VOICE Charter School

Innovative music-based school builds on collaborative educational culture and secures personal private information with Intralinks VIA®

VOICE Charter School uses Intralinks

Situation

Educating children takes significant coordination, especially in the primary grades. There are so many fundamentals in language, mathematics, science and the arts that shape young lives. VOICE Charter School in Long Island City, New York has mastered an innovative approach to combining these fundamentals in a complete, well-rounded education for grades K-8.

The school links music and movement with developing strong language skills, and builds on that foundation to help students achieve broad academic excellence. The process requires extensive collaboration among teachers and administrators. When the school was smaller, teachers could simply walk across the hall and discuss lesson plans with one another. As VOICE grew from 85 to 630 students and 110 employees, information sharing became more complicated.

Teachers and administrators began using portable USB drives, email and a cloud solution that is commonly used in schools to share information. Confusion about where the latest versions were stored was one big issue. VOICE was especially concerned about complying with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which protects the privacy of student education records.

Franklin Headley, principal, VOICE Charter School, remarks, "Putting student records and sensitive school information in the public cloud is not good enough to honor the intention of FERPA. We need to be thoughtful about how personal private information is shared."

Scott Walker, VOICE's technology manager, adds, "We needed a more secure way to support our collaborative environment while making it easier for our teachers and administrators to manage and share documents."

Solution

VOICE Charter School adopted cloud-based Intralinks VIA for secure file sharing and collaboration. Approximately, 80 staff members, including all teachers and a growing number of administrators, rely on Intralinks VIA to securely access information 24x7 from any device.

Today, VOICE manages 25,000 pages of documents on Intralinks VIA. This includes student assessments, departmental documents, financial reports, Salesforce.com records and human resources files. When the solution is fully rolled out, VOICE expects to scale Intralinks VIA to handle approximately 120,000 documents during the next academic year.

Benefits

Intralinks VIA provides VOICE with a FERPA-compliant solution that simplifies document sharing and inter-departmental collaboration, helping teachers and administrators plan and manage comprehensive education plans for individual students. Intralinks VIA enables easy document sharing without the need to send email attachments, make physical photocopies, or transfer fi les onto thumb drives that can be easily lost.

The solution also provides central control over individual users' management of their documents. For example, some users have full privileges to read, edit and share documents within a tightly governed circle of users. Others have read-only privileges or the ability to edit but not share.

If a teacher joins or leaves the school, Intralinks VIA's Information Rights Management (IRM) feature enables VOICE to grant and retract access privileges in real time. This ensures that documents remain safe and secure in the Intralinks VIA workspace, preserving their integrity and protecting individual privacy.

"With Intralinks VIA, our users are permitted to only put documents into their specific workspace," notes Walker. "That makes it easier to keep documents organized and secure. It also saves time when they need specific documents compared to searching through emails for the right attachment.

"In addition, we use Intralinks to track and report on any documents requiring action, and send reminders if a task hasn't been completed. It's much more efficient, but most importantly, it's secure."

VOICE also saves money with Intralinks VIA. Documents are now backed up directly through the Intralinks VIA desktop client, eliminating $850 per month spent on external backup services. Since documents are shared electronically, photocopies are a thing of the past. This saves the school thousands of dollars per year.

The school also is busy completing a charter application for a second school, which has introduced even greater demand for document sharing. Intralinks VIA easily scaled to support this project and enabled collaboration among school officials, the city and outside consultants.

Headley observes, "Intralinks’ ability to allow us to work securely with third parties is quite valuable. We give them a dedicated workspace while they're involved. Then, once someone completes their part, we can instantly restrict access again to maintain security. This makes Intralinks VIA an important tool in supporting the ongoing growth and evolution of VOICE Charter School."