Acumen Solutions helped the city of Indianapolis create an online application process and a centralized database for 100+ schools.

Business Challenge:

There are over 100 schools in the city of Indianapolis, composed of 35,000+ students from traditional neighborhood schools and choice options such as magnets and charters. Yet with this many options, during the fall of 2016, families did not have access to a consolidated source of information to determine which school would be the best fit for their child. Furthermore, there was no centralized location to apply to a school outside of your neighborhood zone, which meant that families had to submit multiple applications, each with their own process and timeline. To make the process more accessible and equitable, Enroll Indy was launched in 2016. Enroll Indy applies a common set of policies, as well as a centralized online school finder and common application.

 

Solution:

Acumen Solutions began working with Enroll Indy in 2016 to create a common application that was accessible online to streamline the process for families to apply to the variety of school offerings in the city. In addition to the need for a streamlined application process, there was also a need for a centralized database allowing visibility into school enrollment at the city level. This gap resulted in students maintaining enrollment at multiple schools, and created an avenue for schools to enroll students directly, bypassing the centralized enrollment policy. To address this problem, Acumen Solutions built an “Enrollment Management System” (EMS) to track ongoing enrollment. The solution now provides visibility into school-based enrollment, as well as a process for managing student transfers and discharges throughout the school year. Over time, the solution has expanded from the core application and enrollment system, to a suite of tools that includes a cloud-based student assignment function, as well as a call center solution. The use of Amazon Web Services has expanded since the initial launch in 2016 and now supports Enroll Indy’s mission in four critical areas: For the school finder solution, content for the website is hosted in S3, while EC2 is used to support a geo-spacial tool for neighborhood school assignment. A nightly process to reconcile enrollment data between school-level student information systems (SIS) and the central enrollment platform leverages EC2 and Auto-Scaling. Each applicant receives one enrollment offer based on their ranked school choices; this deferred acceptance algorithm is built with Lambda and S3. In addition to a self-service online portal for student enrollment, Enroll Indy also supports families via a call center solution implemented with Amazon Connect.

 

Results:

The resulting common application has supported 100,000+ applications since its initial launch in 2016. The centralized EMS, which processes 40,000+ students nightly, has drastically improved data integrity at the district level, and reduced student movement outside of the centralized process. The call center leveraging Amazon Connect was launched in Spring 2020 and supported hundreds of families within the first week of operation.