Data Management | Education | Public Sector
Data Management | Education | Public Sector
Some of the biggest school districts in the United States have their social workers and advocates working out of disjointed documents and spreadsheets, resulting in siloed data on their student population and their families.
Operating with unified and consistent data is important for school districts looking to free up their staff’s workload and create visibility across campuses and programs, thereby enhancing services for students. A central, consistent place for data also makes reporting a breeze.
Once your school district has landed on a case management solution like that of Social Solutions’ Apricot solution—which was built for Local Education Systems and can streamline with virtually any Student Information System (SIS)—it’s time to think strategically about how you’re going to implement and utilize your new technology. Read on for a couple of overarching tips from a real school district that has adopted our software.
Although we know case management software is strategic in the long run from a security, service delivery, and staff workload perspective, onboarding new technology across multiple school campuses and programs can be a lot all at once.
It’s best to start with bite-sized data projects. When implementing a new case management system, do not try to replace every point solution simultaneously. Think about your goals around data, and then select a program that could benefit most from improved management. This will give you time and insights to decipher how you want to scale the system from there, which will allow you to move forward in your data journey in a more meaningful way.
For example, Oakland Unified School District (OUSD), which serves nearly 50,000 students across 80 elementary, middle, and high schools, started with Apricot by rolling out the new solution to its program, Newcomer Wellness Initiative (NWI). The program serves students who were born outside the U.S., have been living in the U.S. for less than three years, and speak a language other than English in their home.
Working alongside OUSD’s centralized student portal software, our case management solution allows the NWI team to collect, track, and manage thousands of student profiles in one place. The team can organize information, monitor services, and keep forms structured in an efficient manner. This unified structure helps NWI identify new students during the enrollment process, organize its case files, track successes such as touchpoints and connections, stay compliant with regional and federal mandates, generate compelling reports, and so much more.
Now going forward, when OUSD leaders wish to roll out Apricot to other programs, the school district has already developed its own unique findings and best practices to better inform that process.
Adopting new software also takes some change management when it comes to staff that will be using it—after all, change takes some getting used to.
After integrating Social Solutions’ software, OUSD is now able to create reports through our solution in a matter of days. Before, it took the district days to create similar reports. Not only are our customizable and visually appealing reports useful in presenting to funders and partners, but it’s also a great tool for getting buy-in from the people who will be using the software, like school social workers and student advocates.
We recommend that once your school district adopts a new case management system and starts using it for one program, leaders should demonstrate the impact of the system to the staff using compelling data, allowing staff to see the direct outcomes for students and families in real time.
From food insecurity to school violence to mental health challenges, students and their families face many challenges inside and outside the classroom that can hinder their academic success. And as schools increasingly become the hub for students’ and their families’ support systems, it’s imperative that school districts move away from antiquated and disjointed data systems like spreadsheets, documents, and even email.
If we want to set our children up for success, it’s important that school districts have a robust and unified system for storing student data and making referrals to ensure they get better services. And if you’re working with a case management solution built specifically for school districts and educational agencies like Social Solutions’ Apricot solution, you’ll also ensure that your staff works smarter, not harder.
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