Several consecutive years of making budget cuts combined with a recent state budget appropriation resulted in staff reductions and left Wayzata Public Schools evaluating whether to continue with its plan to implement new programming to strengthen their safety and regulatory compliance processes or to scale back expenditures. To decide if the programming was worth the expense, Wayzata Public Schools piloted PublicSchoolWORKS’ Student Accident Management System with district nurses and the Online Staff Training System with the administrative team this past school year with extremely positive feedback. As a result, Wayzata Public Schools will begin a full implementation of the Student Accident Management System and the EmployeeSafe Suite this year.
“Our nurses loved the Student Accident Management System so much they were trying to process reports and advance them to the investigation phase – as if the product were already in place and not just a private pilot,” said Jim Westrum, executive director of business and finance at Wayzata Public Schools. “Our district’s administrative team was also able to review a sample of the training and was so impressed with the system’s automation and reliability in reducing risk that we knew we wanted to implement it.”
Prior to the pilot, Wayzata Public Schools’ student accident reporting process relied on the manual completion of a student incident form, which was photocopied and then distributed to various parties. After distribution, it was difficult to review trends and take preventative actions to reduce the district’s risk as there was not one single repository to keep injury records. To stay on top of filed reports and track their completion, district staff often had to come into the office on weekends. The process created unnecessary risk and a substantial amount of manual effort trying to keep track of reports. For example, if a student was hurt and the principal did not immediately see the paper form, parents may not have been contacted immediately. This, along with not having a central location for all related records, left the health and safety coordinator unable to create a prevention plan because similar incidents may have gone unnoticed.
The Student Accident Management System streamlines the reporting and investigating of student accidents, along with the resolution of the associated hazards. As soon as an accident occurs, a staff member submits an online accident report. The system then automatically alerts the principal and other necessary staff via email to take action, thus making the principal aware so that appropriate communication with parents can be accomplished quickly. A central online incident library maintains the records so the health and safety coordinator can see if a similar accident has previously occurred, which can shed light on potential prevention tactics.
Wayzata Public Schools will use EmployeeSafe to manage safety and regulatory compliance requirements. The suite’s systems automate the deployment, tracking and completion of online staff training, compliance tasks, employee accident management and more. The suite also includes an online Safety Data Sheet (SDS) system, addressing district requirements for handling dangerous chemicals.
The Student Accident Management System and EmployeeSafe helped accomplish three district goals. First, students are safer because incidents are reported quickly and the district uses the accident data to create prevention initiatives. Secondly, the improved reporting and automation speaks to the district’s goal of “operational excellence” – an initiative that was created to build and maintain the surrounding community’s confidence and trust in the district’s processes. Lastly, it is helping the district avoid unnecessary risk and associated expenditures. The local school board and community place a high value on prudent financial practices, which has allowed the district to receive and maintain a “AAA” bond rating since 2008. The AAA bond rating has been awarded to the district by Moody’s Investors Service due to “evidence of the district’s strong financial health.” While the distinction has advantages such as access to lower interest rates and borrowing costs, equally important is the message it sends that the district is committed to operational excellence in all of its matters.
“The value of PublicSchoolWORKS is worth the expenditure,” said Westrum. “I would imagine that even in a smaller district with fewer resources, it would be more valuable to use PublicSchoolWORKS than trying to piecemeal together a program. It is comprehensive, scalable and provides the same level of assurance regardless of district size.”