Customer Stories

Estem Public Charter School

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eStem Public Charter Schools was able to drastically reduce the time needed to review and approve applications–making life easier for students and Admissions alike.

Quick Facts

  • Softdocs customer since 2008
  • Implemented in Finance and Admissions

Challenges

  • Time-consuming, paper intensive student admissions process
  • Redundant manual tasks in the Finance office
  • Lost, damaged and misfiled documents

Solutions

The Softdocs ECM Platform™

  • Electronic forms with Softdocs’ Self Service
  • Print Customization and Delivery simplified the laser printing process

“Once we implemented the check printing process, it completely changed everything for the better.”

Angie Weaver | Director of Reporting | eStem Public Charter Schools

Eliminating Redundant Business Processes

It wasn’t long between the time eStem Public Charter Schools opened in 2007 before they began searching for solutions to eliminate redundant business processes within their Finance and Admissions departments.

At the time, eStem was supplementing their existing, state-supplied finance solution with QuickBooks and Excel spreadsheets. Based on a recommendation from a local public school, eStem researched Softdocs as an option to improve operational processes. After a formal demonstration, they decided to move forward.

Finance

“Early on, the software we had didn’t support laser printers, so we consciously chose in the beginning to go with QuickBooks knowing at some point we would get an interface,” said Chief Financial Officer, Mark Milhollen. 

“We were printing checks in QuickBooks and then turning around to manually enter bills in our other software to avoid using ancient dot matrix technology.”

With Softdocs’ Print Customization and Delivery solution, raw print data from the state-provided accounting system could be customized and printed onto blank laser stock without any manual intervention. Checks, direct deposit notices and tax forms were now effortlessly printed. At the same time, a copy of each document was automatically captured, imaged, indexed and filed into the appropriate vendor or employee folder within the content management solution for record keeping purposes. 

“Once we implemented the check printing process, it completely changed everything for the better. I run checks at least once a week. Now they are entered by vendor and we can do purchase orders – all sorts of things,” said Angie Weaver, Director of Reporting, “It is almost night and day from where we were before.”

Admissions

Although applications were received through their website, eStem’s application system was not able to capture applicant information and transfer it to their student information system. This resulted in having to print each application and manually retype all the information into a separate database. With approximately 50 new applicants each week, the replication of work was wasting valuable time and money.

“I was having to manually put applications that were submitted into a spreadsheet. It was fairly stressful to have to print all of the applications out and then go and input the information,” explained Director of Admissions Rebecca Cleveland. “It would take about eight hours. Probably more time than that.”

Applications are still submitted online, but now flow through Softdocs’ Electronic Forms solution.“I log in to see if there are any pending applications then go in and approve each one. Once approved, it is transferred over to the database which generally takes about 5-10 seconds to go through and have it send over, then I click on the next one,” said Cleveland. 

“For 50 applications it takes me just 30 minutes to review and approve.” “I’m able to look at the information and quickly see what’s going on,” said Cleveland. Overall, the reduction of time involved in the application process has significantly improved the efficiency of the Admissions office.

Demographics and Sibling Preference

One of Cleveland’s most frequent responsibilities includes running demographic reports. With the electronic forms solutions’ ability to export data from its electronic forms, she is able to instantly gather this data.

“It is very easy to sort information and order it just the way I need it in seconds,” said Cleveland. 

“If I needed to search for a child a particular grade, then that information is already there rather than me trying to flip through [physical] documents. It’s 100 percent more convenient.”

Along with general application information, eStem’s forms also include an area to indicate if a sibling is already a student. Having the sibling preference information readily available has helped in identifying potential future students.

Anytime something needs to be altered with the system, Cleveland has always received timely service from the support staff at Softdocs. 

“If I need to make changes or have an issue, I call the support team and they make the changes for me online. They do a great job of getting my questions answered or issues resolved in a timely manner,” Cleveland commented.

Before Softdocs, printed records were stored in a large filing cabinet after being manually typed into a database. Now, Cleveland says, “all the information I need is right at my fingertips.” Ironically, she doesn’t have to lift a finger to get it there.

“I have been very happy with Softdocs and would certainly recommend using Softdocs to other schools,” said Cleveland. “Our system is so much more organized.”

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