About the Panel

The RAND Corporation, the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE), the Council of Great City Schools, and Kitamba launched the American School District Panel (ASDP) in fall 2020. The ASDP is part of the American Educator Panels.

From 2020–2023, this team will conduct surveys approximately three times a year and publish district profiles based on in-depth interviews with ASDP members to dive more deeply into survey topics such as recovering from COVID-19 learning loss.

The ASDP effort is informed by an advisory committee of district, charter management organization (CMO), policy, and community leaders who provide input on survey and qualitative study topics. The ASDP surveys explore a range of district functions, such as curriculum and instruction, professional development supports, and services for students with disabilities. The research will examine district strategy, structure, policy, and practice, and will provide insight into how districts are changing to support school-level problem-solving.

Download data for free from the American Educator Panels data portal or explore interactive survey results via our data tool.

Contact us

If you have questions about the American School District Panel, contact aep@rand.org.

Supporting organizations

The American School District Panel has received support from the following organizations:

National supporting organizations

Selected state supporting organizations

Advisory committee

  • Arthur L. Bettencourt Executive Director New England School Development Council (NESDEC)
  • Sonja Brookins Santelises CEO Baltimore City Public Schools, Maryland
  • Alberto M. Carvalho Superintendent Los Angeles Unified Schools, California
  • Sharon L. Contreras Chief Executive Officer The Innovation Project
  • Cristina deJesus President and CEO Green Dot Public Schools, California
  • John Edward Deasy Former Superintendent of Stockton Unified Schools, California
  • Ray Hart Executive Director Council of the Great City Schools
  • Pedro Martinez Chief Executive Officer Chicago Public Schools, Illinois
  • D. Rico Munn Superintendent Aurora Public Schools, Colorado
  • Morton Sherman Associate Executive Director AASA
  • John White Former Louisiana State Superintendent of Education
  • Gregory White President and CEO LEARN Charter School Network
  • Lakisha Young Founder and CEO The Oakland REACH

How we recruit school districts and CMOs into the ASDP

When we recruit

RAND is part way through several waves of recruitment to build and refresh the ASDP sample. The first recruitment wave began in September 2020 and the second in January 2021, with RAND inviting school districts and charter management organizations (CMOs) to participate in the ASDP. The ASDP currently includes more than 700 school districts/CMOs.

Who we recruit

The aim of the ASDP is to provide nationally representative estimates of school districts, with a significant participation of large urban districts serving a majority of African American, Latinx, and/or low-income students. The ASDP also includes some CMOs to explore how they operate differently than traditional districts. RAND therefore created the following three strata from which to sample and recruit districts:

  1. A national sample of school districts sampled with probability proportional to the square root of size (based on student enrollment)
  2. The 74 U.S.-based district members of the Council of the Great City Schools; and
  3. Member CMOs of the Charter School Growth Fund, which included about 150 organizations

For simplicity, we refer to these as districts/CMOs. Depending on the topic of a survey, RAND may email different job-titled staff in ASDP-enrolled district/CMOs. Survey results from participating ASDP members are weighted to national characteristics of school districts based on National Center for Education Statistics data.

How we recruited the panel

After drawing the stratified sample, RAND contacted districts in several ways and through multiple contact points. We partnered with several national- and state-level organizations, who we refer to as “trusted partners,” throughout the recruitment phase. Most local educational agencies (LEAs) received a hardcopy advance letter from a trusted partner before receiving an invitation packet from RAND. The trusted partner letter was sent to the superintendent/CMO CEO to describe the ASDP, encourage participation, and let them know that they would soon receive an invitation to join the ASDP from RAND. Several days later, RAND sent a recruitment packet to the LEA leader containing an invitation to join the ASDP and instructions on how to join the panel via an online portal. RAND first mailed the recruitment packets to the national sample of districts and to Charter School Growth Fund members.

Concerned that LEA staff may not physically be present in their offices due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we also sent several emails—first by trusted partners, then a couple of days later by the RAND Corporation—to all but the Council of Great City Schools strata about one week after the hardcopy letters were sent. The email invitations described the purpose of the ASDP and provided a link for districts to enroll online. The instructions allowed superintendents/CMOs to forward the message to a more appropriate staff member to enroll the district. We sent up to four total email reminders (whether from RAND or a trusted partner) to non-respondents. Finally, during the fall 2020 recruitment wave, RAND staff also made up to three phone calls to about half of the national sample strata to remind districts about the ASDP and encourage enrollment.