Alvin Independent School District
Managing Explosive Growth of Special Student Populations with Ease
Alvin Independent School District at a Glance:
The story of how Frontline’s special education, 504 & ELL applications helped Alvin Independent School District stay committed to excellence as its population continued to expand.
Alvin Independent School District is a dynamic learning organization committed to excellence for each student and every program. Not far from Houston, Alvin is a rapidly growing district with enrollment increasing by well over 1,000 students annually. New schools are planned and built every year to keep up with projected expansion.
With such explosive growth, meeting the needs of all special education students can be challenging. In her role as a special education coordinator, Gaye McDaniel’s primary responsibility is compliance. Keeping up with the paperwork, and making sure all student records are in order, used to be incredibly time-consuming. The technology the district relied on for special education compliance just couldn’t keep up with the increasing influx of students. English language learner (ELL), 504 and RTI were all tracked on paper, with each department using its own unique system. Knowing there had to be a solution available, Gaye started the search for a provider that could meet their unique needs.
The Solution: Frontline Special Education Management
The district decided that switching to an electronic, paperless system would solve the problem. After searching for solutions, Gaye and her team were convinced that Frontline Special Education Management would be a good fit for them. While it took some time to complete the process of uploading historic assessments, evaluations and records that had been filed as hard-copies in student folders, the special education staff is thrilled to now have all the documentation they need for every student at their fingertips.
“We have to plan for this growth that we’re going to have over the next 10 years. We had to come up with a program that was going to be able to keep up with the growth.” – Gaye McDaniel, Coordinator of Special Education
Reliable service & access to records
After making the decision to go with Frontline and store their records electronically, Gaye needed assurance that the system wouldn’t go down, Frontline proved to have a reliable system of backup servers. When a fiber-optic line was cut 3000 miles away (unrelated to Frontline), the Frontline team immediately notified the district. The constant updates to the Alvin ISD staff reinforced to Gayle that they made the right decision.
The paper chase is over
Once the file-input process was completed and demographics were pulled in from the student information system, district staff could simply update records online as needed. Electronic documents for students who are ELLs or on a 504 plan are all stored in the same system. In the past, it often took up to an hour to search for folders that may have been kept at different locations and gather all the documents needed for a meeting. With Frontline, now it takes just minutes.
Compliance management is more accurate & efficient
Having the documentation in a single system makes the compliance process much easier and more accurate, and the special education staff feel confident that services and interventions are aligned to meet the needs of every student. Instead of having to go through each document in a student’s folder, coordinators for Special Education, ELL and 504 quickly spot-check student records online. Not only that, but when a staff member needs additional training on student-support-related tasks, it’s easy to review documentation and provide immediate feedback.
“If I’m working with a staff member that I’ve had to do some additional training with and I want to make sure they’re following through with my recommendations, then I’m able to pull all that information up here at my desk and review it.” — Gaye McDaniel
Benefits for teachers & students
Using Frontline Special Education Management saves time for busy teachers. Since working with hard-copies has been virtually eliminated, they no longer need to pull folders out of a file cabinet to work on student records or put them back to secure them.
Case managers can quickly input data or check students’ records to make sure that all their teachers have viewed the relevant documents, and send reminders when needed.
When a new student qualifies for special education services, the special education transportation coordinator is notified through Frontline. Before the end of the school day, the classroom teacher already knows the bus number along with the pickup and drop-off schedule.
Student accommodations, goals and behavior intervention plans are uploaded to the district’s student information system, allowing the general education teachers easy access to information that will help them support their students. Teachers not only know they have a student with special needs, but now they also have all the relevant details about that student.
Having access to Frontline Special Education Management helps administrators deal with student discipline, especially at the secondary level. As soon as a principal or assistant principal accesses a student’s records, along with background information and history, they can see if a student has a behavior intervention plan (BIP).
The group that truly benefits the most is the students themselves. Because staff has immediate access to accommodations, behavior plans, assessments and evaluations, they can provide direct support. If a student is struggling, it just takes a moment for a teacher to review their records to find out what instructional strategies would be most effective.
Improved workflow & communication
With increased efficiency and no hard-copy paperwork, teachers and support staff have more time to spend on students. As they realize how much using the online program helps them do their jobs, staff morale continues to improve.
Having all student records in one place means that if a student has a learning disability and is also a second-language learner, the committee has the information they need to determine how they can best meet that student’s needs. If a student was on a 504 plan before qualifying for special education, that history is in one place, making it much easier to track the progress the student has made over time.
If parents have questions or concerns, or plan to attend a meeting, information about their child is readily available to them. Since most of Alvin ISD parents prefer email communication, staff members use Frontline to securely email documents and forms to parents. When parents attend a meeting, they have access to their child’s records right on their phones.
Working together to prepare for tomorrow
Client support from Frontline gets an A++ from Gaye McDaniel. From the initial setup of the system to day-to-day questions, responses to questions are quick, and problems are usually fixed within an hour. Strong two-way communication provides regular opportunities for district leaders to meet with Frontline representatives to learn about current updates along with new and exciting things going on.