Helping kids at risk: How a startup’s vision became a tech solution that reaches millions

Discover how a startup expanded its ability to help at-risk kids through a new technology platform, UX design, and analytics.



Schools provide help and resources to students who they know are suffering from stress, anxiety, disengagement, depression, abuse, and other factors. But what about the kids who go undetected?

Terrace Metrics was founded in response to schools wanting to understand the behavioral-health status of their students, identify at-risk kids early on, and intervene to change the course of their lives.

Utilizing proprietary algorithms, Terrace created a behavioral health tool that established a comprehensive, non-threatening way to assess the mental well-being of students.

The tool gained rapid acceptance among school systems. They realized their current technology solution, which relied heavily on multiple stand-alone third-party tools and many manual steps, would not scale with the pace of demand.

They came to Fusion with a challenge: combine Terrace Metric’s behavioral expertise with Fusion’s design and technology know-how to reimagine their behavioral health tool. In order for Terrace Metrics to expand their solution nationally and internationally, they needed a platform that would securely scale and address the needs below:

  • Automate manual processes
  • Implement strong security features
  • Automate report generation and distribution
  • Provide schools with access to administrative tools to manage information
  • Create scalability to handle increased usage and thousands of simultaneous assessment submissions
  • Allow the addition of new features such as text to speech
  • Ensure a low operating cost


We worked with Terrace Metrics to understand their processes, goals, long-term strategy, and market demand. It became clear that a comprehensive technology solution would be required − spanning from a code repository with continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) capabilities, to development and testing capabilities, to production, monitoring, and support. It was also critical to design the user interface (UI) with focus on user experience (UX) to be easy and intuitive to use for students, parents, teachers, and administrators.

Mock up of student taking Terrace Metrics assessment

Solution design

The Fusion team developed a cloud-based web application utilizing Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud. The AWS eco-system offers the tools and services needed to overcome current challenges and future functionality, such as Cognito for secure user authentication, Lambda for managed serverless compute, DynamoDB for scalable managed database, and Polly for text-to-speech. We designed the solution based on the following architecture:

  • Multi-tenant SaaS application
  • Event-driven design
  • Serverless architecture
    • Faster time to market. (Focus on application logic not infrastructure)
    • Lower cost – pay for what you use only; no cost for idle
    • Scalability and availability
    • Resiliency – data replicated over multiple availability zones
    • No infrastructure administration
    • Extendable to offer more functionality in future such as ChatBot, Machine Learning, and Data Warehousing

We created an experience that addressed ease of use for students, parents, administrators, and mental health professionals alike. We offered the flexibility to provide text-to-speech for those with reading disabilities or focus challenges, as well as the ability to translate into other languages for non-English speakers.

Terrace Metrics example screen

Terrace Metrics example testing screen

Fusion’s solution is fast, secure, and scalable, allowing Terrace Metrics to evaluate over 50,000 simultaneous survey responses and support more than 50 million users. Results and reports are available instantly, rather than having to wait days.

By creating an extensible platform on AWS, Fusion was able to add international support after launch, adding new languages and deploying the application in other countries as Terrace Metrics launched their product to international markets.

We’ve worked with several software development companies in the past. None compare with Fusion Alliance in terms of quality of product, customer service, and willingness to go above and beyond to ensure that our needs are met. We love Fusion Alliance and are so thankful that they are our partner.

Rich Gilman, President, Terrace Metrics


Gone are the manual processes, technology inflexibility, and survey administration limitations. In the first three months of our partnership, Terrace Metrics surveyed 30,000 students, and since then it has been administered 1 million times globally. That’s a win for at-risk students, parents, schools, and of course Terrace Metrics.

The value of this collaboration has been profound,” explains Terrace Metrics President Rich Gilman. “The system has allowed schools to allocate their resources accordingly, with a significant portion of students in the at-risk range able to receive important services that have enhanced their academic and health status. More importantly, the system has saved lives. There are numerous examples of students suffering in silence and in dire distress who were identified by the system, thus allowing schools to intervene immediately.”

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Instant results instead of waiting for days
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Scaled to evaluate thousands of surveys simultaneously
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Extremely low operating cost

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