Each fall, Greenhill participates in a survey run by the Independent School Data Exchange (INDEX) Group to compare academic data, admissions statistics and financial information to 50 other comparable private schools.
Each of these schools collects identical data to then be compared at a large conference with each school’s Head of School and Chief Financial Officer (CFO). On October 15 and 16, Head of School Scott Griggs and new CFO Kendra Grace attended the INDEX conference.
“We really like INDEX because those schools are similar to Greenhill so it makes the data more comparable,” said Mrs. Grace.
Each conference takes place at a different school that belongs to INDEX. This year, the conference took place at Colorado Academy in Denver.
Based on the results of the conference and the information from other schools, Greenhill can see where it stands in relation to other partner schools. Mr. Griggs has been to the conference several times, but for Mrs. Grace, it was her first time representing Greenhill.
Mrs. Grace is currently in her first year at Greenhill as the Chief Financial Officer/Chief Operating Officer, replacing Melissa Orth. Mrs. Grace was previously the Director of Finance at The Covenant School of Dallas.
Information at this conference included fiscal measurements and data regarding years of experience of Greenhill faculty. INDEX creates a report complete with the masses of data that each of the schools provides. At the conference, the reports are anonymous, but each individual school can see how their data compares to the others. Greenhill wants to ensure that it is not an outlier from the other schools, and tracks the data of the other peer-institutions.
“We set benchmarks, we want to be within a range of what INDEX gives us – so it’s more of a guideline,” said Mrs. Grace.
Results from this conference can introduce change at Greenhill. Several years ago, information from the conference revealed that Greenhill was spending a greater amount on utilities than other schools. As a result, Greenhill worked to reduce its energy consumption, and the Lower School was awarded a LEED-EB (Existing Building) certification. They have continued to review utilities expense each year and have worked with the facilities department to make sure that they are conserving water and energy. This year at the conference, Greenhill fell perfectly in line with the other schools.
Due to location and other aspects, not all schools are going to track in line with the rest of the county. For example, Greenhill had its lowest attrition rate in 18 years of 3%. This puts Greenhill on the lower end of the INDEX schools in this statistic. Although Greenhill’s attrition rate is low compared to other INDEX schools, this is a statistic the school would like to keep, according to Mrs. Grace.
“There can be skewed data. We are different from schools in California or the Northeast, but it all depends on the statistics you’re looking at,” Mrs. Grace said.
Mrs. Grace said the information at the conference does not paint the entire picture of a school.
“We compare our own results to prior years as well. But it’s all really just a snapshot in time.” Mrs. Grace said.
The change ignited by the data is not always immediate. The data can offer new long-term goals. The ideas and statistics from the conference help Greenhill determine their budget for upcoming years.
“The purpose of [the conference] is to provide us with good bench-marking information to make sure we are staying in line with our peer schools in all areas of our operations from academics, to facilities, to salaries and benefits,” said Mrs. Grace.
This year, the conference brought light to some academic accomplishments of Greenhill students. Out of all the schools in INDEX, Greenhill students had the highest percentage of students scoring 4-5 on the AP exams and the highest average score on the evidence-based reading and writing portion of the SAT.
Originally published in the November 2017 print issue
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