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Christina Musinski, Author at Epicenter

24 Jul

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Back to School Refresher!

July 24, 2017 | By |

With the start of school just around the corner, we thought we would quickly highlight the main features of Epicenter. If there is a feature you are not using and would like to learn more about, or you just want a refresher before the school bell rings, contact us and we would be happy to work with you to show you how to take advantage of our time-saving features!

 

Document Management
Whether you’re looking for a piece of paper that was stored across the hall or across the state, Epicenter streamlines document management by providing a simple system to easily collect, organize, and track documents. Its powerful search engine also allows you to find, retrieve, and share documents anywhere, anytime, and anyplace.

 

Compliance & Workflow
Your job is to help provide the best education possible for your kids, not to chase documents, repeat directions, and monitor reports. Epicenter streamlines and automates these functions, freeing you up to spend more time on your core mission.

For example, Epicenter offers a shared calendar. Using this feature, you and your team will be automatically notified what is due and when, and who is responsible. Epicenter ensures submissions get routed to the right people for review and approval, and provides a digital paper trail to prove it.

 

Board Governance
Simplify board preparations and equip your board with the data and documents they need to govern wisely. Each time the board meets, board members and management must perform pre- and post-meeting tasks. For example, they might publish an advance public notice of the meeting, assemble and distribute a meeting packet, and later post any approved documents. Epicenter makes these tasks simple and routine.

Epicenter also displays board member profiles in an easy-to-use interface. Photos, titles, terms, member-related documents — they’re all there! You can even store and retrieve information on prospective candidates for the board.

 

Charter Life Cycle
Epicenter provides authorizers with an aligned, seamless, and integrated way to manage each stage of a school: application for a charter, start-up, operations, reauthorization, and sometimes even closure. Each stage imposes fresh demands. With Epicenter, you don’t need new software to navigate each stage of the school life cycle.

 

Conclusion
If you have any questions about Epicenter or want to learn more about any function, contact us at (855) 889-1624 and we would be happy to show you how Epicenter can make your life easier and more efficient.

05 May

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Authorizers share their stories

May 5, 2017 | By |

Hear authorizers share how Epicenter has changed their work process!

06 Apr

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Hear Kisha Verdusco’s Story

April 6, 2017 | By |


DPS Director Kisha Verdusco shares her Epicenter experience.

06 Apr

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Did you know?

April 6, 2017 | By |

Did you know that there is a “Board Packet” feature found in the overview tab of Board Center?  This feature makes it easy to access materials from previous meetings. When enabled by a System Administrator, the Board Packet area allows board members – and others with access to the Board Center – to view and download all of the board documents for a particular board meeting that are being collected in Epicenter.  The complete set of documents from a board meeting can be quickly downloaded as a zip file or combined into a single pdf.

 

06 Apr

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Welcoming our newest partner!

April 6, 2017 | By |

Welcome to Epicenter!
North Central Ohio Educational Service Center

The North Central Ohio Educational Service Center (NCOESC) has sponsored schools in Ohio for six years. They currently sponsor fourteen conversion schools around the state. The NCOESC is committed to excellence as they strive to become a sponsor recognized for adherence to high quality authorizing practices as defined by The Ohio Department of Education Office of Quality School Choice.

Part of their mission is to build strong partnerships with developers and educational leaders of community schools in support of school choice. Epicenter is pleased to be partnering with the NCOESC and we look forward to a strong relationship that will support their authorizing goals!

06 Apr

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Newsletter Survey: Tell us what you want to read about!

April 6, 2017 | By |

The Epicenter team wants to hear from you regarding these newsletters!  We have a quick survey that will take less than two minutes to fill out, and your responses will help make these newsletters better and more tailored to your needs.  Thanks in advance for taking the survey and you can click here to start!

06 Apr

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NEW: How-to videos that will guide you through Epicenter

April 6, 2017 | By |

Are you a visual person? Do you find it easier to get things done after watching a short video? If so, Epicenter has you covered!

 

Recently, the team at Epicenter created new updates to help you better manage your schools and increase your productivity. These updates came out in December and are designed to make Epicenter more powerful and even easier to use.  We now have updated our Setup Guide videos to reflect these improved functions.

 

While anyone with access to Epicenter can watch these videos, they are designed for Epicenter System Administrators. The videos are simple and offer step-by-step instructions, in plain language, on a variety of topics. For example, have you ever wondered how the different pieces of Epicenter security work? Now you can go to the Security Overview video to understand exactly how the following pieces function:

  • User Groups:
  • User Roles (including Permissions and Responsibilities);
  • Entity Groups; and
  • Role Links.

Links to all the videos are available on our Getting Started page and in the Epicenter Setup Guide. They cover the following topics:

  • Setting up boards, management organizations, and schools;
  • Setting up submission groups, types, and collections;
  • Scheduling submission requirements, including recurring, non-recurring, individual, and collection requirements;
  • Security;
  • Managing board members; and
  • Completing submission reviews and approvals.

The Epicenter team hopes these videos are useful and will assist you in complying with requirements and increasing your productivity. If you have questions, you can always reach us directly by calling us at 855-889-1624 or emailing us at support@epicenternow.org.

