Supporting student success

Communities In Schools works with 2,300 schools across 25 states to build a community support system for children struggling in school due to socioeconomic disadvantages.

Supporting student success

The client's challenge

With 1 in 6 children living in poverty in the United States, Communities in Schools (CIS) helps schools partner with community resources to provide these children with food, clothes, counseling, and whatever it takes to help students succeed. Since this program is supported by federal grants, the majority of their funds are allocated for helping the students, so their infrastructure database often lags behind in priority. After Community In Schools of Houston (CISH) learned about Envoc through our online portfolio, we began a partnership that has lasted over ten years.


The beginning stages of working with CISH were very different from how we approach clients now; however, CISH approached us for help after a disappointing experience with another company that built the foundation of the current CISH web portal. With such a large operation across the United States, CISH has quite a number of employees, each with a particular responsibility including extensive data entry regarding individual student information, managing schools, student and staff rosters with detailed characteristics, and finally determining the types of risks associated with each student and assigning appropriate actions and responses.


Their existing process of filling out and managing paperwork for tens of thousands of students as well as tracking the responsibilities and execution of certain roles were becoming less and less practical as their network of schools and community resources grew. It was clear that the existing portal couldn’t be completely scrapped, but it was also far removed from Envoc’s standards and practices both practically and technically, so Envoc developers’ first challenge was learning how to improve on an existing weak code base.





The Envoc Approach

Envoc developers never back down from a challenge, and CISH presented one of the most extensive and complex workflows our team has worked on to date. Even though CISH has funding limits, Envoc developers use the agile method, which means they can focus on and complete a foundation and build functionality as CISH makes new requests. Our project managers and developers established a hierarchy of deliverables to improve CISH’s workflows while repairing and configuring the existing code base. Over the years, our developers approached a new process or feature improvement as CISH funding would allow.


The first of many steps was shortening a lot of the existing paper related workflows by having the site handle an assortment of new processes. Over time, we supported more users/roles for site use, we allowed for more data entry, additional reporting features, better security, as well as improvements to overall performance and speed. Even today, our developers make additions and enhancements that further streamline the client’s processes.

The Envoc Approach The Envoc Approach

"What began as data collection by pen and paper is now a full data entry and reporting system where CIS employees can enter and store data for all of our sites." - Aline Nahhas, MA Director of Quality & Standards

The Envoc Solution

Since the CISH web portal is an ongoing project, Envoc developers have completed multiple levels of solutions over the past decade. The overall solution is an ever-improving web portal that can be independently managed by CISH administrators. The portal provides thousands of employees with a centralized database to complete and view student, school, and community resource entries. Administrators are able to manage users, control who can and cannot enter data, and which type of data is relevant to a specific role.


Additionally, they can provide which community resources are available for specific student characteristics. Administrators also have read/write/delete permissions across the entire site as well as access to all possible generated reports. One of the most important functions Envoc developers have streamlined is the role assignments. This feature provides each CISH employee with detailed responsibilities and self-accountability. For instance, Data Entry and Field Staff users manage student information, and student /group activity information for their assigned school or location. These roles are responsible for determining the best way to support a student with the resources available based on the set of student’s characteristics. While much of these tasks boil down to data entry, the Data Entry and Field Staff users’ roles are much more complex.


The CISH web portal provides employees with a clear and concise report based on complex sets of characteristics, which allows extensive management of CISH’s primary concern, providing students with as many and the best resources available to help them succeed.


  • Role-based data entry and management
  • Report Generation to showcase specific datasets
  • Student, Site, and Service Event management
  • Extensive validation to ensure correct data entry and avoid common mistakes

Let's bring your idea to life

Contact the Envoc team now>