KPS4Parents Takes Special Needs Education to the Next Level
Parents, educators, and attorneys securely collaborate for the benefit of students.
KPS4Parents is a nonprofit child and family advocacy organization focused on the needs of students with disabilities in the early education, K-12, and post-secondary settings. Founded in 2003, the California-based organization helps parents and adult students throughout the United States navigate the highly regulated bureaucracy of public education and publicly funded educational programs. Its goal is to ensure each individual student receives the outcomes promised to them by law and funded by taxpayer dollars.
Challenge: Antiquated Document Management
At the core of special needs education is the Individualized Educational Program (IEP) — a very document intensive process that produces a legally binding controlling document, an IEP, for each special education student. A single case can generate over 1,000 records from 10 different stakeholders including parents, attorneys, educators, expert advisors, school districts, regulatory investigators, administrative hearing offices, and federal courts. “The documents save the day when it comes to IEPs. It’s a black and white, evidence-based journey,” said KPS4Parents CEO Anne Zachry.
Many parents become overwhelmed by the sea of documentation and the multitude of ways those documents are shared. They or their representatives must fax, email in batches over unsecured connections, make hard copies of paper records, mail CDs of audio recordings, and/or deliver evidence binders to hearing officers and investigators in person.
As of late, the administrative hearing offices and courts require digital uploads of evidence instead of paper copies or recordings on portable storage devices. KPS4Parents is better prepared to accommodate digital document sharing than most school districts and law firms, which are still heavily using paper.
“The documents save the day when it comes to IEPs. It’s a black and white, evidence-based journey... [Egnyte] is the hub; everyone is depending on it.”
CEO • KPS4Parents
Solution: Modernized, Secure File Sharing
KPS4Parents recognized the need for parents, outside experts, attorneys, and advocates to share confidential evidence in a highly secure and user-friendly environment. Egnyte was selected for its security model, scalability, and ease of use for both the sender and the recipient.
Using the platform, the typical case flow follows this pattern:
New client folder created on Egnyte, with parental access to the child’s folder and sub-folders
The local school district uploads files to a secure folder, but cannot access the rest of the child’s records
KPS4Parents reviews the information and creates a report outlining the child’s IEP
Records are shared as needed with expert assessors, attorneys, state and federal regulators, or other enforcement officials
Folder and file permissions are easily revoked when users no longer need access to the data
Egnyte keeps important records submission-ready for digital sharing with stakeholders and decision-makers. Because education records are protected under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and sometimes also the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the security that Egnyte provides to keep records secure is imperative. Everyone involved has peace of mind in knowing they are not risking disclosure of protected information.
Results: Streamlined Processes for Parents and Stakeholders
KPS4Parents has received glowing praise for its processes and use of the Egnyte platform to facilitate secure communication with all stakeholders involved in its cases.
Heather Dora, a licensed educational psychologist who has worked in the public school system and as a private practitioner, attested to the value of Egnyte for school districts. “Its user-friendly nature ultimately benefits the student, reduces litigation brought against the district, and increases efficiency so that psychologists and other professionals can focus on meaningful work.”
An attorney from the U.S. Department of Education has expressed his appreciation for how KPS4Parents uses Egnyte to share evidence in support of regulatory complaints. According to Goriune Dudukgian of the California Justice Project: “Management and sharing of confidential, legally protected documents is essential to our work,” he said. “Egnyte has greatly facilitated our work because it is HIPAA and FERPA compliant, very easy to use, and searchable… allowing us to find the needle in a haystack.”
Parents appreciate the 24/7 access to their children's records and the ability to add new records to their children's files the moment they become available, including uploading photos or PDFs of documents, voice mail messages, audio recordings of meetings, and other important records from their mobile devices with the Egnyte app. They can also retrieve and share records with doctors and specialists on the spot during appointments using the Egnyte app on their devices. The speed of communication and the efficiency with which KPS4Parents' cases can be processed make it possible to overcome the hurdles of complex, publicly funded programs for people with disabilities. “Egnyte has been immensely beneficial with the collaboration among my son’s entire team. Sending and storing files in an organized way while being able to isolate who can see what, is a great benefit,” said one KPS4Parents client.
Many KPS4Parents students and their families stay with the organization for years, from preschool to high school graduation and beyond. All documentation for each student is available to parents throughout their journey. The importance of that data is near and dear to Anne Zachry of KPS4Parents: “I’d go without food before I’d go without Egnyte. It’s the hub; everyone is depending on it.”
Looking ahead, KPS4Parents plans to develop an app for parents to track their children's special education programs. The intent is to help parents better advocate for themselves. Leveraging Egnyte for secure document storage, the app will include guides for regulatory timelines that integrate with calendar apps to help parents keep on top of assessments, IEP meetings, and other regulated procedures. It will also include case management tools to help parents identify the necessary steps to solve specific challenges. Automated workflow processes will build evidence lists and case maps as needed.