Caledonia Community Schools
- Caledonia, MI
- PreK-12 Enrollment
- Early Childhood Center: 1
- Elementary Schools: 5
- Middle Schools: 2
- High School: 1
- Certified teachers: 258
- Other staff: 218
- Caucasian/White: 94%
- Hispanic: 2%
- African American/Black: 1%
- Asian: 2%
- Two or more races: 2%
- Frontline Professional Growth
- Professional Learning Management
- Learning & Collaboration Resources
- Frontline Recruiting & Hiring
- Applicant Tracking
- Frontline Absence & Time
- Absence & Substitute Management
- Frontline Central
Caledonia Community Schools is a high-performing suburban/rural district not far from Grand Rapids, MI. A strong sense of pride and purpose encourages collaboration as all departments work toward a common goal: creating a positive learning environment and the optimum academic experience for all students.
After a period of slow, steady growth, Caledonia has recently started to experience growing pains as more city dwellers move out to the suburbs. To maintain their reputation as a desirable district, they knew it was time to update their practices. That meant streamlining recruiting and hiring, onboarding, and training new employees while meeting the professional growth needs of a diverse workforce at the same time.
Every department needed to replace paper-based processes with a reliable electronic system. Caledonia turned to Frontline for help.
Putting it all together
Frontline Central, part of Frontline’s integrated Human Capital Management (HCM) suite, now manages all employee records for Caledonia, allowing them to synchronize hiring, professional growth, and absence management. No longer using different systems in each department, Caledonia has revolutionized their workflow and streamlined processes. A single login puts data within easy reach of all users who need access to information, from district administrators to the employees themselves.
Streamlined onboarding process
The first step was to improve the hiring and onboarding process for HR. Part of a consortium of 23 districts using Frontline Recruiting & Hiring, Caledonia has access to a broader pool of candidates than standalone school systems. With more applicants, they had to find a way to sort and track their top choices.
Caledonia integrated Recruiting & Hiring with the entire Frontline platform, enabling a single sign-on for all users. Frontline Central became the hub where all personnel information is processed and stored. When an applicant is hired, the information they provided on their application automatically populates their personnel profile in Frontline Central — no need for HR staff to enter it.
“As soon as a candidate is selected, the application is uploaded to Frontline Central. References are completed separately and saved to Frontline Central once the onboarding process is complete.”
To streamline onboarding, Caledonia created a checklist for each separate step required, from start to finish. The form begins with admin approvals before routing electronically to HR, Technology, Key Access, Payroll, the Professional Growth Coordinator, Special Education and the Sub Coordinator.
Laurie King, the HR assistant, monitors the entire process, making sure it flows to and from each department on time. If a step stalls, she analyzes the holdup to keep the workflow moving. Once the last step has been completed, the form returns to Laurie, who will notify the principal or department head that a new employee is ready to start.
From complex to convenient
Already familiar with using Frontline for substitute management, the Finance and Business team agreed it made sense to connect Time & Attendance to Absence Management. That simple change resulted in eliminating the need for paper timecards. Payroll got a lot less complicated, too.
“Everyone’s schedules are set. When there’s a holiday, it’s already preset in the system.”
Before Frontline, every holiday, every vacation, and every half-day meant the payroll clerk had to look back at each contract and figure out which pay schedule hourly employees were on. Contracts at Caledonia are known to be remarkably complex, so having the capacity to calculate leave time automatically saves a tremendous amount of time and effort.
Caledonia is growing, and it’s also in transition. Following their strategic plan for growth involves shifting schedules and changing grade-level configurations. The pandemic added another twist when teachers unexpectedly retired or went on leave and substitutes were hard to find. Fortunately, Frontline was already in place to help manage the astronomical number of staff changes.
So long, spreadsheets!
Frontline Professional Growth turned out to be the solution to multiple challenges for the curriculum department. With so many employees, each with different certification requirements, tracking professional development hours for teachers was labor intensive. Uploading the data to the state was time consuming. Frontline allows the curriculum department staff to access employee records easily, create reports, and offer a wide range of learning opportunities to Caledonia teachers and specialists.
“The bigger we’re getting, the harder it is to have so many different databases of information. The biggest goal is to have it all housed in one location to make it easier on all of our staff.”
Caledonia offers an extensive list of professional development opportunities. Some are curriculum or content based; others focus on diversity and equity training. All are aligned to the strategic plan.
Not only can the curriculum department run reports on session participation, but also teachers know how to track their own progress and create individual lists of courses they have completed. Principals see at a glance what professional development opportunities their teachers have attended.
Strategic planning pays off
“At Caledonia, everything’s focused on providing the best learning environment, the best academic experience, and cultivating our next group of kids to go out and do great things in the world.”
Caledonia works hard to recruit top teachers for their district. Although applicants have a wide range of choices among districts, many are drawn to the positive culture and high performance of Caledonia schools.
“I’m hoping that the relationships that we build with individuals are going to be what makes them want to stay with us.”
Having a secure online database has been a major asset for every department, especially during COVID. Back in the days when they were doing a lot of work manually, binders or folders kept in offices may not have been accessible to staff forced to work at home. With Frontline, it’s easy to access data remotely. Payroll still gets processed on time, subs are hired when needed, and professional growth is available to teachers and easy to track.
“I like the way I can track professional growth so much easier than creating my own spreadsheets.”
Facing a sub shortage as well as a teacher shortage, absences pose a challenge for all schools these days. Caledonia has hired permanent site-based subs for each campus, but there are gaps. With the help of Frontline’s Absence Management, the district is able to maintain a 90% fill rate most days.
“I can remember when everything was on paper, and I had a phone in my home. Teachers called, and I manually logged the absences and made all those calls. This process has been so much easier. Of course, there’s a severe sub shortage, so it’s been a challenge, but we’re making it work.”
Sabrina Gunning worried about how she would manage their complicated payroll requirements. She wondered, “How are we going to get this system to work for what we need?” The Frontline team was very supportive and helped each staff member work through exactly how they needed to set up the system to work for their department. Not a one-size-fits-all kind of program, Frontline can adapt to meet the specific needs unique to each district.
Answers are just a support ticket away when a staff member in any department needs help creating a new report or task. And as users master the systems they work with daily, they discover the software offers a myriad of capabilities yet to be explored.
About Frontline Education
Frontline Education is a leading provider of school administration software, empowering strategic K-12 leaders with the right tools, data and insights to proactively manage human capital, business operations, student information and special education.
Educational organizations representing over 80,000 schools and millions of educators, administrators and support personnel have partnered with Frontline Education in their efforts to develop the next generation of learners. Frontline is dedicated to driving engagement across K-12 school systems and supporting the continuous improvement of employee effectiveness and efficiency with solutions for proactive recruiting and hiring, absence and time, professional growth, student information systems, special education, school health management, payroll, benefits and financial management.
Frontline Education corporate headquarters are in Malvern, PA, with offices in Roseville, CA; Salinas, CA; Andover, MA; Walled Lake, MI; Rockville Centre, NY; Williamsville, NY; Brecksville, OH and Austin, TX.
Learn more at www.FrontlineEducation.com