If there's one group of people we should all pity in this brave, new world of the Covid-19 pandemic, it's parents of school-age children.
From maddeningly contradictory government messages regarding student safety to the on-again/off-again opening of schools to learning how to homeschool – or at least tolerate the kids being around 24/7 – parents have had a rough go of it.
But how about a shout-out for education professionals also? They've borne more than their fair share of the burden caused by the global coronavirus upheaval as well.
Educators who chose their careers presumably because they love teaching children and expanding knowledge were suddenly tasked with all manner of extra duties. (And let's not even talk about the challenges of teaching teachers who are not necessarily tech-savvy how to use Zoom.)
But if there's one thing the Covid-19 crisis has taught parents, students, teachers and administrators alike, it's that streamlining the way we do schooling is not only possible, it's vital if we intend to keep our sanity going forward.
School Administration Software: An Idea Whose Time Has Come
For people who work in the tech space, watching school administrators, staff, parents and students scramble during the early months of the coronavirus crisis to slap together systems for continuing to teach has been something of a mixed bag.
On the one hand, it's great to see schools wholeheartedly embracing the possibilities opened up by enforced distance learning and reduced in-person interactions.
On the other hand, this new willingness to try different approaches is intertwined with a baffling realisation: how have so many schools functioned before now without school administration software?
What Is School Administration Software?
School administration software is a broad term that encompasses virtually every aspect of running a learning institution, from student admissions through matriculation. These software systems can be integrated to work in conjunction with other school operations apps you may already have online, including WordPress or other platforms.
The types of applications that can be brought into the school's digital ecosphere might, for instance, oversee and streamline operations like admissions, classroom management, and student engagement, But they could also manage course material, online testing and assignments, teacher scheduling, teacher/employee oversight, teacher training, attendance tracking, student billing, school calendar oversight, and much more.
We'll break down some of the ways a bespoke school admin platform can ease the burden on overworked administrators and help students get the most out of their education. We'll also examine the specific tasks these applications can streamline and integrate into a broader digital ecosystem for your school.
Customer Relationship Management - CRM
Before you can start teaching, much less administering your school, you've got to have students. A bespoke suite of school administration software solutions can set you up for success by building out a bespoke customer-facing CRM platform. From there, you can manage leads on new students, inquiries on enrolment, appointment setting for your sales staff, and manage your customer support staff.
A CRM platform that's inviting and easy-to-navigate is a vital first point of contact for parents of prospective students, and it should reflect the individuality of your institution. It's essential that it be designed to incorporate your values, your aesthetic taste, and the tone you wish to project for your school – along with being user-friendly and engaging.
Also, by setting up shop with a fully customisable CRM platform, you control all your customer data from beginning to end. A custom system can also improve ease of use by having that application designed to be fully integrated with all your other online school systems.
These days, integrated school administration software makes organising class schedules a breeze. With a custom class management module, you can drag and drop classes to and from various time slots or semesters, assign and change teachers, and move individual students into and out of class meeting times. You can also send automated emails to all members of a given class, vastly cutting down on busywork.
Class management software solutions also help you to coordinate your course material, storing it digitally in the cloud and automating assignments and distribution of materials to be directed to the appropriate students as needed. Testing and assessments can also be mostly automated via a bespoke school administration software platform, drastically reducing the staff hours and labour required for proctoring, scoring, and handing back exams.
The point of schools is the students, of course. So managing your students' data and their overall school experience is a huge focus for any high-quality school administration software platform.
Each student's records, including attendance, homework, grades, test results, disciplinary history, and more will be easily accessible in a well-crafted school administration software application.
What's more, all of the data this particular piece of the school admin system manages can also be cross-referenced with other components of the overall platform. You can connect via the cloud or through other school admin modules to the child's medical history, information on parents and siblings, account history, billing, and more.
With a bespoke system, not only can all this information be instantly, readily available to school staff with the proper credentials and a need to access it but also it's built with strong protection from leaks, hacks or other potential security breaches.
A quality bespoke student management component also should come with a sub-module for facilitating direct communication between student and teacher (all of which is entirely transparent to parents – see below.) Students being able to ask for help directly and privately via chat, video conference, IM or email encourages them to seek the assistance they need, rather than to avoid raising their hand during class due to embarrassment or shyness.
Whether or not your students are attending school in person, parental involvement is a crucial element of helping students to stay engaged with the learning process. Parents help reinforce teachers efforts by ensuring their kids develop good study habits and hone the skills they need for future academic success.
A school administration software package worth its salt will include a fully integrated parents' portal that allows guardians to have full access to their young learner's progress reports, homework, test scores, attendance records and more. And while students can communicate directly with their teachers, every aspect of the child's interactions within the system is fully accessible to the parent using their parental login credentials.
By adopting an automated system, schools can streamline the process for busy instructors and parents alike. That's because parents receive the relevant information without delay, and can even be contacted automatically by the system once the data becomes available.
The parents' portal module also creates a direct line of communication between parent and teacher via centralised communication access. Through chat, voice, videoconference, IM and of course email, parents can closely coordinate with teachers and staff in working toward the student's success.
But perhaps more importantly, while teachers and parents discuss a child's needs, they have direct access to all the relevant records and data in real-time. For instance, while a teacher is on a video conference with parents about a child's progress, he or she can pull up the relevant test scores or homework right then and go over it with the parent.
Navigating all the myriad aspects of administering a school is easier when you've got the right tools on hand, such as a custom-built, integrated dashboard.
A properly-crafted dashboard will give you an eagle-eye perch from which to oversee all of your school's functions. It will also cut down on labour as it allows you to automate large portions of data-entry tasks, manage workflow, and give you access to day-to-day lists, charts and graphs at your fingertips.
And with all of these features fully integrated into your custom platform, relevant staff can be brought instantly up to speed on whatever their area of focus might be.
What's more, from the dashboard, you can look at the big picture or the little one.
For instance, you can assess your school's progress toward broad performance indicators and goals and look at how they fit into your overall strategy. But you can also seamlessly dive down to granular data like individual class attendance, test result trends, or student progress in a particular grade or classroom without missing a beat.
Why Choose a Bespoke School Administration Software Platform?
Just as no two students are alike, no school is exactly like any other. That's why it's vital for learning institutions to skip the off-the-rack admin software options and look into having a unique, fine-tuned system built from the ground up to suit their needs.
Here at Laracle, we've got the experience and skillset to put our team of school administration software experts to work creating the perfect solution for you. We'll craft a platform that's infinitely customisable and crafted precisely to your standards, open to your branding, and able to help your school run with maximum efficiency.
Contact us today with a few details, and our team can get started crafting a blueprint for a school administration software platform perfectly suited to your institution.
Call or email today!