Engaging and Empowering Parents in a New Way: YES Prep’s Parent Portal

YES Prep Public Schools believes guardian involvement is one of the most critical factors in creating successful students. After discovering that guardians could not easily access student records, YES Prep decided to build a parent portal that takes advantage of Microsoft Azure Active Directory B2C (Azure AD B2C) and multi-language support. The portal provides 30,000–40,000 parents and guardians secure access to student information in their preferred language.

The implementation of the parent portal began through an initial partnership with Oxford Computer Group (OCG), a Microsoft partner that YES Prep Public Schools already had an established, trusted relationship with. Together, YES Prep and OCG coordinated sign-ins and access to both their previous systems and Azure AD, then worked together to connect those tenants. Migration to Azure AD B2C was a quick process, with a turnaround from pilot testing to implementation of only four months.

Providing a Simple Solution for a Complex Problem

YES Prep selected Azure AD B2C as the identity and access management solution for its parent portal due to the solution’s ability to protect user identities while performing at scale. Azure AD B2C guardians to seamlessly sign in to the parent portal with social accounts or personal emails. Their identities are matched to the credentials outlined in student records. This keeps YES Prep FERPA compliant while still allowing parents and guardians easy access to student records.

Microsoft and our partner, Oxford Computer Group, provided one of the easiest identity management migrations. We were also impressed with the lower development costs associated with having a rationalized identity structure. – Troy Neal, Managing Director of Information Services at YES Prep Public Schools

Engaging Parents in a New Way

One immediate benefit of YES Prep’s parent portal is the solution’s ability to allow parents and guardians to be more proactive in their children’s education with complete access to student records. Typically, adding 40,000 additional users to a system would lead to an expansion in the IT department. However, YES Prep hasn’t had to increase staff headcount at all. Instead, the can take advantage of the automated technology features of Azure AD B2C to perform self-service password reset and other administrative tasks. Another benefit is that Azure AD B2C onboards new applications much more efficiently due to its established authentication methodology. Both save time for the IT department, freeing up resources to focus on other pressing needs within the organization.

YES Prep’s parent portal also provides a channel for communication between parents and faculty. Relevant news and updates are available in 16 different languages and are delivered to parents on a single landing page. This channel keeps parents and guardians engaged and enables two-way communication between parents and teachers, a process which previously involved paper mail.

Maintaining FERPA Compliance

Like many organizations that must maintain FERPA compliance, YES Prep found compliance costly, due to disparate, siloed systems. Consolidating identity management with Azure AD B2C simplified how parents and guardians access records, lowering the organization’s overall costs, especially the cost of compliance – in dollars and manpower.

Azure AD B2C was our solution of choice because it not only meets FERPA regulations, but it also helps us manage identities at scale, all while being cost-effective and secure. – Troy Neal

As YES Prep continues to fulfill its mission, the organization plans to streamline its security and identity processes. In finding new ways to take advantage of technology, it will learn even more from its relationship with Microsoft. In the near future, YES Prep plans to work with Microsoft to migrate from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams to better enable voice capabilities.

Find the right partner, so you’re not in this journey alone. It solves many issues. It also allows you to think as your parents, or your customer, and not like a technology organization. – Troy Neal

Is your school or district facing similar challenges? Are you interested in implementing a single, scalable identity solution? Then call us for advice today.