UCP Charter Schools

Finding a Long-Term Answer to Compliance, Learning Gains and IEP Goal Tracking

* Brand Change Note: At the time of this case study Brolly was known as Athlos Special Education Logs. We have updated to name to Brolly throughout for clarity.

Ambitious for All Students

UCP Charter Schools’ mission breaks from the mold of many charter schools: the eight Central Florida-based charter schools seek to create fully inclusive learning communities that provide a comprehensive and well-rounded education through unique experiences and individualized instruction. Their model seeks to give students equal access to an education that empowers them academically and socially, welcoming children with and without disabilities to an environment that is inclusive and provides opportunities to learn, play, and grow together.

The charter’s emphasis on inclusion and community learning, along with the UCP organization’s 60-year history providing medical therapy, charter therapy, charter education, and support services to over 3,500 children and their families each year presents huge challenges and opportunities in tracking and reporting the breadth and depth of services their diverse student population receives.

UCP by the numbers graphic. 75% of students will meet 75% of IEP goals, 3500 children and families served each year, 1.5 million minutes logged, 77,000 logs submitted.
Anna O’Connor Morin, Senior Director of Education at UCP Charter Schools, recounted the years-long process to find a streamlined service tracking and reporting solution, with UCP teachers in mind.

“They did a lot of manual goal tracking for services,” O’Connor Morin said. “That’s always been paper-pencil, then it turned into a spreadsheet. We tried Google, we tried working with some PhD students, engineering students, believe it or not, to create some things. Over years we’ve been trying to solve this problem.”

The network’s search opened up considerably when UCP became its own Local Education Agency (LEA) five years ago. Most importantly, becoming an LEA grew UCP’s special education relationship with the Florida Bureau of Exceptional Student Education.

Many Services, One Platform

One of the greatest efficiencies UCP has already enjoyed from its use of Athlos (now Brolly) has been the consolidation of reporting on medical therapy and academic support services onto one reporting platform, accommodating and simplifying a unique feature of UCP’s service offerings for students.

“We have medical and school therapy under every roof of our buildings, which makes us even more unique,” O’Connor Morin said. “Education and medical used to sit together under this therapy umbrella, we took education therapy and moved it under education. We said, if we’re going to do all IEP stuff in Brolly*, then we should do all therapy IEP things under Brolly* as well. We quickly moved on that, and that changed the scope of the rollout. That has been very positive. It has been a great way for us to track, monitor and report. Prior to that, everything was in a spreadsheet.”

That newfound simplicity alone, O’Connor Morin reports, made reliable data tracking and reporting possible through so many of the challenges of the past year, especially those that were pandemic related.

“It’s high stakes, when it’s the sessions you’re providing,” O’Connor Morin points out. Brolly* has been key in “helping weather the storm. There is no way that we would’ve been able to navigate [the existing medical therapy system] as a school system. It would have been debilitating with education folks to utilize that effectively.”

The improved monitoring has allowed O’Connor Morin and her medical therapy counterpart, David D’Amato, to identify and respond to service gaps and challenges much more quickly than ever before. Students are being better served, issues more quickly identified and resolved because of the additional insights the Athlos platform has provided.

O’Connor Morin also looks forward to fully integrating with Florida’s Medicaid Match system when it is fully up and running, as the Brolly* system already has the data needed for the Medicaid portal.

Focus on Learning

The most crucial piece of reporting data that O’Connor Morin and UCP teachers and therapists now have at their fingertips is IEP Goals Met, allowing them a quick look at how students are progressing against the benchmarks and goals set forth for their personalized learning needs. .

Person looking at district IEP goal tracking analytics on tablet

Service tracking has also become an even more critical component of UCP’s work, especially with staffing shortages and pandemic-related disruptions. The efficiencies of the Brolly* system for tracking service minutes have allowed the UCP team to quickly identify gaps and utilize precious staff time for the benefit of students.

O’Connor Morin also points out that the benefits of the app will help UCP stay ahead of important trends in special education compliance. “Nationally, the pendulum is swinging. The last ten years a lot of the state complaints and legal issues have centered around compliance, and now they’re going to center around learning gains and implementing the IEP. So districts are going to be looking for other ways to document district gains. Brolly*, in my mind, is our answer for that, long-term.”

Overall Benefits

When O’Connor Morin reflects on UCP’s journey with Brolly* so far, she quickly ticks off the benefits: “Being able to go and monitor so easily. Who is using it, what’s in there, who is not. How do we coach those teachers up and provide the support. The accessibility and portability of it, meaning any device at any time. Those have been the key pieces for us.”

While a small pilot would have been UCP’s preference, pandemic restraints forced a network-wide rollout. With repeated, bite-size professional support and “chunking” onboarding training for new staff across the network, O’Connor Morin is proud of the success of the rollout. Creating productive feedback loops and working closely with the state, Brolly* and internal staff partners has only increased the efficacy of the tool throughout the year, and O’Connor looks forward to completing a full year’s cycle of reporting with the relative clarity and ease that the Brolly* reporting features provide.

Confident that other districts across the state could benefit from the Brolly*solution as well, O’Connor Morin adds, “They don’t know what they’re missing.”

* Brand Change Note: At the time of this case study Brolly was known as Athlos Special Education Logs. We have updated to name to Brolly throughout for clarity.