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New York City Public Schools

Expanding and improving communication between schools and parents

The Challenge

With more than 1.1 million students, the New York City Public School System (NYCPS) boasts the largest public school system in the country. In 2010, NYCPS adopted SchoolForceTM as their educational administrative management platform to communicate with parents and manage student performance. SchoolForceTM, which is built using the underlying technology of, is extremely powerful and was poised to be a groundbreaking open source tool for teachers, administrators and parents.

Before releasing it, NYCPS sought our help customizing the platform so that it could be effectively used and managed in-house moving forward.

The goal was to design an interface that would be intuitive to teachers and parents - on a technology not designed for these types of audiences. Additionally, the platform had to be flexible enough to allow additional tools to be added in the future.

The Solution

In order to address the various needs of these audiences, LookThink worked onsite to collect requirements and create personas that then drove the platform redesign. In order to create a more visually appealing user interface within Salesforce, LookThink, in collaboration with a systems integrator, created a custom interface.

Once the design was solidified, LookThink held several iterative user testing sessions with groups of teachers as well as separate sessions with parents to confirm that the interface was appealing, intuitive, and usable.

A set of pages from the new NYC Department of Education site, focused on a report card screen with messages to the right.

The Result

The City of New York has been thrilled with the results, and feedback from parents has been universally positive. Other school districts across the country, including Detroit, New Orleans, Washington D.C., and Newark, have implemented similar systems with help from LookThink. 

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