Case Study: Tulsa Public Schools

Tulsa Public Schools Finds Out That Breaking Up Isn't So Hard To Do


Learn how Tulsa Public Schools utilizes several Scribbles Software to get to the paperless paradise.

 

Fast Facts


Enrollment: 33,000+ students

69 schools make up the Tulsa Public Schools

TPS is comprised of 5,520 employees

Scribbles Solutions used: ScribOrder, ScribOnline, ScribTransfer

 

 

 

 

 

Tulsa Public Schools is an urban district serving Tulsa, Oklahoma. The district is one of the largest in the state. Their academic program is well-designed to meet learners' needs. The district's mission is to prepare and inspire every student to love learning, achieve goals and contribute positively to the world. 

 

The public school district has 33,000+ students in the city of Tulsa. The school has qualified, extraordinary teachers that work with the community and families to bring the joy of learning to the students and prepare them for success in college, work and life. The district presents various learning styles and capabilities that fit every student's needs. They include magnet schools that offer career specialization, technical schools, college enrollment, and dual languages. 

 

A centralized center handles all the enrollment, transfers, information requests and documentation of records and transcripts. The district had cumulative records scattered on four platforms that were hard to manage. While most of their records were stored electronically, all the incoming requests were hard copies. They relied heavily on faxes and mail, which was expensive, lacked accountability, and caused unnecessary delays. Tulsa Public Schools turned to Scribbles software to help them eliminate faxes and postal service, have flexible payment options, and maintain their digital records. The district was looking for an opportunity to grow and make records easily accessible to students, teachers, and parents. Tulsa Public Schools representatives joined Rose from Scribble Software sales team to discuss "Breaking Up Isn't So Hard to Do." They talk about how their district broke up with outdated processes and moved into online solutions.

 

We sat down with Kris Serna, Edward Perry, and Bonnie Youtsey from Tulsa Public Schools to understand how the district used Scribble software to break out from outdated processes to viable online solutions. They will also discuss a little bit about their journey along the way.

 

Tell us about Tulsa Public Schools' old process before partnering with Scribble. What challenges did you, the students, families, and staff face?

Kris Serna: Tulsa is a large urban district school with records dating back to the 1920s. As a district school, we have a huge enrollment rate. At one time, it hit up to  80,000 students, and as a result, we had cumulative records and transcripts. These records were scattered throughout the district. In the central office, we stored our records on four different platforms. We had the old microfiche, an application extender where our records were indexed, and then we had the mainframe AR archive from where we switched from our old student information system to Power School. All our requests from the Power School were either mailed or sent via fax to us. Everything was hard copy.

 

A lot of the records were kept electronically, but all the incoming requests were hard copies, and we did a lot of emails, faxes, and mail-outs, which were always a struggle. Most of you have been around, and you know how fax machines go down frequently. We also had to have payment before we could even send requests, so that caused a delay in getting those records out. We are also required to document who made the request. We used Excel spreadsheets to keep the information shared on a network drive between 15 to 20 different people. And before that, we had file cabinets full of hard copies of records requests. There was no accountability, and our fees were very nominal. They did not cover the cost of what we had to do.

 

Why were the old processes so challenging, and did Scribble help change?

Edward Perry: The nominal fees often didn't cover the records and distribution expenses, but even deeper than that, we had no standard cost. Someone may come in requesting a transcript and be asked to pay more or less than somebody who had previously paid or may not have paid. This exacerbated the issue of accountability. We had time-sensitive needs from parents, students, and even the state that weren't being met. Scribble allowed us to reconcile some legal issues with records since we have specific periods where we have to get records to people and records that come in. We have to be able to file them and know exactly where they are and have them for students and families. There was an inconsistent organizational structure. Besides having different records, the documents were stored in random places throughout the department. Scribble allowed us to centralize all those records and organize them better. 

 

Since the records were in different systems, they created double work. Someone would be working on a record that is already completed since there was no way of knowing if we already had it in. Because of geography, we were doing more work than needed, and sometimes the payments would be through the postal service. Parents would go to ATMs to get money, get a money order, or look for other ways of paying for the records. The good news is that Scribbles is taking care of all these through an online payment. So that is no longer a huge issue for us.

 

What were you looking for when considering a new technology vendor? Was there a challenge that stuck out a little bit more?

