Case Study: Visions In Education

Visions In Education provides personalized educational alternatives to students from all backgrounds. Through their partnership with MBS Direct, the charter school offers course materials options that suit students’ diverse needs.

Visions In Education Families Save Money

Giving families a choice in their child's education

Visions In Education is a tuition-free public charter school that provides a high-quality, standards-based education to homeschool families and independent study high school students in California. The school provides families looking for an alternative to traditional public schools with flexibility in their child’s education.

"We are approaching our 19th year. We are growing, but purposefully not growing off the charts. We have some big initiatives we are working on," Tom Tafoya, director of business and technology at Visions In Education, said.

The number of charter schools and interested students continues to grow year after year in California. Visions In Education has 5,300 students — with plans to grow to 5,400 next year — between the TK-12 Home School Academy, University Prep Academy and the Independent Study High School Academy. The administration has chosen to grow the school slowly so they can stay in touch with the best ways to serve students and families.

"We really try to focus on being in tune with what our customers want. That’s probably a different mindset than most schools have. They don't look at their students as customers," Tafoya said. "We provide a variety of options to a variety of students in different circumstances. That's really unique. In public schools, if you are a square peg and all they have are round holes, there's really not a whole lot of places for you. That's what charter schools provide: the ability to fit the square peg in a square hole. Part of the partnership with MBS Direct is staying ahead of that and being responsive to the needs of our families."

Why MBS Direct?

The 3,500 students in the Visions In Education TK-12 Home School Academy each receive a budget to order their necessary materials or services. For years, the staff processed orders manually, but as the school grew, the quantity of orders across multiple vendors became overwhelming. The administration looked to technology to help simplify the ordering process to make it more efficient for their students and them.

The partnership with MBS Direct has given us a strategic advantage. It has given us staying power for our families. They know they can go to Visions and shop easily and get their stuff quickly and at a fair price.

— Tom Tafoya

"We started a conversation with MBS Direct because they have good prices and they provide good customer service to our families," Tafoya said. "Families at Visions have the freedom to choose many different vendors, but MBS Direct is getting a big chunk of that business. We are finding with the new ordering process, we have actually shifted the parents' buying habits. They used to spend more on services, but now they are buying more educational materials because they can get it easier and faster. That's a win for us."

MBS Direct gives students options to fit their individual needs. Through the Online Bookstore, students and families can take advantage of reduced pricing on an expansive inventory of titles, they can choose their preferred format and they can order easily.

"We've got a great offering for people who want something different," Tafoya said. "The partnership with MBS Direct has given us a strategic advantage. It has given us staying power for our families. They know they can go to Visions and shop easily and get their stuff quickly and at a fair price. The experience of shopping through MBS Direct is no different than shopping on Amazon for our families."

MBS Direct has real-time inventory displayed online, reflecting in-stock quantities and conditions. Families can order online anytime, anywhere and receive the same knowledgeable customer support with access to around-the-clock customer service. Books are shipped within one business day of the order being placed.

"No problems with implementation, expensive backorders or any customer service issues. MBS Direct has been really top-notch," Tafoya said. "Whereas some of the vendors have their little idiosyncrasies and have backorder issues, we haven’t had those issues with MBS Direct. It has been a great partnership, especially from the technology and service perspective."

About Visions In Education:

  • 100% free public charter school
  • Serves more than 5,000 students across a nine-county service area in the Sacramento valley
  • Provides students educational choices, personalized learning and flexibility

About MBS Direct:

  • Reduced pricing on course materials with an expansive inventory of titles
  • Students choose preferred course materials format: new, used, digital or rental
  • Online course materials inventory updated instantly
  • 24/7 customer service