06 Apr

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Upcoming Webinar: Preparing your Epicenter for 2017-18

April 6, 2017 | By |

Due to popular demand, we are excited to announce that we will be hosting webinars for System Administrators to help prepare their Epicenter for 2017-18. During this webinar, we will cover a checklist of actions that we recommend completing to ensure another successful year. These actions include, but are not limited to:

  • Reviewing Active User Accounts;
  • Completing Review/Approval Tasks;
  • Evaluating Compliance Performance; and
  • Copying forward your Compliance Requirements into 2017-18.

If you are an Epicenter System Administrator, please keep an eye on your inbox this month for a link to register for one of the May webinars.

10 Jan

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The Power of Discussion Notes

January 10, 2017 | By |

Epicenter provides not only a means to track and store documents but also a place to house discussion notes on a board, board member, management organization, or a school.  For example, a field representative can use Epicenter to record notes or follow-ups while visiting a school.  The field rep can subscribe to any notes written on their schools and easily find any previous notes written about a school.  Also, if anyone from the authorizing office writes a note on a field rep’s school, that field rep will receive the note via email and can easily follow up.  If a field rep leaves the authorizing organization, all notes will remain in Epicenter’s Notes Section.

Epicenter also provides an efficient way to communicate about submissions.  Users who review and approve submissions can easily communicate to the submitter by selecting the New Topic button found at the bottom of the Notes Section of their review or approval task.  The submitter will automatically receive any notes via email, and the submitter can then follow-up (as long as the submitter has permission to view notes).  This is a timely and efficient way to communicate on a submission. Also, all notes are stored indefinitely for future users to see, so it’s a great way to build a history around each item.

06 Jan

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Epicenter Working to Make the New Missouri Charter Public School Commission a Success

January 6, 2017 | By |

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The Missouri Charter Public School Commission (MCPSC) is approximately two years old but they are already having a positive impact on education.  Their commissioners were appointed in September 2014 and Robbyn Wahby was hired as the Executive Director in May 2015. They sponsored their first school in October 2015 and that school opened in August.

 

Before working at the MCPSC, Wahby spent nearly fourteen years in the office of St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay.  In the mayor’s office she worked on education policy, and had a hand in the launch of an exciting charter school effort in that city.  That effort led to a successful policy that currently has over 10,000 students in charters.  Under the leadership of Mayor Slay, St. Louis opened 26 charter schools in almost 10 years and also successfully increased enrollment in public schools by three percent.  The mayor also closed six low performing charters, which demonstrates that the mayor’s plan was not about charter schools, but about promoting quality education.

 

Missouri opened their first charter school in 1999, and the MCPSC was created add to the state’s charter schools landscape by ensuring that there were enough independent statewide sponsors of charter schools.  The goal of the MCPSC is to make sure that all children in Missouri have access to high-performing public schools, whether that be a traditional public school or a charter school.

 

“We’re really careful about setting numbers—our goal is quality,” said Wahby.  “Ultimately our goal is to sponsor high-performing schools so everyone has access to a good school, especially in our two urban areas of St. Louis and Kansas City.”

 

The MCPSC also strives to disseminate best educational practices.  They want to make sure that whoever is involved in education–whether it be teachers, parents, or principals–knows what charter schools are about and knows that positive events are happening in charter schools that can be replicated elsewhere.

 

And Epicenter has been a tremendous help to the MCPSC team.

 

“Epicenter has been a terrific addition to our operations,” said Wahby.  “We want to share quality and that quality is seen throughout our accountability work.  We are public schools and the public has a right to information that is as transparent as possible.  Epicenter allows us to take all contracts, data, and information from the schools and simply and easily give that data to the public so they can determine whether we are doing our job and whether the schools are doing their job–both on the finance side and on the academic side.”

 

“Also, we need to have the information necessary to make the best decisions and protect the autonomy of our schools.  Epicenter gives us all the tools to accomplish these goals by giving applicants equal access to data and information, and allowing us to process data.”

 

When MCPSC was established, they wanted to be lean and ensure that resources went directly to the schools.  As a public agency, MCPSC went through the bidding process for a software firm.

 

“We were familiar with Epicenter, but we also asked others to bid on our technology needs,” Wahby said.  “Epicenter was head and shoulders above the rest.  It was easy to select them.  There are a lot of products out there that gather and aggregate data, but Epicenter had the ability to aggregate the performance data and give that to the public through our website.”

 

“There is an interest to get data out and to be as transparent as possible.  The key is to give the public data and also perspective on the data.  That is where Epicenter shined, especially in the performance center portion of Epicenter.  The ability to track the academic and financial performance of schools was critically important.  It’s also important for the public and legislature to see the status of our schools.”

 

“Finally, one of the great things about Epicenter has been that it’s easy to use.  The Epicenter team that offers assistance was phenomenal, and a special kudos to Stephanie for her help!  I would absolutely recommend Epicenter to others and I hope others in Missouri would use Epicenter–we would highly recommend it!”