As today’s students increasingly seek individualized pathways to academic and career success, K-12 schools are fundamentally shifting how they help students think, learn, and explore their interests and aptitudes.
Colorado’s Cherry Creek School District has taken a career and innovation approach to create meaningful pathways of purpose for each of its 55,000 students. This forward-looking vision aligns curriculum, career exploration, and Career and Technical Education (CTE) to provide students with multidimensional education experiences and career-ready learning opportunities.
To power its trailblazing mission, Cherry Creek turned to Salesforce to build stronger relationships with local industry partners, improve communications with stakeholders, and create more impactful opportunities for students.
300+industry partners centralized in a single view
100%of students are aware of CTE opportunities
60%CTE applications processed automatically
Overcoming the Data Disconnect
Alongside in-school coursework and skill-building, one of CTE’s core functions is to connect students to work-based learning programs, such as internships and apprenticeships. It’s a process that requires maintaining good relationships with local businesses and keen insights to be able to clearly understand students’ needs.
Despite great progress in many areas, Cherry Creek’s CTE team was held back by disconnected information, siloed spreadsheets, and inefficient processes. They needed a more efficient way to manage information about their constituents and improve communications with them.
“To get where we wanted to go, we needed a better, cohesive source of information,” said Maria Martin, Cherry Creek’s Career and Innovation Strategic Partner. “Pulling data efficiently was a must, and it wasn’t happening with the systems we had in place.”
“Salesforce provides the opportunity to customize and ensure our values and beliefs are aligned as an academic institution, while collecting ongoing, dynamic information to better meet the needs of our students.” Sarah L.C. Grobbel, Assistant Superintendent, Career, Innovation and Student EngagementCherry Creek School District
Flight Plan to Data Unification
Turning to Education Cloud, the CTE team discovered a solution that could provide a centralized and easy-to-access model for storing and retrieving data and a way to effectively manage contacts. It was simple for users to adopt and provided the CTE team with the ability to add features and build out their solution over time.
“There was nothing else out there that was going to be that comprehensive repository for information and knowledge that we could share across the district,” said Martin.
Cherry Creek worked with an implementation partner, Elevation Solutions, to set up journey building and tailor a solution capable of helping the district achieve its distinct goals.
“We were able to develop a very comprehensive flight plan to get us from point A to point B concisely,” said Martin. “It was easy to get our stakeholders on board and the implementation progressed very quickly.”
Managing Critical Pathways and Partnerships
By improving access to information, Education Cloud has given the district superior visibility into its industry partners and students, which has led to better relationships and more successful learning opportunities. The CTE team also gained access to powerful analytics with Tableau and Marketing Cloud Account Engagement, significantly improving their stakeholder communications.
Building Better Relationships with Data
Using a central data repository, Cherry Creek can now view its more than 300 active industry partners in a single, centralized view with rich engagement data. The district has improved how it manages its contacts and can be highly proactive about maintaining and strengthening relationships.
“We’ve been able to branch out and get a larger list of our industry partners in one place,” said Mike Wadleigh, Cherry Creek’s CTE Internship and Apprenticeship Specialist. “Now everyone knows what industry partners we’re working with and we can communicate with them much more effectively.”
At Cherry Creek’s new Innovation Campus, the CTE team is applying tools, like forms, to directly capture and store visitor information. They can now keep notes and track interactions with prospects and set up targeted outreach campaigns. They’ve added over 30,000 prospects to their system, including 13,000 campus visitors and launched more than 100 campaigns.
Gathering data from sources such as emails, applications, and surveys, the district uses dashboards and reports in Tableau to visualize a range of valuable analytic data. The team can now easily gauge engagement levels and determine how to best approach new opportunities with industry partners.
“Our administrators and staff members have so much more visibility into what’s happening across our CTE program,” said Martin. “There are no more spreadsheets, everything is live in Salesforce and the information is far easier to act on.”
Proactively Addressing Students’ Needs
For Cherry Creek students, Salesforce has given staff better tools to guide learners in exploring their individual pathways and has helped open the doors to a wider variety of work-based learning opportunities.
Using surveys and forms, the district now collects a wealth of information and creates detailed profiles for each student. The team can track interactions and keep notes on individual interests, prerequisite qualifications, certifications, and more. Following up with students is easier and the CTE team can quickly identify opportunities, determine successful placements, and provide students with the right information to support their next steps.
Cherry Creek is also using Salesforce to process live applications for students interested in CTE and the Innovation Campus, using Form Assembly. Nearly 60% of all CTE applications were processed automatically, which saved staff considerable time and allowed them to excel in other areas, such as completing the master schedule five weeks sooner than planned.
“The visibility gained empowers staff to be more proactive about what they need to do next and have a much more holistic view of each student and their needs,” said Wadleigh.
Keeping Students in the Loop
With Marketing Cloud Account Engagement in its toolbox, Cherry Creek is also using analytics to improve its student-focused communications and deliver critical information about internships and apprenticeships more effectively. It’s helped boost engagement, improve recruiting and raise awareness about CTE opportunities. Now, 100% of students are aware of CTE opportunities and can quickly express interest and request information using integrated message forms. The district is also launching an SMS feature to reach students on their preferred communication channels.
“We have already seen an increase in how we communicate academic and CTE information to stakeholders, which was not possible in our previous system,” said Sarah L.C. Grobbel, Assistant Superintendent, Career, Innovation and Student Engagement. “Salesforce provides the opportunity to customize and ensure our values and beliefs are aligned as an academic institution while collecting ongoing dynamic information to better meet the needs of our students.”
About Cherry Creek School District
Serving more than 55,000 students at nearly 70 schools, Cherry Creek Schools is a diverse district where inclusive excellence and college and career preparedness are priorities. Career and Innovation in Cherry Creek Schools is a K-12 approach that aligns core content curriculum, STEM standards, career exploration, and Career and Technical Education (CTE) to maximize engagement in a student’s Individual Career and Academic Plan. Students are empowered to think, to learn, to achieve, and to care through opportunities that are meaningful and relevant to the individual student.