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"Salesforce helps us create more efficiencies for the organizations that we support, ultimately benefiting the students in our classrooms. And that's the end goal – it’s what matters most.” - Patrick Gittisriboongul, Chief Innovation Officer at SDCOE

San Diego County Office of Education Serves Students More Equitably with Salesforce

Created in 1948, the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) serves the county’s most vulnerable students – from those who need special physical or social-emotional support to those experiencing homelessness. Altogether, SDCOE supports nearly 780​ schools and more than 500,000 students, including the 3,150 children it educates through its Juvenile Court and Community Schools. 

Across this landscape – in which SDCOE provides a variety of services for the 42 school districts, 125 charter schools, and five community college districts in the county – SDCOE never loses sight of its mission: inspiring and leading innovation in education. Nowhere is this more true than in SDCOE’s newly created Innovation Division.

“The fact that the county has an official Innovation Division is telling,” said Patrick Gittisriboongul, Chief Innovation Officer at SDCOE. “We’re focused on creating compelling programs, services, and support across the county in areas ranging from Career and Technical Education (CTE), to educational technology and more.”

But county leaders discovered they lacked a comprehensive platform to systematically and strategically capture and use pertinent information to best serve all constituents. Data was being logged in multiple systems and wasn’t leveraged in a way that showed progress toward organizational goals.

“We didn’t have a 360-degree view of all the organizations and constituents across our county,” said Marco Gonzalez, Executive Assistant for the Innovation Division. “And it was hard to measure the impact of the programs and services we provide without that robust view of data.”

Gaining a Single Source of Truth

SDCOE embarked on a transformational journey to remove systems and streamline processes. After thorough research into user needs across the county, as well as an evaluation of several CRM solutions, SDCOE selected Salesforce.org’s Education Cloud for K-12 as the ideal solution for its needs. 

“In trying to find the solution that would best provide that 360-degree view we were looking for, Salesforce really stood out as the one,” said Gonzalez. “Salesforce is flexible enough to address our current and future needs within the Innovation Division, as well as scalable enough to support SDCOE as a full organization.”

Utilizing an agile framework and working with an implementation partner, the Innovation Division deployed Salesforce.org’s Education Data Architecture (EDA) and Sales Cloud, establishing the Salesforce platform as the single source of truth for all events, courses, constituents, and activities. 

“We want to take a page out of the book of private sector companies that understand and engage their constituents on a deep level,” said Gittisriboongul. “At the end of the day, education is a relationship-driven business. Our constituents are the students, parents, superintendents, principals, and teachers – and Salesforce gives us a sophisticated platform to approach those relationships.” 

Measuring Impact and Enhancing Equity

SDCOE is currently using the Salesforce platform for constituent and partnership management for their Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs. Work-based learning activities for the 2019-20 school year included participation from over 4,600 students and 500 teachers from over 20 SDCOE school districts. Establishing SDCOE as the leader in connecting students to industry experiences, partners, internships, apprenticeships, and career readiness programs is a key priority and one of four board goals for the organization. 

“Salesforce serves as a collective ‘digital rolodex’ that tracks our constituents at 150+ industry partners,” said Alex Becker, Project Specialist for Work-Based Learning at SDCOE. “This allows us to be much more organized in how we reach out to partners, ensuring we’re able to build more meaningful relationships with them, as well as provide more engaging experiences for our students.”

The team uses Salesforce on a daily basis to record the activities, events, and trainings that they coordinate with schools and employers. On the back end, through Salesforce’s reporting feature, they utilize reports and dashboards to synthesize the data they’ve collected throughout the school year. 

Prior to Salesforce, SDCOE was attempting to do the same data collection and analysis using forms, spreadsheets, and other ad hoc solutions. Using the Salesforce platform has created additional efficiencies by enabling the team to track over 200 work-based learning activities this past year (doubling the amount from the previous year) and increasing the number of industry partners by 25%. As a result, SDCOE better understands the services needed at each school and district and is able to efficiently and effectively allocate resources, directly impacting the lives of students.

“Salesforce gives us a much clearer picture of which schools and districts are benefiting from our services, and which are not,” said Becker. “We can keep an eye on cancellations that lead to lost experiences for students and teachers. And we’ve tracked a 66% reduction in cancellations since we’ve had Salesforce in place, as well as a 30% increase in attendance for work-based learning experiences and activities.”

Becker particularly appreciates the ability to learn from the easily accessible data that Salesforce provides and uses it to serve students and schools in a more equitable manner. 

“If we coordinate a large event, such as an Apprenticeship Expo, we can easily track which schools and students attended,” said Becker. “Running reports in Salesforce lets us learn more about who we are and are not serving, so that we can make our services more efficient and equitable.”

The team can even measure their progress toward specific targets, like how many Juvenile Court and Community Schools (JCCS) students and teachers they’ve served for the year. Using Salesforce reporting, they easily determined that 20% of services provided to JCCS are for teachers, and 80% serve students directly.

Becker added, “I used Salesforce in prior positions and organizations and had a great experience, so I was very excited when SDCOE decided to deploy it within the organization. Salesforce has more than met our needs and exceeded expectations.”

Creating a Model for Other Departments

From its initial success with CTE programs, SDCOE is excited to expand usage of Salesforce into other areas of the organization like managing data for early childhood education programs. The goal is to expand the platform to all divisions at the county office over the next two years by identifying additional needs across departments.

“There are so many other use cases across the county – from grants to contracts – that we have not even scratched the surface on,” said Gittisriboongul. “As we continuously refine our use of Salesforce, it will be a model for other departments on how they can improve their processes.”

With this broader use, SDCOE will gain an even more holistic and granular view of its constituents.

“Qualitative data matters in an educational institution,” said Gonzalez. “For example, we might ask students what device they’re using for remote learning during COVID-19 and whether they’re easily able to login to the learning management system. But we may not understand the joblessness or food insecurity that their families are experiencing. The more we can engage with our constituents at that nuanced level, the more we can mitigate learning loss – and Salesforce gives us a platform to do that.”

Gittisriboongul agrees that Salesforce will continue to have a positive impact across the organization in new ways, helping SDCOE take an innovative approach to managing data and relationships.

“Salesforce is the engine for so many of our outreach efforts, from industry experiences and professional development, to master scheduling for classes. We want to be able to measure the impact of our programs and services and identify key performance indicators on what activities and practices are the most effective,” said Gittisriboongul. “Salesforce helps us create more efficiencies for the organizations that we support, ultimately benefiting the students in our classrooms. And that’s the end goal – it’s what matters most.”

Learn more about how Salesforce.org Education Cloud for K-12 helps institutions drive student and school success. Learn More