When the Mississippi Department of Education created the Mississippi Connects initiative in response to COVID-19 – which provided every student with a digital device – the technology leaders in West Jasper School District and Jones County School District faced the same struggle: how to set up, manage, and securely connect almost 10,000 students with new technology. Despite serving different student and staff populations, Corey Price (Technology Coordinator, West Jasper School District) and Patrick Robinson (Director of Technology, Jones County School District) knew they needed a solution for their districts.
With an influx of digital applications available due to the Mississippi Connects grant, Price and Robinson faced the dual challenge of organizing both new devices and the credentials for students, too. Rostering students for new applications, facilitating quick and easy access to learning materials on new devices, and tracking usage became their top priority.
Secure Access Combined with Reliable Analytics and IAM
Deploying the devices to the districts’ students was the first hurdle Price and Robinson faced. Using ClassLink Roster Server to create new accounts for all users, both leaders immediately recognized Roster Server’s efficiency.
“Roster Server takes the information from our SIS and ties students to applications instantly without any interaction from the student or teacher,” Price noted, praising the tool for saving his team from manual rostering processes and connecting students to applications quicker than ever before. For Robinson, remotely troubleshooting account issues with students and teachers through Roster Server’s “impersonate feature” was a game-changer: “I can see exactly what’s going on without having to visit a school or take a student’s device. It’s a big time saver.”
However, connecting students with applications through Roster Server and provisioning student accounts using ClassLink OneSync was just one piece of the puzzle. Now that both districts had access to more applications and learning resources, it took more work for their curriculum leaders to decide which applications to keep or sunset and where to invest their state education funds.
Noting the ability of ClassLink Analytics to “break everything down into actual hours and minutes for each application’s usage,” Price and Robinson were most impressed by the insights the tool granted their curriculum directors. “We’re trying to make data-driven decisions in everything we do. Now, the curriculum director can see who’s using what, how often, and if we’re getting the return we expect on our software investments,” Robinson shared.
Learning Success in a Post-Pandemic World
Now, three years into the Mississippi Connects program, with the help of ClassLink’s comprehensive Identity and Access Management Suite (IAM), Price and Robinson are optimistic about ClassLink’s future in their districts.
Sharing his experience with ClassLink three years into implementation, Robinson says, “It’s vital that we have ClassLink, and I don’t know that I’d want to do this job post-pandemic without it.”
“ClassLink has taken student logins from ten minutes to two minutes,” Price says, “The regaining of instructional time and the ability to deliver resources remotely, if needed, has been wonderful.”
Mississippi schools agreed that “the solutions from ClassLink fit our needs perfectly.”