Charlotte-Mecklenberg Schools saves time and reaches more families with Scribbles.
Second-largest school district in North Carolina
Enrollment: 140,000 students
Operates 180 schools and programs
Employs 18,500 staff and teachers
Monthly revenue generated through Scribbles: ~$18,000
Scribbles solutions used: ScribPreK, ScribOrder, ScribOnline
Charlotte-Mecklenberg Schools (CMS) is the second largest public school district in North Carolina and handles thousands of pre-k applications per year. The district’s mission is to create an innovative, inclusive, student-centered environment that supports the development of independent learners. To continue to support this mission and the families within one of the state’s largest communities, CMS turned to Scribbles to efficiently work through all of their backlogged applications and build a streamlined process for current and future applications. We spoke with Dr. Chris Law, the director of pre-kindergarten services at CMS, about how the switch to all-digital pre-k enrollment services has affected the district.
Tell us a little bit about CMS and your team.
Chris: Charlotte-Mecklenberg has several programs available for pre-kindergarten. We handle our Bright Beginnings program for four-year-olds and manage the North Carolina pre-k program contract. Between the two programs, we screen thousands of pre-k kids every year. One of the issues that leaves us with is the volume of paperwork associated with each child and family that has to be processed in order for a child to qualify for a seat in our programs. With each one, we obviously have a good bit of compliance tracking to ensure we're on top of everything.
Being able to accommodate the needs of families is critical to us. This is a really large district, and many of our families have difficulty with transportation. There are also issues with language access and being able to get accurate information on how to apply for a program that will meet the needs of their child. We screen a lot of kids for pre-k programs, and their parents have to come to a single facility by appointment only and have all of the required documentation with them on the day of their appointment. If they miss their appointment or arrive without the appropriate documentation, it can take them 6-8 weeks to get another screening appointment. This is an issue for a lot of families because we have just under 4,800 seats available in our programs each year. Because we have to screen more kids than we can actually place, it's vital to have a mechanism to handle the volume.
About seven months ago, we started looking at options to update what goes on in our department. That's when we came across Scribbles, specifically the ScribPreK software. So now we have an online application that lets us manage documents effectively and efficiently so that we can get children into a seat in one of our programs in a timely fashion. This provides a better access point for our parents, especially those who may not have the transportation or the ability to make a particular appointment time in our facility. Scribbles Software has given us the ability to do that.
How did the onboarding and implementation go?
CL: It's been a really good experience. We deal with a lot of vendors and training a very experienced staff on something that is completely opposite of what they're used to doing can be stressful. Fortunately, we were able to work with the trainers who could get us to the high level that our staff needs. The whole team has been very open to the product. I think the advantage we have here is that our business processes were designed for probably a late-1990s/early-2000s structure. What we've done now is move things to be more up-to-date. That gives us something more current and relevant to what parents are used to. For example, we ask parents to create a profile for their child and take a picture with their camera of the documents and upload it. These are not overly difficult or impossible things for most of our families. We're not at full scale yet, but we're getting there. We purposely took the process very slowly.
Bringing folks up to speed with a technology like this was a bit of a challenge, but most of what we need parents to do for enrollment is stuff most folks in their daily life already do. Folks know how to create profiles on social media sites, [and this is similar], so this really was a part of us just providing education on how we do business now. As a result, we were able to do a full stop on our old business practices and start anew. This has just become a very natural option for everybody now, and I think we are increasing the possibility that a child will have access to pre-k services.
What has ScribPreK done for your work volume?
CL: My staff handles so many phone calls during the actual course of a day. Thanks to ScribPreK, a family can leave a message for our staff, and we can get right on whatever they need. It changes our workflow. It allows our staff to go ahead and serve all of the families today instead of whenever we can get back to them.
If you were to advise somebody else in a position similar to yours, what kind of advice would you give them right now?
CL: I think the biggest thing for us was that ScribPreK and other Scribbles projects made our process so seamless. Working with Scribbles has been great, and as a result of moving to this software, we can now be very clear on our outcomes and what we needed from the product. So I would say give ScribPreK a chance and see what it can do for your workflow and volume.
If your district is ready to go paperless, and make enrollment more accessible and simple to families, fill out the form below to contact our team today.