United States

School district enhances records management with SharePoint implementation

North Kansas City School District

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Overview

The North Kansas City School District is the fourth largest in Missouri, serving more than 19,000 K-12 students in 32 educational sites throughout southern Clay County. The district is known for innovation and excellence and strives to ensure each student achieves their potential in an environment of constant change. The National School Boards Association has named the school district a leader in educational technology on two occasions, and the district has also received the Consortium for School Networking National Technology TEAM Award.

Background

As with many school districts, North Kansas City faces increased compliance requirements and needed more efficient access to student records. Existing paper processes are sometimes error-prone and have significant space requirements and are largely ineffective when compared to emerging digital storage systems.

The district was updating its retention policies and wanted to review the compilation of the cumulative student records, as well as the process for managing the records. Furthermore, after a tornado severely damaged school board records in Joplin, Missouri, North Kansas City desired a more secure digital platform with strong disaster recovery capabilities.

Project

North Kansas City chose RSM to assist in the retention policy development and to install and configure a new enterprise content management (ECM) solution, based on the success of previous ECM projects. After evaluating the needs of the school district by assessing the current manual processes, RSM determined the SharePoint 2013 Enterprise Environment was the optimal solution to fit its content and compliance demands.

RSM initiated a comprehensive project to install and configure the SharePoint ECM solution to not only manage the active student records, but also the inactive and permanent files. The policies RSM established aligned with the state requirements and also automated the retention and retirement procedures for the records.

"With a collection of 100 years of permanent student records, and centuries yet to come, we had to move our records over to a digital system," said North Kansas City School District Chief Financial Officer Paul Harrell. "RSM helped our school district develop new processes."

RSM also integrated the PowerSchool student information system, which enabled the automation of record transition as students advanced through the district, as well as managed inactive and permanent student records. Previously, student files were boxed up at the end of the year and couriered to the new school. Inactive student records were sent to the warehouse for storage and permanent files were imaged to microfilm.

KnowledgeLake Imaging was also integrated into the SharePoint ECM solution. With this extension, users can scan physical records into SharePoint, which are classified by school administrative assistants and systematically routed to their secure repositories. To retrieve documents, administrative assistants can search for a student by name or identifier to present all records in their virtual student file, assuming the user has access per the security model. Active, permanent and inactive records are then viewed and modified in an easy-to-use, browser-based interface. Users send files securely internally and externally from the browser, saving processing time and printing and shipping costs.

Security was also a major initiative to ensure North Kansas City met Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) requirements. RSM leveraged the security model from PowerSchool to ensure that student information was only presented to authorized users and filtered based upon building and faculty permissions. An external access authorization solution was also developed to log student records that were viewed by parents or third-party agencies.

In addition to the student cumulative record, RSM developed a health records management solution on the same platform. All health records within the district are now managed electronically, and the RSM team implemented solutions to electronically capture student health records, as well as manage the tracking of student visits to the office, medication distribution and treatment logs and plans. The solution provides real-time information into immunizations and necessary daily medications, helping to keep students healthy.

The ECM solution also stores assessment files for students, providing additional insight and analytics when paired with a business intelligence (BI) platform. For example, North Kansas City has SharePoint and its QlikView BI solution working in tandem to better serve student needs. SharePoint can push assessment files and prior year grades into QlikView, creating a view of what support may be necessary before a student takes the ACT.

RSM designed the SharePoint platform with students' inter- and intramobility within the school system in mind. With the new ECM solution, records can trail the student, a clear improvement from the interoffice mail or mailing between buildings required in the previous system. Lag time has decreased and accountability measures were added. It has also helped to manage the student record request process for students that transfer out of the district.

If a file is uploaded with an error, such as date of birth, it is identified. The data management team can look that information up in SharePoint and make the change. A process that may have taken 24-48 hours in the past now can be completed in 15 minutes.

At go live, the SharePoint solution included over 1 million images that were previously paper and microfilm.

"What we are using is just the tip of the iceberg," said North Kansas City School District Director of Data Management Amy St. John. "When we developed processes with RSM, they identified multiple additional places in the district that would benefit from going electronic and being backed up for disaster recovery."

Outcomes

RSM's SharePoint implementation has provided the North Kansas City School District with a more efficient, agile and secure records management platform. Employees can target key student files with a click, instead of attempting to locate paper files, resulting in a more integrated and accurate data environment.

Other benefits of RSM's service to the North Kansas City School District include:

  • Electronic storage and immediate access to over 1 million student records
  • Increased security and disaster recovery capabilities
  • Ability to efficiently track students inter- and intramobility
  • Enhanced data integrity

They said it

"I learned and grew personally from the processes that RSM uses as a company. If something did not quite work, they recognized it, worked through it and made sure we understood how everything worked. I realize they have a lot on their plate, but they don't treat us that way; it is a very familiar, beneficial relationship."

- Amy St. John, Director of Data Management, North Kansas City School District

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