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Case Study

Faster Hiring and Easier Onboarding for a Small HR Department

Sue Keffer, Chief Human Resources Officer at Fredericksburg City Schools, says Frontline helps her team be more efficient and move quickly to fill positions.

Fredericksburg City Schools Hero Image

District Background

Fredericksburg City Schools and Frontline:

  • Efficiency in Hiring: Frontline equips the HR team to quickly access applications, assess candidates, and communicate with principals about potential hires. This efficiency is particularly valuable in a competitive market for teaching talent, enabling the district to act fast on promising candidates, especially in critical areas like special education.
  • Streamlined Onboarding and Employee Records Management: The school district is aiming to make onboarding much more efficient, saving time both for HR staff and new hires, making it possible for employees.
  • Comprehensive Absence Management: The HR team uses Frontline to monitor teacher absences closely, place substitutes quickly, and identify teachers who may need additional support.
  • Teacher Evaluations: Fredericksburg City Schools is now looking to use Frontline Professional Growth to manage the teacher evaluation process, moving away from paper and pencil toward a more integrated digital approach.

“The people who love to be here, love to be here because of the children we support. That is part of why I have been here since 1989.”

Sue Keffer, Chief Human Resources Officer at Fredericksburg City Schools, leads a small HR team tasked with staffing and supporting the small but diverse school district. Fredericksburg has a growing English Learner population, 12% of students who are part of special education, and many students who are economically disadvantaged — every student receives free breakfast and lunch every day — and Sue is proud of the fact that many alumni return to the district to teach. “We call them our boomerang teachers. We love hiring them because they know what our population is like and they know what they’re getting into.”

Recruiting to Reflect Student Demographics

“Every year we have a goal, while we’re recruiting, of attracting more candidates who look like our children. We work very hard to grow the diversity of our teacher population in particular,” Sue says. Competition for teacher candidates is high, as students who graduate with a teaching degree are likely to have their choice of districts. Although Fredericksburg City Schools attends many recruiting events at colleges and universities, Sue sees more success hosting their own local job fairs, since anyone who attends likely already has an interest in the district.

Sue’s team works hard to move quickly when an interested candidate applies. One way they’re able to do that is by using Frontline Recruiting & Hiring.

Hiring Faster with Frontline

Sue logs into Frontline daily to see who has applied for positions, and the principals in the district do as well. “Every day I go in, check applicants, and look at when they have submitted an application and where they are,” Sue says, adding that they have already hired a new teacher for the following year who is moving back to the area from North Carolina. “We interviewed her by Zoom, hired her, and she’ll be with us next year. It allows those kinds of things to be at my fingertips and I can easily check them every single day.”

“It has definitely been beneficial as far as the hiring process goes.”

Sue Keffer

Sue collaborates with her principals using Frontline, forwarding applications they receive and evaluating qualifications and eligibility. “We truly use it day in and day out. It is a quick way for us to communicate what the applicant pool is and for them to check the applicant pool and work with us to see: what is licensure like? Are they under contract? Everything that we need to know if we can move forward with a candidate is right there.”

Frontline gives Sue and her team the ability to hire quickly when needed and makes it easy to reach out to candidates to set up interviews and onboarding appointments. “It saves us a ton of time every week because everything is right there. In the last two weeks, we have probably set up four interviews with folks that we could very quickly see were not under contract with somebody else. You don’t let a minute go by. When you have a special ed candidate who is not under contract and has applied to your division, you jump on it today,” she says. “I can shoot it to our Director of Special Ed: ‘We’ve got to get this done.’”

“We are a very small department, so anything we can do to make ourselves more efficient, we are doing so.”

Sue Keffer

Expanding the Use of Frontline

The HR Department at Fredericksburg City Schools has been using Frontline Recruiting & Hiring and Absence & Time for as long as Sue has been in the district. Now, they are looking to Frontline to improve other processes.

Onboarding & Employee Records

Until now, onboarding at Fredericksburg was done with paper and pencil. Eileen Pospisil handles all onboarding and contract renewals. “Eileen processes everybody who comes through the door for the division, and the time that it takes if none of that paperwork is done is just not efficient, and it’s not all stored in one place,” Sue says.

The team is implementing Frontline Central to ensure new hires are ready to hit the ground running on day one. “We are working to get our onboarding done primarily through Frontline, which I think is going to save us a lot of time and have folks come in ready to be onboarded instead of having to sit here with Eileen and fill out all of the paperwork face to face.”

“Eileen will use it to reach out to them to set an appointment for them to come in to be onboarded. It is a quick central place for all that communication to happen, both between HR and the buildings, between HR and the employee, and between the buildings and the employee. It is very quick and so user friendly.”

Sue Keffer

Access to employee data also allows Sue to do much of her job from anywhere. “It is invaluable. We have been home for three snow days, and if I needed to reach out to and call a teacher and or a staff member, I go into Frontline Central. It’s right there and I can contact them. I continue to be connected wherever I am.”

Teacher Evaluations

Fredericksburg is also switching to Frontline Professional Growth to manage teacher evaluations — another process that has been paper-based until now. Sue says that staff have gotten to know Frontline, and it helps to have one system for employee information. “It’s all in one place. I do not have to go to several different management systems. And it means our teachers are comfortable with it, our staff are comfortable with it. They know Frontline.”

Managing Absences

Sue and the team are very conscious of teacher absence rates, especially because the competition for substitutes is fierce. “Eileen goes [into Absence Management] every morning and we look at what the fill rate is. We can communicate with subs; subs can communicate with us. It’s really efficient as far as getting substitutes in the building the best that we can.”

They also use Absence Management to identify teachers who may need support. “If we notice that somebody has been out three days, we’re watching, because we may need to get them FMLA paperwork. We need to make sure that they’re okay. It allows us, from a central location, to have a better handle on our employees and how we can support them.”

“It allows us to look at the whole picture of our teachers and see who they are and then be able to reach out to them personally.”

Sue Keffer

People First

Why did Fredericksburg City Schools choose Frontline rather than another company to streamline so many HR processes? For Sue, it comes down to the level of support she receives and the fact that Frontline understands the needs of human resources in a school district.

“Anytime I reach out to folks at Frontline, I get an answer, I get a response, and very often I get a person who will show up at our door without much delay. I really feel like the people that we have worked with have understood what our needs are and responded because they know that we are in the business of working with people.”

“Other places talk to me about programs, and I feel like Frontline understands the people part of it. I don’t know if that makes a whole lot of sense unless you’re in HR. There are systems that will work and do things, but when I talk to the people at Frontline, we talk people and what is going to make things most efficient for us and for our employees.”

Sue Keffer