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“Salesforce helps us track students’ needs — academic, behavioral, emotional, mental health — and monitor how we’re supporting the whole child.” - Yelitza Peña, Student and Parent Support Programs Coordinator

Hayward Unified School District Innovates to Impact Holistic Student Support

In the heart of the San Francisco Bay Area, Hayward Unified School District (HUSD) serves nearly 20,000 K-12 students across 30 schools. Half of HUSD’s students are Latino and nearly 70% qualify for free and reduced-price lunch, making for a diverse community with a dynamic mosaic of cultures, languages and economic conditions.

HUSD sought innovative and holistic ways to help students thrive, especially those most vulnerable. The district realized its support teams were being held back by manual processes, siloed data and ineffective record-keeping. 

HUSD turned to Salesforce.org to develop a case management solution that could better organize its data, and equip staff with the tools to efficiently manage cases and connect students to the learning supports and resources they need.

Using a Connected Platform to Support the Whole Child

Guided by the community schools model, HUSD relies on a multi-tiered system of support framework. As part of this approach, HUSD launched the Collective Impact for Student Success (CISS) initiative and integrated Coordination of Services Teams (COST) Specialists across the district to support with coordination, collaboration, and follow up. These multidisciplinary teams coordinate academic and social-emotional success efforts in schools, connecting referred students to a range of services including mental health, nutritional support and more.

A key component of HUSD’s strategy emphasizes using data to optimally allocate resources and measure the impact of interventions. Before implementing Salesforce, COST Specialists relied on paper forms, manual inputs and disconnected spreadsheets, which made it challenging to access and work with the data available.

“We were doing everything manually, from inputting student referrals, interventions and follow-ups to the tracking and coordinating of resources,” said COST Specialist Heather Reyes. “It was very labor-intensive.”

“We had many different systems but they didn’t necessarily work together or link things like student attendance to our COST referrals,” added Sabrina Aranda, Hayward Promise Neighborhood (HPN) Director. “It took a lot of time to process reports and make effective decisions for students and families.”

District leadership, including Christy Gerren, Director of Student and Parent Support Programs and Kimberly Watts, former HPN Director, identified a need for real-time data to improve decision making and track student supports. With funding from HPN, Full Service Community Schools and the Local Communities for School Success Program (LCSSP), HUSD’s data systems expert Victoria Giryavets led the initiative to build a new, data-driven case management solution.

Connecting Students with Services Efficiently and Effectively

Customizing Salesforce.org’s K-12 Architecture Kit, Giryavets and HUSD worked closely with COST Specialists to develop a comprehensive system that places all of the district’s requests, referrals and student support data in one easily accessible, secure place.

“With Salesforce, we can quickly access information about any student or any request and see what supports were provided,” said Giryavets. “Our data capabilities, integrity and accuracy have increased tremendously.”

The system was tested and implemented within four months and HUSD’s COST Specialists saw immediate improvements to their workflows. Salesforce digitized many manual tasks, including all of HUSD’s COST service requests, which helped eliminate inefficient processes and paperwork.

The centralized hub for student and parent case management gives COST teams quick and convenient access to the information they need, right when they need it. Salesforce also makes it easier to collaborate, collectively address requests and follow through with more effective service matches.

“It’s a one-stop-shop where you can easily do everything,” said Sheree Conway, COST Specialist. “Receiving digital requests makes it very simple to identify students, access records, track cases and do our work much more efficiently and effectively.”

Expanding from a Successful Pilot to Districtwide Implementation

With a successful launch and overwhelmingly positive user feedback, HUSD rapidly expanded the Salesforce platform to nearly all 30 district schools. HUSD’s COST Specialists adopted the new system with ease and quickly realized the impact of newfound productivity, including the ability to connect students with services much faster.

“I’m doing the same work but spending 10 hours less each week completing it,” said Reyes. “Plus, I’ve been able to maintain the same level of integrity and support with my schools.”

HUSD COST Specialists handle as many as 140-150 service requests a year, but with the efficiencies gained through Salesforce, Reyes was able to take on an additional 120 requests. Additionally, HUSD:

  • Can connect students to services 38% faster
  • Digitized 3,000 paper requests and manual forms
  • Reduced the time to complete manual requests from two hours to 15 minutes
  • Saves an estimated 5,000 hours a year to invest back into supporting students and families

Accountability was another success noted by HUSD’s COST teams. Gaining greater visibility into student records and service requests, in addition to Salesforce’s reporting capabilities, means teams track and stay on top of referrals, interventions and outcomes. Salesforce’s intuitive interface and visual dashboards make it easy to communicate and deliver value to other stakeholders, such as district and school administrators.

“Salesforce helps us track students’ needs — academic, behavioral, emotional, mental health — and monitor how we’re supporting the whole child,” said Yelitza Peña, Student and Parent Support Programs Coordinator. “We can quickly visualize data, which makes it easy to communicate student progress.”

Prepared to Pivot at a Moment’s Notice 

Meeting students’ needs became an urgent concern during the COVID-19 crisis. Amidst a very challenging situation, HUSD was prepared to quickly pivot and provide online support thanks to the recent Salesforce implementation. COST teams used Salesforce to target and engage students with excessive absences, and the platform was instrumental in establishing ongoing connections with students who required help to stay healthy and keep learning. 

“The COST teams have the critical function of connecting students to the supports they need,” said Chien Wu-Fernandez, Associate Superintendent of Student and Family Services. “The infrastructure from Salesforce enhances our ability to analyze and utilize data to expand and improve services for our students in a meaningful way.”
With the connectivity and visibility made possible by Salesforce, HUSD has also been able to access new funding opportunities and expand its systems of support beyond COST. 

“Being able to connect different services and tiers of support with students’ needs really helps us leverage additional funding,” added Aranda. “It allows us to think outside of the box about how we’re linking different systems together to create a holistic student support approach.”

Inspired by the positive results from the COST project, HUSD is planning additional Salesforce implementations, including a parent-focused application, a Newcomer and English learner support application and a tool to manage HPN grants and information. The district is also aiming to make Salesforce accessible to a larger group of COST stakeholders to further improve student success through broader collaborations.

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