Survey: Top 3 Critical Trends for Schools in 2024

School administration software company Frontline Education's Research and Learning Institute has released its first "K–12 Lens: A Survey Report from Frontline Education" on current and emerging trends impacting school districts across the U.S. The report found three critical areas needing improvement: growing human capital, supporting students holistically, and protecting district resources.

The report is based on survey responses from almost 700 school staff members during the 2023-24 school year.

Key findings and recommended actions in the three major concern areas include:

1) Growing human capital:

  • Increased staffing shortages, the highest being in special education and substitutes (cited by 67% of respondents);
  • Staff retention rate of between 81% and 90%, but 20% loss is of concern (41%); and
  • Professional development key to greater staff retention, with fewer than half of the districts having effective evaluation and motivation systems (96%).
  • Recommended actions: Automate evaluation and professional development, provide staff coaching and learning communities, and enhance student-centered teaching with digital tools.

2) Supporting students holistically:

  • Early warning indicator (EWI) tracking in grades 1-5, with other grades lower (52%);
  • Knowledge of which students are getting help based on EWIs (47%); and
  • Knowledge of which students are chronically absent (63%).
  • Recommended actions: Learn what impacts student mental health, use digital tools to document and track student needs, use several kinds of data to identify at-risk students in all grades, and document students receiving help.

3) Protecting district resources:

  • Slightly or not at all confident about budgeting for future technology needs (23%);
  • Decreased funding because of legislative changes (45%); and
  • Boosting cybersecurity (62%).
  • Recommended actions: Keep track of legislative funding impacts, use budget forecasting software, plan ahead for technology expenses, and develop a cybersecurity plan.

"This report is not just a snapshot; it's a roadmap for informed decision-making, providing actionable data and strategies tailored to empower school leaders in addressing both current realities and emerging trends," said Mark Gruzin, Frontline Education CEO. "We plan to release similar reports annually, ensuring that the K-12 community has access to the latest insights and resources to drive positive change in their schools and communities."

Visit the Frontline Education's resources page to read white papers, case studies, and articles on K–12 success strategies.

About the Author

Kate Lucariello is a former newspaper editor, EAST Lab high school teacher and college English teacher.