How does Simbli help your district with transparency and accountability?
Forsyth County is a very data-driven community, so transparency and accountability is a must! Simbli has revolutionized the timely access and quality of information available to all of our stakeholders. In addition to expanding use at the Board level, this year we embarked upon getting all of our 35 school communities up and running with their LSC management. This is being further aligned back to the FCS Strategic Plan goals, and our Board is able to use this information in their decision-making.
The ability to go to one central location helps thousands of people throughout our district access information perhaps not readily available just a few short years ago. By having this information in one central location, stakeholders can better understand and access information that is pivotal to the success of our school district. Simbli IS our key to transparency and accountability, and an education hub for our stakeholders! This has been an exciting year in Forsyth County with even further utilization at the school level! We can’t wait to see what comes next!
How does Simbli help your district align your work (plans, meetings, and policies)?
Without Simbli, Forsyth County Schools would not have the seamless process of governance that we are so proud of! Simbli is the organizational leverage that assists us in aligning the work of Forsyth County Schools, and is a topic of conversation any time we talk about the alignment of our work. Starting with the development of our strategic plan goals and action steps, the board and system leadership have the ability to make decisions based on this guidance. The recommended flow of policy development also helps our district make changes and implement new policies, as well as provides a firm record of historical actions. It’s a process that we follow strictly which further aligns our work. This also becomes key when new board members and staff members emerge.
In times of transition, we fully depend on Simbli to explain the work of our district and use it as a constant piece of monitoring in order to track progress and strive towards meeting our strategic plan goals. We also have plans in FY2013 to embark upon even stronger marketing efforts surrounding the work of Forsyth County Schools, and Simbli will no doubt be the center of that conversation. This presentation will be rolled out to community members, civic groups, parents, and advisory groups within Forsyth County!
How does Simbli provide cost savings and efficiency to your organization?
Forsyth County Schools fully believes that Simbli is vitally important to efficiently handling the day-to-day logistics of school operations and meeting management. With declining revenues and trying to do more with less, leadership staff continue to emerge with ideas which leverage Simbli. We were very fortunate to be a pilot district from its inception, so this spawned the use of Simbli for policy and procedures, as well as the area of meeting development. It seems like every month or so, we continue to add ways to utilize the product!
The cost-savings calculator that Simbli employs is evidence alone for any district, and we’re fortunate that our population embraces technology 100% to go paperless. Simbli also allows our busy board members, staff, and local school council members the ability to access and research information from remote locations – both past and present. I recently had the opportunity to help “sell” Simbli to a local government agenda through a presentation with an EBS representative. At the end of the demonstration, those meeting with us were astounded by all Simbli could offer their organization and how cost- effective it was based on other estimates they had obtained! It is fun to share with others what Simbli has done for our district, including the opportunity we have to share at the Users Conference each year!
What advice can you give other school systems wanting to maximize their use of Simbli?
We feel like Forsyth County Schools serves as a trailblazer district in regards to Simbli utilization. Because we’ve been so involved from inception, it’s easy to paint a before and after story in regards to ramping up certain areas, the benefits behind each decision we’ve made, and how it has revolutionized the way we communicate with our educational stakeholders. Our Board of Education also are pioneers of this revolution and often speak about the benefits to those they come in contact with.
Other districts should not be intimidated by expanding use, even if just a module at a time. It will soon become commonplace! Forsyth County also recommends you have one person who serves as administrator of Simbli, rather than several people leading the charge. This has worked well with our district, along with support from our superintendent. Bottom line is to selectively place someone in this role who can market, cheerlead, and educate the district on benefits of use for collective buy-in!