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Playground Case Study - Southern Oregon Head Start Multi-Site Management


1/27/2022 | Evan Dobkin

Challenge: As is standard for Head Start programs, Southern Oregon Head Start (SOHS) is required to collect a significant amount of data to demonstrate compliance with federal and state requirements.  Collecting and manually taking action on certain data for nearly 1,000 students at multiple sites on a weekly basis was not only a drain on their resources but also took away from their time to interact with children and their families. As a health and safety precaution during the pandemic, families are not able to enter classrooms, a major blow to morale.

Solution: Working with SOHS, Playground came to understand a data-driven organization operating across multiple sites needed top-down access to reports, while making it easier for staff to add data. Playground created a new Enterprise dashboard for SOHS allowing them to see high-level details about every center on one screen, see all students and staff, and generated customized reports that aggregate data across all (or selected) centers. 

Next, they adopted Playground’s attendance features to manage morning check-in and help students get signed in quicker with greater accuracy. Using Playground’s Kiosk Mode, families can check-in and out using the center’s smart device, eliminating the need for families to have their own smartphone.

Result: SOHS transformed their entire check-in process with Playground, empowering families to mark students absent through the app, quickly producing reports used to call and perform safety checks on absent students, and quick, daily wellness checks, with the ability to check-in multiple students at the same time. 

According to Kaycee Cottone, IS/ERSEA Director for SOHS, automating and streamlining their manual processes saved the equivalent of two full-time employee salaries.

Using a variety of custom-built reports (at no additional cost) and the Enterprise dashboard, SOHS can quickly get the data they need for government funding compliance, without waiting for each site to compile and send it upstream. 

And lastly, but important to their mission, Playground has given SOHS’s families the ability to stay involved in their students’ days from anywhere. They’re looking forward to adopting communication features so teachers can easily share milestones or interesting events that might not always make it to dinner table conversation. 

“We’re very, very data-driven and Playground has been essential to help us collect important data related to check-in and other parts of our daily operations. At the same time, family engagement is extremely important, and being able to stay in contact with our families has been essential to maintaining strong relationships with the community. 

Their service has been truly exceptional…if there’s something I need, the communication goes above and beyond what you’d expect. I really appreciate how quickly things happen when I’ve asked for new features or updates to make Playground work for our needs.

I’ve shared Playground with my colleagues at other Head Starts and wouldn’t hesitate to share our experience with any other Head Start.” - Kaycee Cottone, IS/ERSEA Director

Photo by Eric Muhr on Unsplash

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