Burbio School Tracker 2/13:  Keywords and Catchphrases

This week we look at industry terminology as used in federal stimulus spending documents by local districts.

One of the services Burbio provides partners is the ability to search K-12 budget and financial documentation for keywords that indicate a district's spending priorities.  For some clients, this means searching for competitor names.  For other partners, it also includes searching for specific terminology related to certain segments that signal an intent to spend.    

This week we look at some of the academic terms used by districts in their ESSER III plans.  For each chart below, the figures summarize the number of ESSER III plans that mention the given term at least once.   Stated another way, if a term is mentioned multiple times in a plan, it only counts as "one" in the charts below.    A few things to note:

  • The searchable database currently sits at 5,300 ESSER III plans, which represents over 65% of the US K-12 school population.  The size of searchable dataset continues to grow but given the scale in place we thought it was the right time to run this exercise. 

  • District ESSER III plans vary widely in terms of how much detail they present.  Just because a term is not used in a document doesn't mean the district doesn't think it is important.  For example, one district might describe a program with only one sentence ( e.g "After School Program:  Grades 1-5" or "Staffing - Professional Development'' ) which leave out details or objectives, while another might write several sentences about the same initiative using a variety of terminology such as tutoring, STEM, or class size reduction.  As a result we view the results below as highly directional rather than specific.

  • We focused on terms that appear in at least a few hundred plans.  That said, we did not run analysis on near-universal teams (e.g. math, reading, teaching) that appear in almost every plan as we didn't think that would be particularly insightful. 

  • Searching by keywords and terminology is an iterative process.  We chose the terms below because they are relatively straightforward in how they are used. In a handful of cases we searched for multiple terms ("After school" and "Afterschool") or used singular and plural versions of a term and combined the results.    

Our first chart are a selection of terms that appear in over half the plans we searched: 

Below are examples of more specific academic programs:

One of the themes we see in ESSER plans is the creation of programs that engage students.   Below are some examples: 

The following chart is a selection of terms used in regard to school culture and community outreach: 

We expect to explore some additional segments and search terms in future weeks, and the ability to perform this type of analysis is being built into all the documentation we gather. 

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