Preschool2me, Oakland

Kapil Rajurkar, Chief Imagination Officer, Preschool2me
“Through the STIR engagement Preschool2me had the tremendous opportunity to work with City of Oakland Head Start program. We had focused sessions with Head Start teachers and administrative staff to test our platform and receive invaluable feedback. We have benefited a lot from this engagement.”
Marisa Raya, City of Oakland

“The STIR program provided an opportunity for us to identify City staff and Departments who were hungry for innovation and match them with highly skilled startups to co-create solutions. I was really inspired by our City staff’s excitement for the program and their ability to work in an agile environment. The startups brought design and technical skills we wouldn’t have had access to otherwise.”

Challenge


The Oakland Human Services Department (DHS) provides programming, policy and planning for early childhood development and education, children and youth services, aging and adult services and community housing. As part of its offerings, DHS oversees the City’s Head Start program and was seeking to implement a user-friendly, integrated software tool to support Head Start outreach and enrollment, simplify program administration and track program clientele. The department wanted the app to be easy for both City employees and Head Start parents to deploy, use and maintain. Desired features included a phone-based application process, a data dashboard that administered information on current enrollees and a reporting system for applicant data. The app could also provide notifications for parent activities or parent meetings; child development resources; the daily schedule; the monthly menu; health tips, and ask for parent feedback.

Process


The Preschool2me team had weekly calls and in-person visits with DHS to understand which of the features Preschool2me offered would work for the Oakland Head Start program, and which areas of the product needed customization. Preschool2me provided onsite training to Head Start program staff, during which they had the opportunity to learn directly from this new group of users and refine the product based on that feedback. This led to customization of the company’s software solution that fit the unique needs of DHS and Head Start program participants.

Product


Preschool2me adapted its core technology to engage parents and childcare providers through mobile messaging, photo sharing and reporting to the city of Oakland and its Head Start program. Preschool2me also developed a new feature within their existing product to support Head Start outreach, enrollment and administration.

Outcomes


  • Preschool2me was able to work with the Head Start program in Oakland, having previously only worked with Head Start in Austin, TX. They have since been introduced to other jurisdictions and agencies.
  • DHS and Preschool2me worked together to define milestones for delivery and implementation.
  • The hands-on process facilitated through the STIR program enabled Preschool2me to identify gaps and engage with users earlier to improve its product overall.
  • Preschool2me can now roll out its new feature for program outreach, administration and enrollment to new and existing customers.