Modernizing technology and operations for a provider of education and treatment for at-risk youth

The Client

  • Provides treatment and special education services for children in Kindergarten through 8th grade
  • Provides a loving and supportive environment for families and kids dealing with anxiety, trauma, disruptive behavior, and low self-esteem

The Opportunity

When a new executive director was hired, he found a school that had largely skipped the information age. They were using email only sparsely and had poorly organized and ineffective systems for managing finance, student information and fundraising. Staff were months behind in getting information from paper forms into an accessible digital format—they just couldn’t keep up, and thus critical data wasn’t available to staff.

This lack of effective use of technology, furthermore, translated into an absence of technology in the curriculum and poor access to technology for students. The new Executive Director knew that technology change would be hard, but also knew that transforming the organization technologically and operationally would start to transform their ability to serve students.

The organization was ready to become a more operationally streamlined and collaborative organization. Staff wanted to improve access to technology for both students and teachers. But, they knew they didn’t have the internal expertise or the capacity to reach either of those goals. So they turned to Build to figure out how to develop a plan—and make that plan a reality.

The Solution

We conducted an assessment of the information technology and administration information systems at the organization. This led to an list of prioritized and sequenced improvement projects, which included:

  1. Improving the IT infrastructure, including moving many systems to the cloud
  2. Designing and implementing a staff training program, including both onsite and online resources
  3. Creating internal staff power-user champions to support their colleagues, and build awareness of standard operating procedures and the technology that supports them
  4. Moving students to GSuite for Education and Google Classroom—and giving students access to Chromebooks and Chomeboxes
  5. Implementing a student information system that provides access to academic and non-academic information for social workers, teachers, and staff
  6. Implementing online applications, reenrollment and a parent portal

The Results

As a result of our work together, the school achieved the following:

  • Vastly streamlined and transparent operations that reduce staff time and frustration—and are simultaneously more resilient to staff turnover
  • Student education and treatment are enhanced through improved collaboration and more effective monitoring
  • Staff, parents and others have better tools that enable them to most effectively play their role in the lives of the children
  • Both child and staff recruitment are enhanced, as the school is now able to both brand itself as a modern institution and interact with prospective families and staff more effectively
Artist meeting with youthChurch Steeple