Comprehensive Needs Assessment (CNA) ProcessCNA DocumentsCNA Guiding Questions (for use in committees)
CNA ResourcesHow do you conduct a comprehensive needs assessment (CNA)?
- Demographics Guiding Questions
- Student Achievement Guiding Questions
- School Culture & Climate Guiding Questions
- Staff Quality Guiding Questions
- Curriculum Instruction & Assessment Guiding Questions
- Family & Community Guiding Questions
- School Context & Organization Guiding Questions
- Technology Guiding Questions
1. Meet with the Campus Leadership Team (CLT).
a. Explain WHY campuses do the CNA. (Successful schools are more than a state assessment scores. Successful schools address all areas of the school that have impact on student achievement.)
- This step CANNOT be taken for granted or skipped. I’ve been on campuses where the WHY was well established and teachers were not only eager to learn of the part of the CNA in which they contributed, but were eager to learn of the other areas as well. I’ve been on others where teachers said they were handed this document without any support and said they just wrote stuff down because the district said so.
- There’s a “training manual” developed by Region 20 as well as the initial ½-day training, The Y in CNA that I offered principals.
b. Consider the best approach. Options may include:
i. Option 1:
1. With the CLT, model how the process will work using 1 of the 8 areas (Demographics, Student Achievement, School Culture & Climate, Staff Quality, Curriculum Instruction & Assessment, Family & Community, School Context & Organization, and Technology).
2. Using at least 3 predetermined questions from the guiding questions, which are posted at below, the principal should choose the questions that NEED to be addressed, not the 3 “easiest” questions to be addressed), provide the data to support the questions.
a. For example, if addressing School Culture & Climate, using question #1, “How do students describe the school climate? How does this compare to staff?” the leader would provide responses from a recent student survey and the responses from the staff on the same survey. (We did this survey when I was principal and found the staff to be more critical than the students.)
b. For another example, if using question #4, “What does the data reflect regarding student behaviors, discipline, etc.?” the leader could provide a summary of the number (or percentage) of discipline referrals comparing the prior year to the current year. (I recently attended a CLT meeting in which the leader compared last year’s percentage or referrals to this year’s percentage; and the teachers were thrilled to see the drop in the number of referrals by implementing CHAMPS strategies. THIS is what the CNA is designed to reveal.
3. As a CLT, review the available data and determine the strengths, needs, and summary of needs.
a. For example, the number of discipline referrals last year was 20% as identified during last year’s CNA. Last year, it was determined it to be a need. Measurable its wildly important goals (WIGs) and Lead strategies were developed to address the number of discipline referrals. The results of the initiatives were reexamined in spring CLT meeting comparing data (i.e. 12% this year as compared to 20% last). In the current CNA process, strengths and needs are noted and the summary of needs reflects how the campus will proceed and if this will continue to be addressed in the campus improvement plan (i.e the campus could rewrite the target from 12% to 8% or determine to continue to do what is working and focus WIGs in another area.)
4. Allow (or assign) CLT members to lead 1 of the 7 remaining areas with each member leading a representative group (made up of teachers from other grade levels, other content areas, etc.) through the process.
5. Have each CLT member lead a review of the data in his/her assigned area and determine the strengths, needs, and summary of needs using the guiding questions.
6. Have the CLT member record the results on the CNA spreadsheet (either handwritten or typed).
7. Meet with the entire CLT to review all 8 areas of the CNA to determine the priorities, identify what is within the circle of influence of the campus (as opposed to the circle of concern (i.e. if the Staff Quality group identifies that more teachers should be hired to reduce class size, it may be in the circle of concern, but not in the circle of influence as staffing formulas are dictated by the district).
8. Enter the final draft of the CNA into the Document Tracking Services (DTS) online template.
9. Using the CNA, the CLT determines the WIGs and Leads for the CIP and enters the final draft into the DTS online template.
ii. Option 2:
1. With the CLT and/or a representative body or with the entire staff, conduct a gallery walk.
a. Post at least 3 predetermined questions from the guiding questions for each of the 8 areas around the room on chart paper along with supporting data.
b. Have all rotate through each of the 8 stations answering the 3 guiding questions at each station using the data to support answers.
c. Record the results on the CNA Spreadsheet (either handwritten or typed).
d. Meet with the entire CLT to review all 8 areas of the CNA to determine the priorities, identify what is within the circle of influence of the campus (as opposed to the circle of concern (i.e. if the Staff Quality group identifies that more teachers should be hired to reduce class size, it may be in the circle of concern, but not in the circle of influence as staffing formulas are dictated by the district).
e. Enter the final draft of the CNA into the Document Tracking Services (DTS) online template.
f. Using the CNA, the CLT determines the WIGs and Leads for the CIP and enters the final draft into the DTS online template.