St. Vrain Valley Schools Creates Unique Use for ScribChoice Solution
Enrollment: 33,000 students
Operates 60 schools and programs
Employs 3,600 staff and teachers
Monthly revenue generated through Scribbles: ~$550
Scribbles solutions used: ScribOrder, ScribChoice
St. Vrain Valley Schools serves over 33,000 students across multiple communities in rural Colorado. The district’s mission is to “provide current and future generations with a strong, competitive advantage so that all students can achieve success in a globalized world.” From overseeing state reporting, handling student records and campus enrollment, and managing school choice, the district’s records department plays a large role in fulfilling that mission.The district has a vast school choice program to appeal to the educational interests of its students and families. When in need of a robust system to handle the thousands of choice applications coming in, St. Vrain Valley turned to Scribbles’ ScribChoice solution as it “blew the competition away.”
We sat down with Student Data Manager Amber Muir to find out more about how the district uniquely uses ScribChoice to achieve a successful choice program.
What can you tell us about St. Vrain Valley Schools? And what's your role in the district?
Amber: St. Vrain Valley is home to 33,000 students. We're the seventh-largest school district in Colorado, and we operate 60 schools and programs covering a vast 411 square miles. We're still a growing district and, for the most part, our academic trends are headed in a positive direction. I'm the student data manager and we're in the records department, which puts us close to the center of almost all of the district's operations, especially those involving record-keeping, transfers and customer inquiries.
Do you have students going from one end of the district to the other? They would have to cross over so many different cities.
AM: We do. We are a pretty big school choice district, which is the big reason for our adoption of ScribChoice.
How is your school choice system achieving the district’s mission?
AM: In order to support the district's mission, we have expanded our partnerships with corporate and nonprofit companies to well over 120 organizations that provide internships and learning opportunities and other resources. Those things really enhance student opportunity and engagement here. We launched the innovation academy in 2010, in partnership with IBM, for example. So we're providing elementary students with unique learning experiences, such as utilizing design thinking to engineer solutions and thinking about global challenges that are present all over our globe.
We also have focus schools, where students have access to amazing aerospace and engineering education, biomedical sciences, business, energy and so on. We have a learning technology plan that provides students with digital equipment to help them with remote learning. And we have an innovation center, which we opened in 2012, with a focus in aeronautics and bioscience. So we just have some really cool things going on in the district, and of course it all takes advanced record keeping to properly track.
How were you first introduced to ScribChoice?
AM: Originally we signed on with ScribOrder for electronic processing of transcripts. I think we did that in 2014. ScribOrder made it so easy to process transcripts electronically, which was great because before the switch we were doing everything on paper. We were just mailing transcripts out constantly. Because of what we were spending before, there was really no cost to us to switching. So it just was a no-brainer to go that way. Later, in 2019, we were in the market for a school choice/open enrollment tool, and we actually went to an RFP, but ScribChoice was awarded the contract because it just kind of blew the competition away.
Can you explain what school choice/open enrollment means for your district and some of the unique ways you use ScribChoice?
AM: ScribChoice serves as our open enrollment application process, which allows families to apply to go to a school outside of their boundary school. So again, we're spread out over 411 square miles and have 52 buildings. Each school has a designated boundary, and if a family wants to ‘choice’ into another school, they just have to apply. That's how ScribChoice helps us out a lot. We allow families to apply for the upcoming school year starting in December. Officially, we outline a timeline in our policy, but we never close open enrollment. We always allow families to ‘choice’ into another school. The ScribChoice platform allows us to have that flexibility.
For instance, if a family already has a student approved on open enrollment, they're automatically accepted with that second child. So, to address that, we worked with Scribbles to create a queue for applications. We ask families whether they already have a student that's approved on open enrollment and if they say yes, they are routed to a queue for verification. When those applications are approved by the registrars in the buildings, they're routed to the principal for approval. All of our principals approve their own applications. Our office supports that by helping families and working with school staff, and then we work with ScribChoice if we need any changes implemented to that application. In 2020 we created an online school for students that were opting out of the brick-and-mortar school due to the pandemic. ScribChoice was instrumental in making an application process for those families that wanted to apply to our online school.
We were so lucky that we had a relationship with Scribbles because our account manager was so amazing at making the transition happen with really quick turnaround. So now we use ScribChoice for that application as well. And then most recently we've been implementing an application process for our transportation department. Scribbles has worked with us to build an application for parents that need to apply for busing because what we used to do was basically offer the bus to everyone, whether there was someone at that stop or not. Now we're in a position where parents actually have to ask for busing. Scribbles has been instrumental in that process, too.
How did your staff react to using a new program?
AM: We had a pretty wide range of reactions. We're dealing with 52 school buildings and different levels of comfort [with technology and change] among the staff. But for the most part, our staff knew that we needed an updated method. I always talk about the fact that we have a really innovative message that the district is trying to convey, and we have innovation and technical opportunities for students, but here we were still handling a really important process on paper. So I think our staff knew that we just needed to upgrade how we were handling things. [Transitions are] always a little bit tricky, but between our team and the team at Scribbles, we offered extensive training. The support we got was really comprehensive and our staff has really come to appreciate the product. It's funny, I get told all the time, "I love this. It's so much better. This is great. It's so easy." So the staff was as on board as you can get I think, and they just really love it now.
What would you share with another district that's considering Scribbles?
AM: Our experience with Scribbles has been so positive from the very beginning seven years ago. We've overcome some real challenges with your help. And I feel like we're a team with Scribbles. That's what I would probably say to anyone asking is I really feel like they're part of our team.
If your district is ready to go paperless, make your school choice application process simple for students and families, and even generate revenue, fill out the form below to contact our team today.