Access to real-time data improves early childhood education for at-risk children
Educational First Steps
For twenty-five years, Educational First Steps (EFS) has been transforming daycare centers in low-income neighborhoods into nationally accredited early learning centers. Their goal is to set at-risk children on a path to success by improving the quality of early childhood education through mentoring, training, and monitoring early learning centers in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.
A powerful tool in this effort is a custom-built website, called the Mentoring Academy and Assessment Profile (MAAP), that enables EFS staff to efficiently collect and display data, identify areas of need, and track results of their work. “MAAP has been very beneficial on our end by streamlining a process for our field staff to use to bring centers to quality,” says Samantha Moya, Senior Director of Early Learning Programs. “It speeds up the time it takes for the early learning centers to get to accreditation, reducing the time frame by about 20 months when compared to before we had the system.”
Custom dashboards and real-time data
Skvare developed a private website for EFS called the Mentoring Academy and Assessment Profile (MAAP). MAAP gives management and staff access to educational Standards guides (comprised of NAC, NAEYC and State Licensing requirements), tracks mentoring and training levels for individual educators, displays site visit progress, assessments, reports, and manages training registration. No longer victims to outdated information, EFS staff now have access to up-to-date documents and reports. MAAP gives EFS field specialists the ability to enter data from their site visits in real time. As a result, the data is immediately transformed into reports on dashboards that show progress toward goals for each early learning educator and center. At the granular level, EFS staff can see which of the 227 educational Standards a teacher has mastered, and percentage progress towards attaining their Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential.
EFS Executive Director John Breitfeller acknowledges Skvare for the increase in funding because the MAAP system allows him to show funders the results of their work supported by real data.
A searchable calendar displays information on training workshops at the Educational First Steps Early Learning Center in Dallas. Educators can register for the workshops online, and the system automatically adds the credentials to the educator’s personnel record upon completion. At a glance, a childcare center director can see the training levels of each staff member and even register individual employees for workshops.
Training and support
Skvare provided more than 60 hours of training with their data analysts and senior management, meeting on site, via phone, and email. They trained staff on how to get the most out of the website to help them in their jobs.
Skvare provides fully-managed hosting on dedicated servers, optimized for data protection, security and performance. Samantha Moya, Senior Director of Early Learning Programs, confirms, “Knowing that MAAP is safe and sound with Skvare is comforting. I feel confident that we won’t ever lose any information. I don’t have to worry. Skvare gives me that confidence.”
The new website helped Educational First Steps become more organized and efficient. Customized dashboards and report snapshots show EFS specialists and assessors where there are gaps in training. As a result, early learning centers can more quickly achieve accreditation because it’s easy to track what goals they’ve met and what remains to be done. Research shows high-quality early education is key to long-term success, and it’s often the poorest children who are going without. When so much is at stake, it’s comforting to know that EFS is armed with the best tools to help them meet the challenge and increase learning in hundreds of classrooms each year.
The password-protected website is accessible only by EFS staff. You can learn more about Educational First Steps by visiting their public-facing website.
To learn more about this project or other CiviCRM solutions, please visit Skvare.
Educational First Steps needed a cloud-based solution to:
- Manage contacts for individuals and organizations;
- Track the steps towards accreditation for early learning centers;
- Display dashboards for each staff position, showing useful listings and reports;
- View and input data from any place with internet access; and
- Manage all educational Standards-related data, contacts, and training events in one place.
EFS initially used a shared drive of more than 200 PDF’s, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets which included embedded links to graphs, charts, and tables. Versioning and editing permissions were not easy to control. EFS wanted to deliver the training materials in an online format that could be maintained by staff and give their field specialists remote access to real-time data.
Along with managing documents, EFS needed to track the large amount of data and intricate steps required for each early learning center to attain national accreditation. The process spans over a period of approximately 40 months and involves multiple site visits, monitoring each educator's progress, and aligning early learning centers with best practices for education and safety.
Peter Petrik, CEO
Mark Hanna, Senior Developer
"The thing that’s so beneficial is that MAAP allows us to make data-driven decisions. We’re using our own information, not someone else’s. It tells the best story of the impact we’re making."
Samantha Moya, Senior Director of Early Learning Programs
Why did this project use CiviCRM?
CiviCRM, coupled with Drupal, is well-suited for handling the contact information, user access and data reporting for more than 400 educators in early learning centers across a five county service area.