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How San Francisco Made Sure Its School Teachers Were Teaching the Right Classes

Joan O’Neill, HR Manager, Menlo Park City School DistrictJoan O’Neill, HR Manager, Menlo Park City School District
Joan O’Neill, HR Manager, Menlo Park City School DistrictPhotograph by Brad Wenner

There’s got to be a better way to do this,” Joan O’Neill thought as she pored over the master schedules, student case loads, and credentials of dozens of schools and teachers. O’Neill is now a human resources manager in the Menlo Park City School District. But in 2015 she was a credential analyst in the San Francisco Unified School District, where she had to perform an audit of 36 elementary, middle, and high schools. She first requested from each school printouts of the teachers’ credentials and the classes they led. Then she cross-referenced the classes to ensure they were in compliance with various education codes. She also checked California credentialing websites to make sure instructors were teaching the right classes.

“It just drove me insane,” O’Neill recalls. “I spent so much time flipping through pages.”

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So O’Neill got to work on a project dubbed Access, which linked courses and credentials for each class in the district. After writing the logic, O’Neill worked with the district’s technologists to create the application. Now one click runs a report that displays each error in the district. The system also includes employee information, allowing for far easier review of records for arrests and credential revocations.

“We’re in the heart of Silicon Valley,” O’Neill says. “Technology surrounds us, and we should try to incorporate that into our work.”

This article is part of the Future of Work article from Fortune’s July 1, 2016 issue. Click here to see the entire package.