The Los Angeles Unified School District is the second largest program in the United States. Their after school program, Beyond the Bell (BTB), boasts an impressive 600 sites throughout the LA County. Learn how they record their after school attendance and keep their students safe with the help of one comprehensive after school management system.
How does a program this big ensure the quality of their after school programs remains consistent across all 600 sites? And how do they ensure the safety of the students attending these program?
Tracking attendance and reporting for the state was a huge undertaking. Attendance at after school programs was being collected manually and then transcribed to a reporting system which collated this data and assembles it for mandatory reporting to the California Department of Education (CDE). The manual system was prone to errors which had resulted in some inaccurate student attendance reporting and a visit from auditors. Additionally, this had caused some student safety concerns.
This was something Beyond the Bell wished to avoid. Capturing accurate statistics on exact student attendance was critical and proved to be enormously difficult up to this point. Enter Kinderlime.
The Kinderlime Pilot
Beyond the Bell was introduced to Kinderlime in 2014. They were drawn in by the digital sign out and signatures which could be done with an iPad. That attendance data could then pulled into a report at any time from one dashboard. The team loved how simple the solution was. No more paper!
After an in depth demonstration of the system, they opted to pilot Kinderlime at 10 of their sites – 5 middle schools and 5 elementary schools. Beyond the Bell assigned a fantastic project lead to the program. She had run the Cityspan attendance system and knew the intricacies involved with running the attendance system. Cityspan allows ASES programs to report attendance data. Kinderlime was given a mandate by Beyond the Bell to simplify the sign in-out process by extending their iPad apps and reporting system. As a large program with so many sites, BTB wanted to go through the paces with Kinderlime.
Integration was a key piece. The students rosters needed to be available to the sites so that they could enroll the students. The solution was to directly link the LAUSD SIS through the Clever system. The Clever sync would happen every night and all the new students would be available for the sites to enroll. Kinderlime also integrated with Cityspan so that the attendance data was automatically available while recording the attendance. This enabled the sign in-out process to work flawlessly.
In order to get a better sense of the current process, Akash Bansal, the project manager at Kinderlime, visited schools in San Fernando Valley and LA Downtown, “It was very clear that a significant amount of time was being taken away from the staff for attendance and then putting it into the attendance tracking system.” It was described as the costliest part of the day.
Additional problems arose while Akash was touring the sites. Early Release forms were a hassle for the staff. Also, the schools that had a large area, had spotty coverage in the playgrounds which could lead to issues with Kinderlime’s mobile attendance tracking. Parents also had difficulty remembering their unique 4-digit code necessary to sign their children out.
However, with Kinderlime’s commitment to make all iPads work at the same time and ensure consistent records, the engineers figured out an offline solution which involved syncing offline data with the server from each iPad and then sending it back to the server. As for the early release forms, Kinderlime simply added a digital early release form to the sign out if students left anytime before 5:45pm. The final issue of parents forgetting pins was solved using a Pin-less Mode along with digital signatures, which made the sign out process much easier and quicker.
The Rollout & Implementation
With the pilot a success, Kinderlime begin implementing the tablet-based electronic participation/attendance reporting system for 40 sites at which BTB provides after school services starting in 2018. The proposed mix was 30 elementary and 10 middle school sites. This was the crucial first step to a large scale rollout of a digital sign-in/out system across all 600 sites.
In early 2018, Kinderlime provided training to all 40 sites in 2, 1-hour sessions in the morning and afternoon. The staff was eager to make the switch to a more automated solution.
The support from BTB and the ease of use of the system helped these sites setup quickly without any transition or downtimes. The initial double processing helped them feel comfortable that attendance was recorded correctly in the system.
The results from the pilot were staggering and led to the 40 program rollout. The results from the 40 site rollout was even better. Middle school staff were saving over half an hour every day with Kinderlime at each site. Traveling supervisors and program coordinators were given more visibility into their sites so they could check live attendance, how many parents were picking up their children early, and attendance reports every monthly directly from their dashboard. This was important since ASES guideline requires that they be in the program for at least 3 hours to be counted in full attendance each day.
Cityspan and the SIS integrations helped things significantly. With SIS integration, the school rosters are automatically showing up on Kinderlime every night. All the site coordinators have to do is activate the students attending the after school program. Parent and caretakers authorized to pickup information is added if necessary. With Cityspan being the attendance reporting system, Kinderlime pushes Cityspan data to its servers every night for all the schools.
The result of the SIS integration and Kinderlime’s streamlined digital sign in-out process was a more sophisticated, yet simplified method of tracking student attendance. Every staff member saved time as the need for a paper process for sign out, early dismissal forms, and family data was condensed into one easy solutions. Sign In-Out issues were reduced, sites had better transparency and overall parent satisfaction increased. Kinderlime looks forward to the continued partnership with ASES and 21st century after school programs and bringing our digital sign in and reporting system to them.