In South Carolina, Fort Mill School District, which serves over 18,000 students, struggled with the same challenges many districts face as they lean into digital learning:
- Teachers lost instructional time to forgotten passwords and scattered resources.
- Rostering was time-consuming for tech teams.
- It was difficult to track the use of costly digital resources.
With ClassLink, the district transformed its approach to digital learning and resource management. Using ClassLink’s comprehensive Analytics Suite and Identity and Access Management (IAM) solutions, Fort Mill School District redefined its acquisition process for new apps, simplified access for educators and students, and provided their administrative and finance teams with a clear way to track and analyze app usage.
Tech teams weren’t the only ones impacted by the district’s lack of a single way to access all needed resources. Riverview Elementary K–5 Technology Teacher Heather Morris noted that “it was a hassle to use apps and sites because things took a lot longer to get into.” “If you set a timer and had your kids log in, it could take up to 10 minutes," Coordinator of Technology Integration and eLearning Rachel Holloway added. That’s 10 minutes of interrupted instruction time that many teachers found hard to recover from, especially during busy times of the year when every second of learning counts.
The district’s financial services team also struggled with similar challenges. Without a way to easily capture an overview of logins and app usage, vital information needed to make important purchasing decisions was missing. “We were blindly buying a resource and then hoping it was being utilized,” said Director of Technology Integration Kiersten Hart. As school districts like Fort Mill approach the 2024 education funding cliff, every financial decision must be well-informed and justifiable to district leadership. Lacking hard data to back up those purchases left decision-makers in the dark.
As for Fort Mill’s tech teams? “Before, we didn’t have a good inventory of which resources kids had access to. It was challenging to keep rostering up-to-date and distribute resources to students,” said Executive Director of Technology, Brian Spittle. With no central place to host, manage, and distribute applications, Fort Mill’s tech teams faced the same challenge as its financial services team: there was no insight into how apps were being accessed and no way to ensure they were being accessed.
Relying on ClassLink’s IAM solutions for rostering and single sign-on, Fort Mill School District quickly noticed how easily they could roster applications and streamline access for students of all ages. “ClassLink is the only way you’re supposed to get onto the computer in my room,” said Heather Morris, “My kindergarteners and first graders wave the QR code on their QuickCard and they’re instantly inside ClassLink with all the apps that they need.”
Coordinator of Financial Services Kimberly Mathis said of single sign-on, that “being able to tell a new bookkeeper ‘here’s your one-stop shop for all your work resources,’ and clicking on ClassLink from any computer or workstation” has been a tremendous help. Integrating the financial services team into ClassLink redefined Fort Mill’s resource request process and how they allocated funds.
That’s where Analytics enters the picture. “The analytics piece has changed the purchasing decisions for digital applications,” said Mathis. ClassLink Analytics “empowers bookkeepers and admin teams to maximize the usage of their school funds,” said Spittle, allowing them “to give teachers what they want thoughtfully and responsibly.”
“ClassLink makes everything flow so much better. Not only does it help our teachers, but it also helps district staff and school administration—it’s given us a huge advantage,” said Kiersten Hart. And Hart isn’t the only one that feels that way, “Our teachers absolutely love learning with ClassLink, and the different departments we have partnered with love ClassLink, too.” said Rachel Holloway. Add helping teachers preserve instructional time to the mix and, “ClassLink is the perfect solution.”
Fort Mill's positive results from ClassLink don’t stop at improved access and streamlined rostering, either. The district’s implementation of Analytics has impacted more than decision-makers Holloway shared, “it’s sparked some healthy competition! Our schools like to know when they are the most active school in ClassLink and we highlight the schools with the highest usage.” The reporting capabilities of Analytics as well as the unintended boost to logins and app usage have also provided Fort Mill with a way to “focus on the digital equity throughout the district,” proving again that ClassLink is key to successful digital learning for all students.