Union County Public Schools (UCPS) is the sixth-largest public school system in North Carolina. It serves 41,500 students at 53 schools and has approximately 5,000 staff members.
With a long-term goal of ensuring all students are equipped to succeed in college, career and life, UCPS takes the safety and well-being off students and staff seriously, putting a high priority on enforcing strong policies and eliminating harassment. But the school system didn’t have a streamlined system for reporting employee policy violations and sexual harassment claims for the district. Investigators were reporting using paper forms to answer just 14 questions. With limited information being collected and no digital storage, it was difficult to analyze the claims.
To improve data collection and processes, UCPS adopted an off-the-shelf system that was online but limited in scope. “There was no reporting and it wasn’t secure,” says Steve Simpson, Investigator, Union County Public Schools. “Everyone could see information in the system. It wasn’t customizable, and there was no way to link or cross-reference cases,” he says. It became obvious that a more efficient and powerful solution was required.
Coming from Law Enforcement, where they had a powerful online tool for logging and reporting on cases, Simpson saw the potential for vast improvement in the management of investigations. “We wanted something that was customizable and cost effective,” he says.
“With 53 schools, all with principals and assistant principals, we needed something that allowed them to make reports,” says Simpson. “And we wanted something that was really user-friendly. With all they already have to do we didn’t want to burden them with something that required a lot of training.”
The investigation team at UCPS determined that they needed a system that satisfied the following requirements:
- Secure, with tight privacy controls
- Offsite data management to eliminate the risk of server failures, storage issues and backups
- Easy to use with a guided intake process to capture the right information via drop-down lists
- Ability to upload video files to the case file
- Ability to generate templated closure letters for parents or victims of sexual harassment
- Notifications to alert investigators when new incidents are entered
- Responsive support and customer service
After doing extensive internet research, Simpson and his team found i-Sight, read testimonials from happy customers and decided that i-Sight had the security, flexibility and efficiency that the UCPS was looking for.
To answer the need for security, i-Sight provides mechanisms to set levels of access to ensure that everyone doesn’t have full visibility into case information. “They get an external link where they can just put information into the system without having to log in and see other cases,” says Simpson. Having a “read-only” designation and levels of access ensures that each person can see only the case information they need and changes can only be made by those who are permitted to make changes.
Simpson also appreciates the detailed oversight that i-Sight provides. “The reporting capabilities are especially useful, and being able to see who has done what makes people accountable,” he says.
Another game-changer for Simpson’s team is the ability to link cases. Being able to flag repeat harassers, or see multiple complaints about the same employee or issue is invaluable to UCPS and helps them to identify and address areas of risk in the district.
And the team’s need for exceptional customer service and support has been fulfilled. “i-Sight has been really responsive to our needs and great at giving suggestions and guidance when we were setting up the system,” he says.
i-Sight has been a huge time-saver for UCPS, providing efficient and quick access to detailed case information, much of which was simply not available previously, says Simpson. “When you get a request you can just do a quick search and all the cases come up in front of you immediately. In five minutes it’s done,” he says.
Simpson also appreciates the depth of information that is now available and the organized storage of all case-related information. “You don’t have to go to 14 different places to find what you need.” The ability to upload videos to the case file and access them immediately has eliminated issues with emailing or transferring large files, which often meant saving them to a device to be delivered to the recipient.
i-Sight’s reporting has been especially valuable to Simpson’s team. “I receive a report once a week on sexual harassment cases,” he says. “Our general counsel can generate reports for cabinet staff meetings and reports can be generated automatically.”
These reports help UCPS to monitor and address issues before they become larger problems. “For example, in transportation, we can see whether there are multiple issues with the same driver or at the same time of day or night or in the same location,” says Simpson. “Then we can decide if we need to provide more training.”
As a state agency it’s hard to quantify cost savings, but Simpson credits i-Sight for streamlining its processes and cutting out bureaucracy and paperwork.