The OfficeScope Spotlight

Region-12, Connecticut Advances Special Education Department to Help Service Students, Teachers and Employees

 “OFFICESCOPE HAS HELPED CHANGE THE DYNAMIC OF THE OFFICE. EVERYONE IS COMFORTABLE WORKING HERE. THEY ENJOY THE ENVIRONMENT. ALL THE PEOPLE WHO ARE PART OF THE PROCESS OF HELPING A KID NOW HAVE MORE TIME; YOU CAN’T PUT A PRICE ON THAT.”


– BOB GIESEN, DIRECTOR OF FINANCE AND OPERATIONS



THE CUSTOMER
The Region 12 community educates, challenges, and inspires all learners to become compassionate, creative, and courageous individuals who are empowered by the knowledge, character, and perseverance to achieve their greatest potential within the global society.

THE CHALLENGE
Bob Giesen, Director of Finance and Operations, and Ally O’Hara, the Special Education Director, were frustrated at how much time the Special Education department had to spend chasing files and documents instead of getting to do their really important work, which was supporting the special ed teachers.

“The reality is, you have people scurrying around to find the proper records. You’ve got file cabinets upon file cabinets because student records need to be fire-proofed, and space is at a premium.” What they were looking for was, “a solution that would service the kids better.”

“Teachers would take documents out of a file to read off-site,” recalls Ally “and the documents would never make it back in the file, so next year’s teacher doesn’t have it.” Ally, or Marilyn Ebreo, the Special Education Admin Assistant, would have to come in early if they needed files for certain meetings because they could never be sure all the documents would be in the right place. “We couldn’t promise teachers the files would be there. They would have to find their way down here outside their work day to be able to fully access a file.”

Bob was over it. “Having them do that didn’t make sense in this day and age,” he says. He wanted his team to go home happy, “not exhausted from putting in long hours because they’d spent most of their day plowing through old stuff to get what they needed.”

THE APPROACH
So Bob started looking for an electronic filing solution. The problem he found with most document management solutions is, “the normal is for the sales people to tell us how we can get rid of our old filing cabinets but nobody’s mentioning where we can go with it.” What he was interested in was finding a company that “understood what [he] was trying to do – to accomplish the abnormal.”

With OfficeScope, he realized he had found a way “to service the kids going forward – in real time. And I was pleased with the high level of support.”

Ally and Marilyn started using OfficeScope in mid-July. “We had one day of training,” recalls Ally, and by mid-August “everybody who was a student in our system last year was up and running.”

“It was scary at first to shred,” she says, “but once you see that you can open a student’s file and you can print it again or email it, it got more comfortable.” After she showed the teachers how to use it, “it really took off because they saw what they could do with it.”

Marilyn agrees. “As soon as I scanned everything, we put it in a shred box. The first year I had about 25 boxes. This year closer to 50. We just kept emptying the cabinets, then started working on the attic.”

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An office once filled with filing cabinets now provides a comfortable work space.

THE BENEFITS
Ally and Marilyn are thrilled with how OfficeScope has revolutionized their lives. They have saved time, space and many headaches.

“Before,” says Marilyn, “I would have people calling and asking for their reports for the last four years. Now, having them electronic, everything is there – always. They go and do it for themselves.”

“There were ten filing cabinets in Marilyn’s area alone,” says Ally. “We gave them away because we didn’t need them anymore and now we have enough space to dance in there if we want!”

In the past, when Ally would have to transfer files in person she used to worry about it every second of the journey. Not anymore. “OfficeScope solves that problem. I can bring my laptop to a meeting and everything is at my fingertips. When someone mentions a document from five years ago I can look it up right away.”

And it’s benefitting the teachers as well. “Because they have access to files anytime, anywhere,” says Ally, “they are becoming better informed, and it makes for better understanding and trust between teacher and parent.”

For Bob, he’s delighted at how OfficeScope has helped “change the dynamic of the office. Everyone is comfortable working here. They enjoy the environment.” In the end, he says, it’s all about servicing the kids. “All the people who are part of the process of helping a kid now have more time. You can’t put a price on that.”

Now Bob and his team are looking forward to the next step – where they can take OfficeScope both for their own office, and within the district. They’ve already started on health records and plan on getting their 504 records in. “It would be great,” says Ally, “to have the teachers’ confidence in the 504s like they have with the other records.”

When Bob talks with other districts he tells them, “Don’t take it from me. Come and watch. Here are the people who can make it happen for you. I would highly recommend OfficeScope – the relationship we’ve had, the support we’ve had. They know what they’re doing. A lot of companies put the product out there and don’t tend to it. They’re tending to it. I see a long-lasting relationship.”

Discuss School's Paper Processes_6.28.16