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Case Study

Spring Grove Area School District

District Background

Tucked in the rolling farmland of south central Pennsylvania, Spring Grove Area School District is becoming a “destination district” where teachers want to work and children want to learn. In partnership with families, businesses, and community organizations, they strive to provide a safe and engaging learning environment. Yet achieving that requires hiring and retaining staff who will challenge and motivate students. To do this, the district’s key strategy is simple: serve their employees well.

The Challenge

When AnJie Doll arrived at the Spring Grove Area School District in 2016, she found the HR department managing employee records on spreadsheets. With no electronic tracking system, monitoring and reporting were subject to error and not always reliable. The experience for employees had some challenges — and stood in the way of Spring Grove’s efforts to become a destination district.

Assessing the current situation, AnJie focused on collaborating with stakeholders, administrators, and colleagues to understand how to meet their needs. Then she created a list of new initiatives to achieve the district’s goals:

  • Automate the interviewing process and make it easier
  • Track candidates and evaluate results of interviews
  • Improve the candidate experience
  • Accurately record and store new hire information electronically
  • Track employee position history from year to year

The Solution

AnJie and her team began hunting for an HR management system that could help them easily see where staff members were from year to year and what positions they held. There were several must-haves for any system:

  1. Data entry and reporting had to be easy, accurate, and available on-demand.
  2. The system needed to manage the employee lifecycle from interview to hiring and onboarding, all the way through retention.
  3. The system had to be easy to navigate for all users.
AnJie Doll Photo

“It’s really important that we focus on a great employee experience for our staff members because of the challenges that are currently facing public education.”

AnJie Doll
– Director of Human Resources

AnJie found the solution in Frontline HRMS. From the very start, every pain point was addressed. Frontline HRMS stores interview notes in the applicant tracking system. Quality applicants are easily identified and sent through the pipeline to the next round of interviews. As soon as the top candidate is selected and hired, onboarding kicks off in Frontline Central. New employees immediately have access to tools and resources that will make their jobs easier.

The day a new employee begins at the district, no matter the position, they hit the ground running. Using a Frontline ID, a single login lets employees select benefits, track leave time, request time off, or update their profiles with address changes. The HR team is always available to answer any questions and ensure the new employee’s experience is welcoming and empowering.

The Results

In today’s world, it’s a challenge to recruit and hire enough qualified teachers and administrators. With fewer applicants for hard-to-fill positions, districts often need to get creative. Having the tools to be proactive allows them to reach out to candidates with specific certifications and educational backgrounds while at the same time seeking to increase diversity. In the past, Spring Grove would have waited for those candidates to find them. They’re not waiting around anymore.

First impressions

One of those applicants was Dr. Marvin London, now an assistant elementary principal in the Spring Grove Area School District. He was drawn by the collaborative atmosphere and the cohesiveness of the new employee experience.

“I found the hiring process to be seamless. Everything I needed came through Frontline to my inbox.”

Dr. Marvin London
– Assistant Principal

Onboarding is every new employee’s first experience with the district and sets the tone for their career at Spring Grove.

  • The onboarding process sets up all employees for success
  • New hires have access to Frontline on day one
  • Paperwork that used to take hours to complete at the desk of an HR clerk is now automated and broken into clear, sequential tasks
  • Training modules for all new hires are easily accessible through the same system

With paperwork out of the way, Marvin was ready to step right into his role working with students and staff. Relying on Frontline to help, he supports teachers and makes sure qualified substitutes are in classrooms when needed.

Instead of scrambling to contact individual substitutes to take specific assignments, Frontline’s Absence Management system helps the district maintain a fill rate of over 80%, a rarity these days! Marvin will tell you that the main reason substitutes choose Spring Grove schools over neighboring districts is that substitutes feel welcome and supported.

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From applicant to employee

Large scale change can be daunting, but transitioning from spreadsheets to a web-based system went smoothly for Spring Grove. After initially focusing on the applicant experience in the hiring process, AnJie’s next priority was to improve the entire employee experience with the addition of other connected Frontline systems.

Kaylyn Ford, a Business Education teacher at Spring Grove Area High School, described using the Frontline system as “settling for my brain, for my heart, for my wallet.” A single login makes navigating benefits enrollment, training, and other professional activities easy. Frontline Professional Growth integrates employee evaluation with professional learning, making the entire process easier and more impactful for all users. After an observation, a teacher can log in to Frontline, review feedback, sign up for relevant professional learning activities, and complete required paperwork in a single platform. Administrators can also recommend targeted learning opportunities based on evaluation results.

More time for students

Spring Grove is making it easier for teachers and staff to manage their own records online, from new hire paperwork to their professional growth journeys. How does that translate to improved student achievement? Simply by eliminating extra hoops to jump through, teachers have more time to focus on the needs of their students.

Kaylyn would agree. After transitioning to the classroom from a job outside of education, she was impressed with the way the HR team supported her. The collaborative environment and sense of community at her school convinced Kaylyn that she had made the right choice.

Customer support

“What used to take a week takes just a few minutes.”

AnJie Doll
– Director of Human Resources

Frontline’s tools have proven to be invaluable. The HR team uses prebuilt forms for documentation and reporting and can easily adapt or revise them as needed. Having all the information in one place makes it simple to copy, paste, and submit. And it happens in seconds rather than the hours or days it would have taken in the past.

At Spring Grove, an intention survey is sent out to teachers each year to determine how many open positions to expect. With Frontline Central, HR now sends out a form and tracks the results electronically instead of manually. Automating the process not only gets the information back earlier but also helps begin the planning process much sooner than in past years.

Client success matters

“The sky’s the limit in terms of how we maximize the use of Frontline products to meet the needs of our staff.”

AnJie Doll
– Director of Human Resources

AnJie is excited about what the future has in store. There is no doubt that Spring Grove Area School District is becoming a destination employer. They are attracting and retaining excellent teachers and staff. As they consider new ideas for improving the employee experience, it’s clear that Spring Grove truly serves their community — and that their partnership with Frontline is a key element of their success.

“We had an opening for an administrative position and found the most diverse candidate pool that we’ve ever experienced.”

AnJie Doll
– Director of Human Resources