Let’s go back to the start!
The Smart Choice system was conceived in 2004 as an online application and application management system by high school junior, Casey Bienvenu. It was a school project for the career academy he was attending, the Academy of Information Technology program at Carencro High School.
The initial system was so well-received that it was soon adopted by the Lafayette Parish Schools System to manage applications and place students through the lottery management system for its Schools of Choice programs.
Smart Choice Today
Since then, the platform has grown and evolved into a full-featured system, and includes many of the features that our clients know and love today.
In 2012 Casey left long-time employer Firefly Digital to start Smart Choice. At that time, a partnership was formed with Firefly to exclusively market, implement and support the platform. Since then, the system has grown and many new innovations have emerged through our work with clients on their projects.
In 2018, Smart Choice Technologies and Firefly Digital conducted a merger to streamline operations and maximize its resources to deliver our powerful platform to more customers and at a lower cost. Today, the Smart Choice team is an integral part of the Firefly Digital family. It is stronger, more capable and more affordable than ever. We continue to innovate our platform, serve a growing and enthusiastic client base, and help our clients innovate and revitalize PreK-12 education – something we are all very passionate about!
The Smart Choice Process
With a background in software development and interaction, specifically with educational institutions, the Smart Choice process is tried and true for streamlining the often difficult process of implementing a new online system.
Smart Choice Technologies only offers products specific to schools and districts, so our entire process and team is dedicated to creating a workflow for our clients that is efficient for the district and team assigned to the project. Once a client of Smart Choice, the district will be assigned an Account Executive. This representative will be the “owner” of the project and works with other Smart Choice team members throughout implementation.
Once the contract is executed, your project begins with the Kick-Off Meeting.
During this meeting you will meet your account manager, who will guide you through the project and provide support after launch. The kick-off meeting is the first step in this new relationship.
Prior to this meeting, internal preparations are conducted to ensure the project’s success. These key planning activities include research, team development, and internal scheduling.
During this meeting, details required to complete the scope of work will be documented and verified. Project deliverables, deadlines, expectations, and more, are addressed and documented.
The Smart Choice team utilizes a patented documentation process to gather project information from the kick-off meeting through the completion of the project. The project brief is a regimented guide to the details needed for implementation, and serve as the foundation of your project. This document has been crafted over the years to adhere to our processes and system as well as maintaining all essential details required to define your online application, lottery, wait list and enrollment processes.
Based on your solution requirements, Smart Choice utilizes a project management system through which we establish a series of milestones and related tasks to facilitate the implementation process.
The Account Executive assigned to your project will guide you through the process, gather the information needed for each of the tasks, and manage the development of these tasks according to the established timeline. Throughout implementation, your team will be updated on deliverables needed, progress, and more.
Testing & Review
With each milestone and task, internal testing and review is completed to ensure that it adheres to the specific requirements specified by the district.
The Account Manager assigned to your project will review each milestone with you to ensure it’s completed to the district’s specifications. After each milestone is tested and reviewed, the district team will also be trained on how to use the system.
The district’s Account Manager is the central point of contact for the duration of the project, including implementation, launch and post launch periods.
This centralizes and streamlines communication and the documentation process. During the application and lottery phase, your team will communicate with your Account Manager to finalize development specs, review completed features and conduct beta testing. The Account Manager will also handle day to day support and assistance during the lottery process and post lottery.
The Smart Choice System has allowed us to fine tune how we handle our lottery process and how we get our message across to parents and community members.Randall Domingue, Marketing & Recruitment Coordinator, Lafayette Parish Schools of Choice
Not only has the Smart Choice system improved the user experience for our application and lottery process, it has created a new system of accountability and control for our district choice process.Enid Rey, Director of School Choice, Hartford Public Schools
The excellent customer service provided by the Smart Choice team has been the best we have ever received. The staff was so responsive to our districts needs...This application and lottery management system has truly been the “Smart Choice” for Durham Public Schools.Donna Hudson, Director of Student Assignment, Durham Public Schools
Smart Choice Technologies has been all that Glendale Unified School District (GUSD) could have hoped for in an online application management and lottery system and more! What makes Smart Choice Technologies stand out...Sherry Kully, Elementary Magnet Schools Coordinator, Glendale Unified School District
Smart Choices’ customer services and system tailoring have proven to be very helpful, quick and precise in meeting needs for the first year rollout. We look forward to a long relationship with Smart Choice.Lou Kruger, Executive Director, St. Louis Public School Magnet and Choice School Placement