When the Boise School District was considering whether or not a board management solution would be right for them, a Simbli demo gave them their answer. Sharon Mast, Clerk of the Board, explains why Simbli stood out.
Boise School District is located in Boise, ID. The district serves more than 26,000 students in 33 elementary, eight junior high and five senior high schools.
Make board work more transparent and save administrative time by providing a central place for the board, staff and community to access meeting, policy and strategic plan documents.
The district uses Simbli’s Meetings module to manage a variety of meetings–from board to committees. With the help of the Policies module, they’ve saved valuable time in updating and maintaining their documentation. And the Planning module helps keep board work aligned as well as allows them to communicate their strategic plan more clearly to stakeholders.
Transparency and Time Savings
Gaining Executive Buy-In and Staff Adoption
While it took several months for the district and board to assess Simbli and get everyone’s questions answered before implementing the software, Mast says that getting buy-in from the superintendent and administrative team went smoothly. She attributes this to the fact that those who saw the solution in action were able to picture exactly how Simbli could help their district.
“When we sat down and we talked about it, one of the things that our superintendent and I discussed was the potential for us to use Simbli to manage our strategic plan,” said Mast. “And then, when my administrative team saw how the Policies, Planning and Meetings modules all integrated, the expressions on their faces were like, ‘Wow!’ because they were able to see how we could apply this to our own work.’
Once the district decided to adopt Simbli, the staff shared in Mast’s excitement.
“I’ve worked for other companies where they’ve rolled out new software, and have never seen a group of people accept something new and jump in with both feet and excitement,” said Mast. “No complaints. Only positivity.”
More Visibility with Meetings
Before implementing Simbli, the district staff would print out meeting packets or send a link to Google Drive where documents were stored–a process Mast refers to as “clunky and cumbersome” because it was hard to attach documents and make sure everything was included in the packets. Once the staff was trained on Simbli, they found the process much easier.
“Our staff has said that finding and reviewing the packet, as well as going through the agendas has been really easy with Simbli,” said Mast. “They say the solution gives them clearer visibility of the materials, its concise and it’s clean.”
In addition to board meetings, the district uses Simbli to manage a variety of other meetings, including those for their cabinet, as well as committees like governance, communications, strategic planning and legislative.
“We’re now really able to communicate together in one place when it comes to our meetings,” said Mast. “For example, our cabinet meetings incorporate 30 different people inputting information into those agendas. So they can quickly log in to Simbli, and add topics of conversation for the next cabinet meeting.”
And, when it comes to providing access to the board’s virtual meetings–which have now become the norm–Mast says being able to integrate with Simbli has been invaluable. She explains that they now embed their live stream meeting links into the meeting agenda footer bar so it’s easily acessible.
“We’re able to put everything in Simbli from start to finish, including materials we want available to the public,” she said. “It’s all been really easy to do in Simbli. It’s been a one-stop shop for us.”
Saving Time with Policy Management
In addition to making it easier for the board to manage meetings–and for members to review materials in one place–Boise Schools uses Simbli to manage their policies.
“We used to have policies listed in PDFs and it’s not easy to search for things,” said Mast. “Now, we’re able to do a keyword search and pull up every single policy with that keyword in it.”
She adds that the Policy module has helped save her valuable time when it comes to making updates and maintaining all of the district’s documentation.
“I just finalized and approved all of our policies that have been updated over the course of the year,” she said. “What would have taken me days only took me about 30 minutes to get everything approved, published and ready to go.”
Raves for Simbli Service
While the board has only just begun using Simbli, Mast is already impressed with the personalized service provided by the Simbli support team. She cites how quickly the Simbli team incorporates recommendations from their users.
“One of our principals who serves on the policy committee submitted a feature recommendation, and in a matter of weeks the Simbli team had implemented it,” she said. “For so many people their team has to serve, they give their full attention and never make anyone feel cheated for time.”
Mast adds that this level of service is something most businesses no longer offer.
“It feels like you’re dealing with a mom-and-pop business, where you get that one-on-one customer attention that many businesses these days lack. The Simbli team gives 100-percent customer service.”
A Future Filled with Transparency
For the Boise School District, Simbli has far exceeded expectations, says Mast.
“I don’t think we’re anywhere close to where we thought we were going to be,” she says. “Simbli has gone beyond what we ever thought possible. As we become more comfortable using all of the different features, it’s going to become even more valuable for us. In the long run, Simbli will help us become more transparent.”