Nestled just north of Austin, Texas, Leander ISD is committed to fostering growth and innovation and preparing its students to excel in a rapidly changing global society. This fast-growing district boasts an impressive student population of 42,000 at 45 campuses, with plans for further expansion. The community is being reshaped by an influx of tech professionals to the area but includes a diverse mix of income demographics with 20% of students qualifying for free and reduced lunch. 54% of the student population is white and 25% is Hispanic.
“All the things that were clunky in the past are nice and smooth now. You can feel the commitment with Red Rover. We know we’re in good hands.”
Leander Independent School District
Leander ISD welcomes 1,000 additional students every year to its campuses. This rapid growth paired with the nationwide challenge of teacher recruitment and soaring living expenses in the area has made efficiently managing staffing, particularly substitute teachers, an all-encompassing endeavor for the district’s human resources team. John West, one of the district's five human resources directors, oversees all non-campus staff as well as food service, custodial, transportation, and substitute teachers. His team is dedicated to solving staffing issues and providing employment relations guidance.
“We have to be creative to stay relevant and competitive and in order to be able to put qualified teachers in front of our kids,” West explained. He added that during the pandemic, the economic situation and educator wages were not conducive to retaining experienced staff and substitutes. This compelled him and his team to seek innovative ways to fill gaps, including exploring certifications, international recruitment, and providing necessary teacher training.
Amidst a growing number of substitute teachers and a pressing need to improve fill rates, West and his team at Leander ISD needed a more effective and intuitive substitute management system to streamline operations. The district was struggling with an “outdated and clunky” system which, according to West, “really didn’t meet our current users’ needs whether that be applying for work or recording an absence.” To add to the challenge, the previous system relied on ineffective robocalls and didn’t offer user support, all of which prompted a search for a solution aligned with the district's vision of innovation and modernization.
After a thorough evaluation of various options, West and his team chose to implement Red Rover in the spring of 2021. “I was foaming at the mouth, ready to go Red Rover all the way,” West shared. However, due to the priority of implementing a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, the transition to Red Rover was delayed until the winter break. Leander ISD finally went live with Red Rover's platform on January 5, 2022.
The implementation went smoothly, a true testament to the strong collaboration between the district's IT team and Red Rover. Leander’s IT department praised Red Rover’s team throughout the integration, noting that they were “fun, quick, sharp, and highly responsive.”
Part of the Red Rover implementation included setting up a nightly bidirectional data feed with the district’s new ERP, Munis, to keep information in both systems up to date.
A standout feature of Red Rover that West was especially enthusiastic about is its flexibility with long-term absences. “The long-term feature is a game-changer,” West admitted, adding that this functionality has significantly improved assignment coverage. The previous system forced users to split long absences into multiple one-day absences which caused complications and made it difficult for subs to see true vacancies and available positions.
Leander ISD has an average of 350–550 absences on a typical day. Yet, West says, “We're currently in week six of the [2023–24] school year, and our lowest fill rate this year has been an impressive 86%.”
Staff members and users appreciate Red Rover’s:
From the perspective of campus and department administrators, the learning curve with Red Rover was minimal. They quickly embraced the functionality, finding value in the ability to access dashboards and reporting.
Red Rover's dedication to continuous improvement resonates with Leander ISD's drive for innovation. The Red Rover team actively integrates user feedback, ensuring a highly functional system tailored to the district's evolving needs. The exceptional support and responsiveness of Red Rover demonstrate a commitment to providing an adaptable, top-notch solution.
West is also impressed by the Red Rover community feature, a forum that allows users to share ideas and receive input or feedback from similar organizations. According to West, features like this reflect how much Red Rover values user feedback and their desire to continually refine the system to meet the realities of districts.
West commends his team, noting the new-found efficiency that Red Rover has enabled. “All the things that were clunky in the past, are nice and smooth now,” he said. “It’s like having an automobile. If I’ve got a 1987 Corolla, with 300,000 miles on it, it still gets me to work. It doesn’t look great and requires more maintenance and fixes, but I learned to drive it and make it work. That’s very similar to the system we used before. With Red Rover, the Corolla days are over. It’s a much smoother ride. We know they will continue to get us where we need to be for a long time.”
Red Rover’s implementation at Leander ISD sparked transformative shifts, elevating fill rates, simplifying operations, streamlining processes, and enhancing user satisfaction with innovative, modern approaches. West and the other staff members at Leander ISD have confidence in Red Rover's capabilities and quality, now and in the future. “You can feel the commitment,” West offered. “We know we’re in good hands.”
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News | December 17, 2021
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