Case Study: Visions in Education
Northern California’s Leading Provider of Independent Study and Home School Programs Partners with School Pathways to Deliver Personalized, Online Education at Scale
The educators at Visions in Education have been working for over 20 years to advance their mission of preparing each student to succeed in our rapidly changing world. They provide a high-quality standards-based education to Home School families (TK-12) and Independent Study High School students (9-12), including their University Prep High School program. Visions is Northern California’s leading provider of Independent Study and Home School Programs, serving over 7,000 students each year.
In addition to being experts in personalized, online instruction Visions has an experienced technology team tasked with building, integrating and maintaining their internally developed software systems. When Visions made the decision to replace their homegrown Student Information System (SIS) several years ago, they sought to implement SIS and learning technology that would enable them to deliver outstanding personalized instruction at scale. This meant selecting a vendor whose solutions supported their requirements for virtual instruction and Independent Study while allowing their team to extend and integrate the (vendor’s) products with Vision’s proprietary systems.
Michael Brubaker, Visions Director of Operations explained the problem: “We needed something to support us with the legal aspects of Independent Study providing us with efficiencies to support the growth we had planned. We also needed products that would support our programming enhancements so we could put more focus on some of the key pieces of virtual and personalized instruction.”
In working through the SIS selection process it was clear to Brubaker that many of the most commonly used SIS vendors would not work for Visions. Brubaker explained, “We knew the SIS systems used by our local district did not have the Independent Study features we needed. For example, they did not support Master Agreements or accommodate storing work samples.”
At the conclusion of their SIS selection process, Visions selected School Pathways, a company with a unique product set that includes both an SIS and a Personalized Learning System (PLS) purpose-built for managing virtual instruction and Independent Study.
In the lead-up to Vision’s implementation of School Pathways products managing onerous and time-consuming IS-compliance requirements, such as collecting and keeping track of paper Master Agreements, student work samples, and attendance sheets was becoming very difficult. Visions staff was struggling with the burden of managing virtual instruction and Independent Study for a student body that had expanded over the years from a few hundred students to several thousand.
Once they implemented School Pathways SIS and PLS, Visions found that their instructors were able to work more efficiently and had an easier time managing Independent Study instruction and compliance. Brubaker shared, “School Pathways PLS has increased our accountability making it easier to manage and track down documents. If we are missing this, or missing that we can get those instructional artifacts much quicker than we used to.” With the help of School Pathways, Visions was able to efficiently scale as their school enrollment grew from a couple of thousand students to the over 7,000 students they serve today.
Visions and School Pathways continue to enthusiastically support one another’s growth; Brubaker described the great combination of products and support his staff at Visions receives from School Pathways. “The professionalism and the support that comes from School Pathways is amazing. They have great products but you combine that with their ability to accept feedback and their ability to be proficient in their training and working with us to ensure we know how the functionality works and how to make it work in our environment and infrastructure, it is a winning combination,” said Brubaker.
The partnership between Visions in Education and School Pathways is rooted in a shared commitment to helping every student find their individual path to success. The organizations embrace individualized, online instruction and view this method of education as highly desirable for an ever-increasing number of families and students. Together, Visions and School Pathways provide the care, educational expertise and the technology to provide great personalized education experiences for the students they serve.