In the past, school administration used to be a tedious process, which included tons of paperwork, countless human errors and a complete lack of communication. However, nowadays, schools can use modern software solutions in order to automate redundant tasks, eliminate human error and provide the overall school community to easy access to all the information that they need. Nonetheless, for a software solution to provide all these benefits, it needs to satisfy a few basic requirements. There are dozens of administration software solutions on the market, but the trick is to find the right one that can satisfy the specific needs of your school. Here’s what you need to consider when comparing different solutions:
A good software should be easy to implement in order to provide an easy transition from the previous administration system. Our advice is to opt for an online solution, so that you don’t have to complicate yourself with hosting and maintenance issues. If you are already using a software solution and you want to change it, choose a system that offers you an extensive free trial. For example, Thinkwave is offering a 30-day trial period. If you are migrating from another system like Engrade, you can use the trial period to test and compare the two systems, and see which one works better for you. During the trial, you can upload all of your essential school data in the system. After the trial, if you want to continue with Thinkwave, all the data that you uploaded during the trial will be saved, and you can continue to use the system with a paid subscription.
2. Learning curve
A good school management system should have a smooth learning curve, so that the people who will be using it can easily adapt to it. The system should be intuitive enough in order to be used even by people with zero technical skills. Consider the fact that most of your school staff don’t have any programming skills, and you will want them to be able to understand how the system works, so that they can use them to full potential.
3. Suitable for the whole school community
The main purpose of a school administration system is to provide people with the right data in order to monitor and improve the overall school performance. This means that the right software solution should be used not only by the school staff, but also by students and by parents, as they too can actively contribute to improving the school’s performance. Students and parents should have easy access to their grades and attendance records. Teachers and students should be able to use the system to send assignments and other valuable educational content. Some software solutions even offer a blog feature, so that the school staff can keep the whole school community informed about the latest news, events, and school updates.
A good software solution should offer a wide range of preset cards and reports. However, it should also allow for customization, so that the school staff can easily generated customized transcripts and report cards. You should also consider opting for a system that allows you to combine multiple subterms for grades to generate yearly values. Some systems even allow for multiple grade scales for different courses of the same schools. This is very useful as teachers can use different grade systems for the elementary and the high school classes.
5. Data agnostic
First of all, for a good system to be able to help you improve the performance of your school, it needs to be able to store historical data. Secondly, it needs to have complex analytics features that allow you to process that data to generate performance reports. This is useful for the teachers, as it will help them generate automatic transcripts, but it is also useful for the school management team, who will be able to monitor the overall school performance.
When working with computerized systems, you will be able to eliminate a lot of data errors. However, from time to time, you will encounter some technical difficulties. As such, you have two options. You can choose a hosted solution and hire your own technical specialist to maintain the system. Or you can work with an online solution that will have their own technical team, who will not only maintain the system, but who will also assist you with any difficulties that you might encounter. Just make sure to ask from the start if the technical support is included in your subscription, or if there are any additional fees that you will have to pay if you ever encounter technical difficulties.
A small school will have limited needs in terms of management and data storage. However, as the school grows, so will their data storage and processing needs. As such, it is important to choose a software solution that can easily adapt to your school’s growing needs. The only way to check this is to see if the service providers that you choose are already working with bigger schools. It is also advised to choose a system that has been on the market for a while now, and which has already showed that it can grow and adapt to the needs of their clients.
Education has rarely been prioritized when it came to budget allocations. As such, most public schools are dealing with limited budgets, and even private schools can encounter budget challenges in tough economic times. As such, it is important to find an affordable system that won’t punch a hole in the school budget. Luckily, nowadays we have the benefit of cloud computing, which allows for cheap data storage and processing solutions. This means that both small and big schools can have access to the cutting-edge technology, and pay according to how much the use the system. Most systems offer pricing options based on the number of students of each school.