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Green Bay Area Public Schools

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Giving 21,000 students secure access to online learning in Wisconsin’s Fourth-Largest District

Secure access to online learning

Keeping 21,000 students and their data safe online was critical when Green Bay Area Public Schools shifted to remote learning during emergency school closures. Teachers were inundated by offers for new and free resources to support them through an unprecedented worldwide move to remote learning.

So many new and unvetted tools during a tumultuous time could have put student security at risk. However, with ClassLink’s SSO platform in place, Joshua Patchak, Executive Director of Technology and Information, says staff, teachers, and families could rest assured students (and their data) were protected.

Patchak says with ClassLink; students can only access resources that adhere to the district’s strict guidelines around safety, privacy, and alignment to the curriculum. “The portal allows us to post which apps have been vetted, which are approved for use,” he explains.

Accessing resources wasn’t just secure; it was also consistent and quick. Students use only one set of login details to access everything they need for digital learning in ClassLink’s launchpad.

In fact, everyone in the district had secure access to a full ecosystem of digital resources at home, explains Patchak. “It wasn’t just virtual learning, a district of our size is a large business, and we had all these administrative functions that needed to move off-site. Having a launchpad allows us to put all those resources in one place for our staff.”

Hundreds of hours saved every day

Adopted by Green Bay to support their 1:1 program, ClassLink’s SSO functionality was already removing barriers to teaching and learning long before their switch to remote learning. The platform reduced the time it took for students to log in and access resources, giving teachers more time to spend with students.

“It does a lot for our users,” says Patchak. “It’s the one place they go to. It’s where they start their day—students and adults. Cumulatively, ClassLink helps save hundreds of hours a day in this district.”

Automated rostering saves time and money

For instance, ClassLink’s rostering capabilities reduced the time and money the district spent creating custom rostering integrations with vendors.

Patchak says before ClassLink, automating rostering to save teachers time was incredibly expensive and challenging. Using ClassLink’s OneSync provisioning with ClassLink Roster Server (which follows the OneRoster standard) helps. With this set up the district can provision accounts to roster students in third-party applications using just the data in their SIS—at no extra cost.

Analytics guide investment decisions

Once they’d addressed access and rostering issues, the district moved on to using ClassLink Analytics. Looking at detailed usage data for all of the district’s digital resources helped them understand students’ activities and habits.

“It’s important to look at the analytics after the technical implementation to make sure the resource is actually being used and being used with fidelity. To know whether this is something that the district should continue to invest in,” explains Patchak.

With so many benefits, Patchak says he can’t imagine going back to what it was like before ClassLink. “We would have chaos if we went backward and no longer had ClassLink available for students and staff.

“It’s the one place they go to. It’s where they start their day—students and adults. Cumulatively, ClassLink helps save hundreds of hours a day in this district.”

Joshua Patchak
Green Bay Area Public Schools