In our last article, we defined the five levels of the Admission Collaborative Maturity Model. The purpose of the ACMM is to help you identify a pathway to increasing benefits from stronger and more sophisticated collaborations.

To assist you in determining what is next for your collaborative, we created a brief admission collaborative quiz that allows you to identify your region’s current level. When answering these questions, consider whether your community participates in any of the following activities:

  • Shared admission calendars: Schools agree to use the same application due dates, dates for releasing decisions and/or deadlines for families to respond to decisions. Schools may also agree to common dates for making their applications available at the beginning of the season.
  • Coordination of admission events: Schools coordinate dates of open houses and student visits so they do not overlap, particularly for schools of similar grades/divisions (e.g. lower or middle school).
  • Joint marketing: Schools jointly advertise, organize group fairs, create marketing resources or have a common marketing website with resources for families.
  • Common teacher evaluation form: To help teachers from feeder schools, regions create a common teacher evaluation form that can be submitted to multiple schools. These forms are usually relevant to a subset of grade levels (e.g. early education or high school) or may be subject-specific (e.g. a math or English teacher evaluation).
  • Shared parent and student essays: To reduce work and pressure on parents/guardians and students, schools identify a shared set of essays. These can be supplemented with individual questions for each school, such as “Why our school?”
  • Centralized feeder-school document submission: Feeder schools, both private and public, have a method for submitting transcripts, report cards and other admission material once for each student. Parents/guardians authorize which schools have access.

Time for the quiz! Consider the questions below. Your level is the highest in which you can answer “yes” to the questions asked; this is the starting point for your collaborative.

Level 1: Ad Hoc
The default level

Level 2: Informal

  • Do you participate with a group of schools with at least one defined collaborative activity?

Level 3: Formal

  • Do you have an association with a group of schools where the exact participants could be identified by others?
  • Do you participate with this group of schools in more than one defined collaborative activity?
  • Is there some level of formal collaborative leadership? And, historically, has the ability to fill leadership positions been achievable?

Level 4: Comprehensive

  • Do you have an association with a group of schools that is formalized and for which there are consequences for those schools not adhering to the group’s agreed upon collaborations?
  • Do you participate with the group in multiple collaborative activities, including coordination of admission dates and at least one shared application form?
  • Does the collaborative have an agreed-upon mission statement (formal or informal)? That is, do all participants have a clear sense of, and agree to, the goals and purposes of the collaborative?
  • Does the collaborative have defined leadership (either committees or individuals) who oversee and ensure execution of the collaboration activities?
  • Are there defined governance procedures for establishing and replacing leadership?

Level 5: Optimizing

  • Does the collaborative collect data and have metrics that can be used to determine success?
  • Does the collaborative have defined leadership who are charged with continuously improving processes and innovating?

We hope this exercise helps you identify potential next steps for your collaborative (or potential collaborative). In our future articles in this series, we will look into specific aspects of collaboratives, share examples and best practices and provide you with additional tools and resources to achieve the benefits of regional collaboratives.