I like to track just enough data points to give us needed info but no more than is necessary:
- grade going into (or age, if preschool)
- name of school or, if homeschooled
- participation level (we all know the number of kids registered for the program doesn't reflect the actual number of kids who return and participat
Staff wasn't too sure about all this as we did the design for the databases. Once they saw what we could do with the data (anticipate staffing needs; better target buying or incentives and book prizes; calibrate our printing needs more precisely), there was a much better staff buy-in for using this new technology for keeping track of summer business. We have also been able to present some powerful data to our board and school colleagues. And, of course, because we base planning on what really happens, we tailor our design to our community's response - and we are seeing real success in increasing the number of kids who participate!
Image: 'Day 214' http://www.flickr.com/photos/38451115@N04/4423765348