KS: We were looking for several things, including something easy to use. We wanted to eliminate faxes and have better flexible payment options. We also wanted to eradicate the postal service and have somebody or some way of holding and maintaining our digital records. We have about 1.2 million records and archives, and we had third-party background checks for IDs, and often, people had to mail their IDs to us. The ability to carry all the checks ahead of time was very important.

 

In addition, we had extensive teacher records for professional development that we were looking for a solution for. Also, we wanted a consistent revenue source that would cover expenses related to records and distribution. We aimed to reduce the wait time for our customers, consolidate all the records into one platform and have a quicker turnaround. Also, it was helpful to know we can modify those records to post the graduation date. We wanted a very supportive vendor, someone who would respond quickly when we needed assistance, and of course, somebody who could help train our staff. 

 

EP: Just to reemphasize what Kris has said, a centralized location is super huge, and it covers a lot of things, and it stems from an organization. We really appreciate that from this company.

 

What did the implementation process look like for you and your site after partnering with Scribble?

Bonnie Youtsey: The implementation process was quite easy and quick for us. We had people coming in and training, and we were able to move our documents over pretty quickly. We can easily print out what we need or put it in PDF form. Scribble took over from here and attached it for us. So it was extremely easy to move from our old ways to new habits by working with Scribble. They helped attach all our documents and taught new people how to work with the software.

 

What do you think about the site development process with our team? 

BY: It was incredible. Anything we came up with, you guys were like, yes, let's work on it right this very second. We had multiple meetings with your team where we sat together and said what we wanted, and you verified with us and gave us better options. You told us this would bring better results if we tried it out. And it was extremely helpful and wonderful working with you when we started.

 

How did you help to break all the old habits or support your staff, students and families after making the switch? Or how did you support them through the transition?

BY: At first, it was a little difficult because people aren't used to saying you need to go through our Scrib board or emailing or mailing back checks and saying we can't do this way any longer. But we emailed all districts surrounding us and let them know exactly what we were up to and how they could log on and get the information from our Scribble boards. Parents came in, and we had them log on and do the process and help us to train our staff. If there was a problem, our staff could walk a parent through it while they were on the phone. Parents do get a little confused every once in a while when we tell them to go online and do this or that.

 

Looking back, is there anything you would've done differently? From the start of looking for vendors or the process, what would you change?

BY: I think we would actually get our documents to you much quicker because there we had a year when we didn't send the documents to you. We have realized how wonderful it is to keep our documents with you guys, and with just a click, everything is done. We don't have to go back and forth for everything and then go and attach everything. So, it's great that we can leave all of our documents with you. It's very nice and helpful.

 

What advice would you give to districts looking to transition or who might still be working with old processes?

KS: We had a really good project plan. We've given you a big overview of everything, but we worked on internal and external communications within our sites. We had over 99 sites within the district at the time. We worked with you to personalize the website to look like the Tulsa Public Schools website. All of those are things that you need to consider, and you need to be persistent because some people don't just want to break those habits. They want to walk in and do things the old way. Looking back on a couple of things, we wish we had scripted responses a little bit earlier and worked on updating our documents more quickly. In a nutshell, you need a really good project management plan to walk through the whole process.

 

Final Thought

Breakups are never easy, and changing from old habits to new ones can be challenging but with great results. Sharing how Tulsa Public Schools transitioned from old processing methods to new ways of storing and distributing records is very inspiring. Tulsa Public Schools eliminated faxes and extensive paper mail with Scribble. Scribbles software has been partnering with school communities from enrollment all through to graduation. Our core focus is to serve our educational partners better. ScribOrder has brought a solution to the entire student lifecycle. Scribble software leverages forward thinking to align with the ever-changing needs of K -12 School Districts. We consistently adapt to new technologies and find new solutions for district schools and their students.

 

Scribble software is developed and designed to bring solutions through every stage of the student lifecycle. Our solutions include ScribOrder, which manages the processing and payments of alumni and student records requests. ScribEnroll helps with student enrollment and re-enrollment, making the process hassle-free by eliminating unnecessary paperwork. ScribChoice is a Scribble software that manages student applications, especially for those who desire to attend outside their zone. ScribTransfer helps in student transfer. ScribOnline addresses K-12 school districts' document management designed to address the unique needs of every district. 

 

 

If your district is ready to go paperless, make records more accessible to students and families, and even generate revenue, fill out the form below to contact our team today.