Case Study: Efficiency, Compliance & Accuracy Boost For High School Planning Team

Education Use Cases , zenphi Use Cases

The Challenge:

Manual data processing, scheduling and communication workflows put significant pressure on the planning team through the sheer volume of work required to maintain daily operations, school-wide.

The Outcome:

Through automation of planning, student management and communication processes, hours of manual work are saved every day, while simultaneously boosting accuracy and compliance.

Industry: Education |  Using zenphi for: Contact tracing, Schedule communications, Automated database updates  |  Total impact: 93% increase in compliance; 99% less time required to update databases – saving up to 4 hours daily; Consistently accurate data minimizes schedule disruptions.

The Organization: A Public School in the NYCDOE

As part of the largest school district in the United States, this school, located in Staten Island, New York, employs over 300 staff members and serves more than 3,000 students.


The Challenge: Manual workflows create significant inefficiencies across planning, reporting & communication processes

Like many schools worldwide, many administrative and record keeping processes across all departments are achieved manually. Contract tracing for sick students and staff consumed significant resources to achieve, and essential tasks like updating databases for scheduling would be delayed due to a lack of time and resources. Organizing substitute teachers school-wide took hours to schedule and redo, every day, depending on last-minute database changes that the planning team lacked visibility of. This needed to change.


The Solution: Automating repetitive processes across multiple departments with zenphi

Leading the school’s automation journey, Robert, a math teacher and program chair, first implemented zenphi to solve time-consuming COVID contact tracing processes – reducing what used to take 8 people to achieve across multiple spreadsheets, every day, down to 1.

Not long after, Robert was tasked with communicating thousands of schedules to students upon returning to school, with only a few days’ notice. Taking only 10 minutes to create and publish, this simple but powerful workflow uses a single spreadsheet and Drive folder for all information. When the workflow is triggered, students are emailed individually with their schedule, bell times, teacher and room to report to – saving hours of manual communications for the team.

A more complex workflow that Robert highlights as ‘life-changing’ for both himself and colleagues is now it’s as simple as downloading a single fresh file and dropping it into a designated Google Drive folder, achieving database updates that used to take up to 4 hours across multiple spreadsheets and folders in only a couple of minutes.


The Result: A significant efficiency boost with hours saved across daily planning, reporting & student communication processes, and an impressive 93% increase in compliance. 

Zenphi’s flexible drag-and-drop workflow builder enables the team to quickly build solutions to solve problems as they arise. Achieving tasks that used to take hours every day in only a couple of minutes, Robert and his team describe zenphi’s effect on their work days as ‘life-changing’.


Streamlined, accurate database updates save 4+ hours daily, and enabled a boost in compliance from 46% to 89%:

With a complete overhaul of their database update workflow, the elimination of time-consuming manual updates means that the correct information is maintained and updated daily instead of weekly, ensuring all data that feeds into daily scheduling workflows is consistently accurate. This database also feeds into the daily substitute teacher schedules, with another workflow to generate schedules at the beginning of each school day. This saves the planning team hours every day, and minimizes last- minute scrambling to organise classes based on outdated data.


Automated student communications enable timely delivery of schedules, bell times and rooms to report to, saving hours of manual emailing and confusion:

Taking only 10 minutes to set up, this simple but powerful flow is now essential for back-to-school planning. Drawing student, schedule and room information from a single database, this flow communicates to students where to go on their first day back. Individual tailored emails are automatically sent to students, ensuring peace of mind that everyone is on the same page for the start of the school term, while minimizing the workload for teachers.


COVID contact tracing workflow minimizes manual work, eliminates manual error, and reduces the tracing team from 8 to 1:

Robert’s passion for zenphi began with a complete, automated contact tracing and building access project. Previously requiring up to 8 people

to manage manually, a zenphi flow uses information across class, building and teaching schedule spreadsheets, along with attendance and absence reports, to determine close contacts and isolation periods. Now only a single person is required to manage this process when outbreaks occur, freeing up significant time for the administration & HR teams!


What’s next

With impressive results driving recognition for both Robert and zenphi across his school, zenphi is now an approved vendor for the New York City school district! Always looking for new ways to implement zenphi and save time for himself and his team, the next project isn’t far away.

This case study is based on a webinar where Robert discusses his zenphi projects and workflow setup. You can watch the 30-minute interview here.

The Outcome

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