Counseling in Schools is a 30-year-old not-for-profit organization in New York City focused on implementing strength-based counseling programs for children and families and partnering with school administrators to improve student outcomes. While the organization has been successful because of their work, they had always struggled to quantify it, which had been an enormous limitation; assessing outcomes against objectives based on several variables is key to the success of the organization’s programs as well as to future planning and growth.
Gathering the data to perform such evaluations was at best slow and cumbersome. School counselor activities were entered in handwritten logs that were faxed and transcribed into multiple spreadsheets by administrative staff. Assembling meaningful information from which analysis could be conducted was virtually impossible. To make matters worse, this information is required for invoicing, a process which was consequently replete with delays.
Working with senior executives, the administrative staff and representative field staff, InterSoft documented the existing processes and identified key areas that could be automated. It was determined that the best solution would be to create a secure portal where counselors could input data directly regarding interactions with students in addition to relevant school and student information.
InterSoft has been able to assess our needs and translate them to the world of online software solutions. Being good listeners, savvy technicians and highly responsive are standout qualities in working with InterSoft Associates.
The software system InterSoft created sped data collection and accuracy and eliminated the need to fax and transcribe information. The data that is gathered will provide the basis for improved analytics, enabling Counseling in Schools to measure activities vs. proven outcomes such as improved attendance, grades and graduation rates. An additional benefit that was not initially foreseen was that the system facilitated more timely billing of clients, providing improved cash flow. Furthermore, as employees are no longer engaged in manual processes, administrative staff can focus on more critical tasks. This project has become a long-term strategic endeavor for the organization and new capabilities with their own benefits will be incorporated over time.