Located in the northern, rural sector of Monroe County, Michigan, the Airport Community School District includes approximately 2,550 students who attend seven schools within a 200 mile radius. Although Airport High School ranks in the top 5 percent of schools in Michigan, the district still faces many of the challenges that are typical of school districts in the area, in particular the difficulty of finding funding for new programs and finding ways to motivate students to achieve higher academic standards. To help surmount these issues, regular communication among the school district’s board members is critical.
A Communication Quandary
The district board members are typically elected as part-time officials. Because these busy professionals have full-time jobs in remote locations every day, board meetings are held in the evenings. In the days leading up to the meetings, the board superintendent’s administrative assistant would send out official documents via email. However, the messages would often not reach all of the recipients due to attachment file sizes that exceeded email server limits. In addition, numerous last-minute changes from multiple board members would often lead to confusion over which version was the most current. It got to the point where a reference to incorrect information was almost expected at the meetings.
The Cloud Solution
To resolve the file sharing difficulty, University Office Technologies, a Sharp authorized dealer, supplied the school board with 30 Cloud Portal Office (CPO) licenses. CPO is an award-winning document storage and sharing service that provides a convenient way to seamlessly connect to business content and easily share and collaborate with team members, whether remotely or during in-person conferences.
The first few licenses were assigned to each board member as well as to the superintendent’s assistant. There are plans to assign the remaining licenses to administrators throughout the schools in the district to further increase collaboration.
Now, instead of sending out emails during weekly communications, the superintendent has a folder within CPO that his assistant shares with the board members. All of the documents are contained in the folder, and CPO’s versioning clearly indicates which is the most updated to avoid confusion. Whenever a board member edits a file, even a last-minute change, everyone is made aware through an automatic notifications feature.
Quick, Easy and Efficient!
Despite a wide range of technology skills available among members of the board, everyone has been able to learn how to use CPO quickly and easily, and transitioning to the new communication method has been virtually seamless. As a result, stress levels seem to have been greatly reduced now that all board members can access the most up-to-date files right before as well as during board meetings. Additionally, certain CPO features have helped make the user experience even easier. These include a connector to the multifunctional printer (MFP) that allows for scanning to and printing from CPO, and a desktop sync feature, which allows board members to easily update documents from their laptops and share the most current version with everyone on the board in real time.
“Cloud Portal Office has greatly increased the efficiency in how we run school board business and has also contributed to us going paperless at our meetings,” says John Krimmel, School Board Superintendent, Airport Community Schools. “As a plus, the actual application is very easy and straightforward. Our administrator knows the program just by using it for a short time, so we imagine that when we extend it to our administrators, it will require minimal training.”