Change is never easy, but great software helps
Time-saving features and processes that build trust in the product
A whole new online experience for the community
Located in Little Falls, MN, about 90 minutes northwest of Minneapolis, Little Falls Community Schools (CS) offers robust programming to its small community. Little Falls provides a school-aged child care (SACC) program from pre-K to 5th grade, preschool, Early Childhood Education (ECFE), a summer program, and courses that serve every age of the community, youth through adults. Little Falls SACC programming ranges on daily attendance from 25 to 40 students at each of the district's three SACC locations.
All programming runs through the Community Services Department, which Kayla Gruber, Community Services Director, and Sarah Rustad, Community Services Coordinator and Facilities Manager, lead.
Since Gruber and Rustad stepped into their roles a few years ago, they have considered changing to a new program management software that would be more user-friendly for both them and their families. As the 2023-2024 school year began, Gruber and Rustad started noticing some deeper issues within their current software's communication and reporting functionality. The same reports processed different outcomes, and the information wasn’t exactly correct.
“Internally, we need our reports to make sense — to give us the same information every time. That wasn’t happening. Every day, we tried to fix problems and mistakes within the system. It impacted us from fully doing our jobs.”
To better run Little Falls Community Services and attend to the programming, Gruber and Rustad knew that it was time for a change. But although they were ready, they knew change wouldn’t be easy.
In September, when Little Falls first met with Arux, they didn’t think they would change software, but after a single meeting with the team, Little Falls had all the answers they needed to move forward.
“We had some anxious meetings, nights, and planning sessions with what a transition would look like. So, we came into that first meeting with certain questions we needed answers to, and we heard those answers from the Arux team.”
“It’s a win-win all around. Change is never easy, but this has worked out great.”
Making a software change is a significant shift for everyone involved. However, the Community Services team has quickly noticed how this change has worked out great for Little Falls CS and the community.
“I hear this a ton from families; they appreciate the look of Arux. The ability to view an invoice and pay now. Families love the quickness and ease of use.”
A successful change built on trust
Gruber and Rustad cite that the positive change begins with their trust in the Arux product and team. The connection between Arux and school districts is where everything starts. They feel comfortable being able to show people how they do things because they know it will work. It’s a trust that their community can see and feel.
“People feel how we feel. They saw at the beginning of the year that we were flustered. I know at this point, people feel that we’re in a better place."
Building courses and parent accessibility
For SACC and Courses, Gruber and Rustad feel that so many aspects of Arux are now saving them time. Building courses is accessible, and having parents access their accounts is easy. They’re not answering phone calls all day from parents asking how to log in, change their schedule, and so on. It’s all there, and they can do it now.
As Facilities Manager, Rustad appreciated the depth of information Arux Facilities considers and provides her and her team.
“We’ve learned how our custodians need to see information and how our facilities administrators need to access data. There’s so much input of information that there’s almost nothing you don’t know, and the system has multiple ways to access what you need.”
Little Falls SACC team appreciates Arux’s ability to review and approve contracts and schedule changes after families register for the program. This process provides the team with an extra layer of review and detail, allowing for fewer potential issues in the future.
“We’ve been able to catch things; it could be families didn’t fill out certain sections, or we need to change the school or age. I know our child care coordinators appreciate being able to see schedule changes. We should have this information because then we can make staffing changes accordingly. Having that accessible to us is nice.”
Instructor access to roster reports
The Community Services team previously needed to run many roster reports. This process would require viewing, printing, and handing off rosters to instructors because that information wasn’t available to them, not without providing them with a level of system access they didn’t need. Now, those days are over.
“Being able to tell our instructors they have access to their rosters is huge for us. Our instructors having access to the information they need that pertains to the classes they’re teaching is so convenient. And it’s easier for us. We do not need to print the roster and get it to them. They just have access to it.”
Easy financial reporting
When thinking about where they were a few months ago, Gruber and Rustad feel they’ve come a long way in the financial reporting of their program, as reports are accurate, simple, and easy to understand. Specifically, the team leverages Arux’s Payments Report for the district’s finance team to run reconciliation.
The various financial reporting options with Arux work well for the district. When deciding if Arux would be a good fit for Little Falls, the finance team met with Arux to discuss their financial processes. The team was pleased with the look of the information output, the simplicity of information, and the malleability of what financial reports can and cannot contain.
“It was a slam dunk for the finance team — this is so much easier. Ease, just ease. Ease for the public, ease for the business office, easy for us. There’s a lot of minutes being saved in the day.”
Looking ahead, Gruber and Rustad know that features like Arux’s Community Portal work to grow the program by showcasing their great offerings to the public.
“Things are just working. Things are happening that we don’t have to think about. That’s what I love about it. Our community can check out our website, and we know they’re there searching. I don’t have to think about what they’re seeing because I know it’s all accessible to them. It’s very easy.”
By the start of the new year (2024), every aspect of Little Falls CS’ programming will be on Arux, and all families in the community with active accounts will have an account in Arux. What is probably most indicative of this successful change is that the community interacts with the program differently and more comfortably.
“In the past, community members wouldn’t go online; they would call us. Their best experience was when they called us. They were getting the best customer service regarding registration and payments. Our call volume has decreased exponentially, and not in a bad way. People are sharing this. Now they say just go online. It’s easy.”