Scribbles Software: Pioneering a Paperless Revolution

Ron Christian, Paul Blake, Managing Partners The recent academic year 2015-2016 that ended in July, produced a record-breaking 3,505,920 high school graduates in the country. Collectively, for the school district administrations, this meant processing around three million student record requests for college admissions and employment requirements last summer. Additionally, the number of former student record requests continue to grow year over year. The demand for these records will only continue to increase, while the budget for maintaining them dissipates. Interestingly, most districts still store these records in filing cabinets, offsite locations, and outdated media, such as microfilm. Conferring on a conclusion to go digital, they are pervasively on the hunt for a cost-effective mechanism to not only create a paperless K-12 ecosystem, but also to maintain an ongoing paperless environment. However, “The majority of school districts fall short on funds, IT, and clerical staff to manage a single paperless project, let alone the budget or staff to maintain an ongoing paperless initiative,” notes Ron Christian, Managing Partner of Scribbles Software. Since its inception, it has been Scribbles Software’s mission to enable school districts to eliminate the legacy files with limited or no resources and budgets, and to prevent those paper files from coming back. Through its Software as a Service (SaaS) document management solution—ScribOnline—Scribbles Software offers school districts an affordable, district-wide channel to manage and distribute critical records electronically.

The company keeps its ear to the ground to identify and prioritize the challenges faced by a school district administrator, who spends a significant amount of time fulfilling student record requests for transcripts, diplomas, graduation verification, and other documents stored in a student’s cumulative folder. The procedure typically begins with the staff managing and accepting requests via fax, phone calls, emails, US mail, and walk-ins. Often, the entire workflow following a submitted request—from scouting through paper documents, microfilm to spotting a specific student’s record, verifying the person’s identity to dispatching the record through mail—can span days and in some cases, weeks. In 2010, when the founding partners of Scribbles Software, Ron Christian, Paul Blake, Dax Coan, and Karl Week, developed ScribOrder, the online application was battle-tested to respond to the specific needs put forward by the student records request workflow. At its core, ScribOrder efficiently automates the student record request paradigm by eliminating superfluous manual labor along the value chain.

While achieving this feat, ScribOrder also opens up new revenue generating opportunities for its clients. In general, there are significant costs to manage and protect important records and public is conditioned to pay fees when requesting vital records from government agencies.

Simply put, we help school districts generate revenue through the distribution of records to offset the cost of the ongoing storage and facilitate secure processing of student record requests

For example, requesting a copy of a birth certificate from a Register of Deeds carries a fee of $15- 30, where the majority of school districts charge nothing to $3 for a copy of the transcript. Scribbles works with school districts to align their fees and automate their process. There is no cost levied on the school district to use ScribOrder; in fact, with the new fees structure, Scribbles clients are offered a net-zero-cost paperless environment. “Simply put, we help school districts generate revenue through the distribution of records to offset the cost of the ongoing storage and facilitate secure processing of student record requests,” states Paul Blake, Managing Partner, Scribbles Software. “By leveraging our technology, the money produced by ScribOrder for the school district is often used for all the operations needed to become and stay paperless.”

A Digital Ecosystem

To date, Scribbles Software serves more than 3,000 high schools and school districts (including 14 of the 30 largest districts) across the U.S. “Scribbles has delivered on its promise of paperless. With ScribOrder, we have completely automated our student records request process resulting in a turnaround time within a day as opposed to weeks. In addition, we are also generating about six times more revenue and saving on printing and mailing costs,” affirms Sonya Clark, Prince William County Public Schools.

As ScribOrder evolved, it trailed the need to provide better means for ID verification. Student records are considered official documents that can be used to gain state IDs. With districts becoming more attuned to protecting the identity of past and present students, ScribOrder partnered with districts across the country and developed the ScribCheck feature. ScribCheck places the information provided by the applicant against known information found in Social Security, DMV, IRS, and Local Tax records and matches the information to paint a clear picture of the applicant’s identity. For the first time now, school districts have a data-driven process to verify the identity of the applicant prior to releasing a student record.

In the fall of 2015, Scribbles released ScribOrder e-Transcripts (actually e-documents) which has completed the end-to-end paperless environment.
ScribOrder e-Transcripts enables school districts to deliver secure documents electronically to students, employers, post-secondary institutions, law firms, other school districts, and so on. “For years, we provided a plan and the necessary funding to school districts to go paperless, but there are still requests being fulfilled by printed records,” affirms Dax Coan, Managing Partner, Scribbles Software. “With ScribOrder e-Transcripts, the fulfillment is now electronic to offer a truly paperless environment.”

Today, more than 4,500 post-secondary institutions across the country accept ScribOrder e-Transcripts. ScribOrder e-Transcripts is compliant with AACRAO (American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers) and PESC (Postsecondary Electronic Standards Council) standards for certified PDF transcripts. Scribbles offers a secure application to post-secondary institutions to manage, view, and download all certified PDF transcripts by K-12 school districts.

Beyond Paperless

Leveraging the ScribOrder platforms, Scribbles has also developed a number of applications with the same paperless vision. This helps their clients automate other processes with their school districts.

For instance, ScribHire is an application that manages the intake of new hire forms online. New school district employees are mandated to submit a list of documents and forms, such as demographic information, internet usage policy, checking account details, tax forms, and health insurance forms. By automating the process, ScribHire allows them to complete the forms online, route the document to the appropriate person in the school district and store them on ScribOnline to enable the foundation of “a virtual employee”, at a much earlier stage.

"It’s our mission to enable school districts to eliminate the legacy files with limited or no resources and budgets, and to keep those paper files from coming back"

On the other hand, ScribChoice manages a school district’s school choice, open enrollment, student transfer, and magnet school application and approval processes. Traditionally, these processes generate a ton of paper and involve multiple people in the approval process. Scribbles has turned the application process paperless and completely automated the approval process.

The seed of innovation that Scribbles as a company has sown to nurture the flourishing paperless vision, has paved way for its customers to brace for the change and meet their trials head-on. With digital learning platforms already making progress in this prodigious vision by revamping the façade of education, the back-office is yet to catch up on the pace. But, with avant-garde thought leaders like Scribbles in the vicinity, constantly ensuring that school districts go all the way up to the digital destination, the notion of a paperless education industry has suddenly become a low-hanging fruit.

Scribbles Software

Charlotte, NC

Ron Christian, Paul Blake, Managing Partners and Dax Coan & Karl Weeks Managing Partners

Streamlining the student record request process for school districts to help students and alumni through an affordable, revenue generating software

Scribbles Software