"Scribbles is one of those products that is always quick and easy to learn and implement."
Enrollment: 22,000 students
Operates 37 schools and programs
Employs 3,300 staff and teachers
Scribbles solutions used: ScribOrder, ScribTransfer
Vancouver Public Schools is a medium-sized school district in Vancouver, Washington. To continue to serve the district's mission to provide an innovative learning environment that engages and empowers each student to develop the knowledge and essential skills to become a competent, responsible, and compassionate citizen, the records management team knew students and alumni deserved a streamlined and secure process when ordering their records. The team turned to Scribbles Software in the spring and summer of 2020. The ease of implementation and solid customer service support made the switch fairly smooth for the district, even under the challenging conditions of that year. We sat down with SuAnne Anderson, Records Manager for Vancouver Public Schools, to find out how it has been going since then.
Tell us about yourself and your current role at Vancouver Public Schools.
SuAnne: I was promoted to my current position about this time last year. Prior to this, I was the records clerk, meaning I sent out all the records. Now I'm in charge of how records are retained, transferred, and destroyed in our district.
What did your process look like before you started using Scribbles? What changes have there been since you shifted over?
SA: It was kind of a mess before because we have a centralized records department. That means we have one person who sends records to other districts for our entire district. We have about 40 schools and the enrollment clerks on each campus don't send any records from the schools. It's all sent from a central location, but local schools were contacted on a regular basis because other districts didn't know how we structure things.
Most of the time, a request would go to an individual school in our district. The clerk would then forward that to the records department so the clerk could send the records out. It was convoluted and oftentimes things got misplaced. Also, the staff would think they sent a record, when actually they hadn't. Other districts also had a problem because they didn't understand that the records would come from somebody other than the person they were in contact with. Sometimes they wouldn't open the email with the records attached and they thought they hadn't received them.
How did it change when you started using Scribbles?
SA: Scribbles makes it a lot nicer because now requesters understand where to go. It doesn't matter if they think they're contacting a school or not. Either way it's coming to the records clerk at central. There's no forwarding, nothing different happens on our end. It cuts down on the amount of confusion.
What does your staff think?
SA: They love that they don't have to send out records. They also love that they don't have to communicate with schools because it frees them up to do other things, but it was a hard transition because other districts around here didn't have experience with Scribbles. At first there was pushback from other districts. I told the clerks to just forward all those people to me. I have a spiel and I just let them know why we're doing it. I had quite a few people on the phone who would start out telling me how ridiculous it sounded. By the end they would go, "Oh, well, maybe we should look at something like that."
What was the implementation process like for your team?
SA: It was pretty easy for us because we have centralized records. At the time that I started this, I was covering two jobs. So I was the one to get it up and running. I got to work out the kinks, communicate with people, and figure it all out. We worked out all those kinks and were up and running. It really wasn't that bad.
I brought staff in for a training at the beginning of this year and covered everything, from beginning to end, while explaining their role to them. By the end of summer, we had everything worked out and it's turned pretty smoothly this year. It's been good.
What were some reasons you decided to choose Scribbles?
SA: When everything shut down and we were working remotely, Scribbles was doing Thursday webinars where you could log on for 20 minutes and see different products, updates, and things like that. So every week, I was watching those webinars and not only learning about things that I could do with the system that we had, but learning about other things that you implemented, other modules, things along those lines. And I really liked this idea because it makes it nice and easy for people to do a request and for us to see it. It also gets rid of all of the human error in the process. You know, not transferring things, people not opening emails, and all the communication issues that comes with the way we previously transferred records.
The second thing was FERPA. We didn't have a secure email at that time. Everything we were sending out was via email, but nothing was secure and obviously not FERPA compliant, which was a big issue. Also, the cost of using Scribbles was so nominal. We don't normally recoup costs for fulfilling records requests. We don't charge for anything in our district. The CIO feels that it's a hardship for most of our students if they have to pay, so she's made it free across the board, which also means we don't charge for employers, other schools, or other requesters. The only charge is the one that Scribbles places on legal requests, government requests, and other requests along those lines.
That's just a $4 charge. I did a cost comparison prior to bringing it to the CIO's attention and we would've broken even over just a six month period of time. Our prior average was right around $500 for a district of about 23,000 students. So, Scribbles pays for itself if you need it to. Our CIO didn't bat an eye. She said that if we needed $500 a month that bad then there is definitely something wrong.
Have you ever had to reach out for questions to our support team? If so, how has that gone?
SA: I reach out all the time…generally speaking, [I use the support chat]. I always have questions and requests. Everything is always answered right away. I've made changes to our ScribOrder website, such as certain wording and phrasing. I've asked for requests that were previously denied and had them successfully reopened again, so we could approach it from a different direction. Everything is always done right away and I'm always super happy with the customer service. Again, that is one of the things I'm always looking for in a company that I plan on dealing with. I've always appreciated your customer service.
Do you have advice for anybody that's watching?
SA: Open yourself to technology because it's one of the biggest things for us to get over. Scribbles is one of those products that is always quick and easy to learn and implement.
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.