recently published a research brief called “The State of the Instructional Teacher Shortage”. Following a basic supply and demand economic model, the analysis investigates the quantity of candidates applying for jobs (supply) as well as the availability of open positions (demand). Trends show changes to both sides of the […]

Student Data

Talk Data to Me: Supporting the Health Needs of Students and Staff

In early April, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said that schools should be reopened and “full-fledged in person” come fall 2021, regardless of vaccination status. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona echoed this in early May, saying that he expects a full return for all students in the fall. With most states no longer placing restrictions on school […]

Front & Center

A series showcasing various leaders in the K-12 space