Dallas ISD is on a mission to become the best urban school district in the country. Already a leader in public school choice offerings, the district encompasses 230 schools, serves nearly 150,000 students, and employs over 22,000 staff members. Its identity and access management (IAM) system accommodates about 250,000 user accounts, including staff, students, vendors, and contractors.
CHALLENGE: When Jon Hurley joined Dallas ISD as the Assistant Superintendent of Technology, the district was ready to modernize its digital infrastructure, particularly the on-premise IAM system. Due to insufficient knowledge transfer as well as a patchwork of custom code added to the system over time, the IAM system became difficult to maintain and keep secure.
Working with Danh Dang and Daniel Olivas, the district’s Cloud Architects, Hurley chose three criteria for the new system: simplicity, standardization, and security.
It had to be easy to use and maintain and ideally Cloud- and SaaS-based, following the district’s Cloud-first strategy. “Whenever we talk about a new system or process, we run it through that filter,” says Hurley. “We want to do things in a very standard way, simplify as much as possible, and try to rely on partners that we know.”
SOLUTION: RapidIdentity was designed with the K-12 environment in mind, without any compromises on the backend, exceeding the district's expectations. “Oftentimes you find edtech vendors who have a K-12 focus but don’t have real engineering talent to back it up,” says Hurley. “Engineering and product management at RapidIdentity think about the classroom.”
Hurley, Dang, and Olivas’s next steps were to gather input from key stakeholders. They held a series of discovery meetings with school leadership, human resources, and development. They also met with the team at PowerSchool, Dallas ISD’s student information system vendor, to prepare for the integration. “We had to bring a lot of different groups together and figure out the requirements,” says Dang.
For the first implementation phase, Dallas ISD deployed two RapidIdentity solutions:
Transitioning to RapidIdentity was simple, thanks to help from the Dallas ISD communications team. Communications published information about the change on the district’s website, wrote social media posts, and added notices to the district’s newsletter. When it came time for teachers to claim their accounts, the communications team contacted the teachers through the school messenger service. “If our documentation were too technical, they would reword it so the end users would understand,” says Dang. “Comms understood the customer.”
In addition to proactive communication, an advanced account claiming process made the shift easier for teachers, as well. Teachers could claim their RapidIdentity accounts as early as May, several weeks before they lost access to the old system. Meanwhile, returning students and new staff and students received an email with everything they needed to access RapidIdentity. On the first day of school, the district saw 150,000 successful logins.
Finally, the team at Moran Technology Consulting played an essential role in implementing Rapididentity. They were readily available and invested in the district’s success. “We felt like they were part of our team,” says Hurley.
RESULTS: Since RapidIdentity went live in July 2023, Hurley, Dang, and Olivas have seen sweeping changes across the district’s security, backend management, and classroom experience.