Comprehensive Needs Assessment

Comprehensive Needs Assessment

April 27 | Charter Administration, Grants Management

Federal Program directors across the state are instructing their Title I campuses to begin planning for the 2020-2021 school year. And this year comes with peculiar challenges since all of us are working from home.  It is important to note that USDE and TEA have not waived any of the Title Grant funding requirements for the upcoming school year. With that in mind, let’s proceed with the comprehensive needs assessment (CNA). The first step in preparing several academic programs such as Title I and State Compensatory Education for the upcoming school year is to complete a CNA.

The CSS Federal Team assists Clients with locating and using resources available for the CNA process including training materials, suggested templates for recording data review results, and tools for the root cause analysis.

A Comprehensive Needs Assessment (CNA) Defined

Very simply, a CNA can be described as “a snapshot of what is” on a campus. The guidance gained from a TEA needs assessment as a thorough review of data:

  • helps the district and campus monitor and assess the impact of programs, instruction, and other resources related to the challenging State academic standards (TEKS and STAAR),
    • particularly the needs of those children who are failing, or are at-risk of failing,
  • to meet the challenging state standards, AND
  • any other factors as determined by the local educational agency (LEA);
  • is based on multiple sources of data to get a true picture of needs, and
  • identifies strengths and weaknesses and sets priorities

Purpose of a CNA

An annual CNA is required for all districts and charters participating in the Title I program and for those who receive State Compensatory Education funds 6.2.2 of Module 6 in the FASRG v.16

Under TEA guidelines, data from the campus and district CNAs will be used to develop the programs for all federal grants including Titles I, II, III and IV.  CSS recently provided tips on the needs assessment requirements for Titles II, III, and IV.

Conducting a comprehensive needs assessment is also a “best practice” for all schools focused on continuously improving their students’ academic success.

Steps in developing a CNA

  1. Identify and prepare improvement planning team members.
  2. Collect, organize and analyze data.
  3. Identify and prioritize problem statement (1-3)
  4. Find root causes.
  5. Complete the needs assessment.
  6. Compile CNA results and write a summary narrative.
  7. Organize needs according to TEA priorities. Read more about TEA priorities here.

Tools are available to assist your campus team with the CNA

Click here for an online CNA guidance document. Scroll down to the section labeled “Comprehensive Needs Assessment” to find probing questions recommended for the data review portion of the needs assessment.

Click here to register for the most recent CNA webinar.

Practical considerations for completing CNA during the COVID19 shutdown

CSS recently distributed a tip with practical considerations for meeting TEA planning requirements using digital platforms.  Read the tip here.

Recommended timeline for the CNA process


  • Identify and prepare campus team to for CNA process
  • Gather and organize data requested by CNA team


  • Conduct data review; identify and prioritize problems, conduct root cause, organize according to TEA Priorities
  • Draft CNA summary in narrative form


  • Complete a draft of CIP. Need more specific information about Campus Improvement Plans? Charter School Success offers an online course that can help answer your questions and walk you through the process.

June – August

  • Finalize analysis of student performance reports data

End Result:

  • A list of prioritized problem statements to be addressed in your Campus Instructional Plan or Campus Improvement Plan
  • A clear picture of “what is” on your campus

Have questions or need assistance?

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