Selecting Online School Management Software

School management software has improved in recent years, and schools can now find new solutions that provide greater value than ever before. Many schools still use dated, client-server school management software or even pencil and paper. Open-source technologies and hosted cloud-computing platforms let schools take advantage of modern functionality at a surprisingly reasonable cost.

Businesses have been moving toward Software as a Service (SaaS) products for years, and schools are following suit. Well-chosen school management software makes a school more efficient and saves valuable administrative time. Software can help efficiently collect and organize attendance, grades, lessons, and results. Improvements in communication can lead to a better educational experience for students.

Choosing the best school software requires consideration of many factors. When researching, it’s important to ask the following questions.

Required features:

  • Does the product print report cards and transcript?
  • Can it import previous transcript data?
  • Can it handle standards-based grading?
  • Does it allow customized grading scales?
  • Can it have multiple custom grading scales in one school?
  • Does it have a teacher gradebook?
  • Does it provide parent and student access?
  • Can parents and students download homework online?
  • Does it handle custom fields?
  • Does the report card allow a logo?

Ease of use:

  • Is the interface laid out logically?
  • How hard is it to create a class, enroll students, and set up a grading scale?
  • Do teachers need to install any proprietary plug-ins?
  • Does it require installation of client software?
  • Is it complicated to go from one class to another?
  • Does it have video help?

Modules:

  • Are the functional modules integrated together
  • Does each module need to be set up separately?
  • What are additional costs for the various modules?

Hardware and software requirements:

  • Does the school need to buy hardware or is the solution hosted?
  • Does the school need to buy a software license for SQL or other proprietary database?
  • Does the school need Java installed on each computer?
  • Does the software also operate on MAC, iPad, and IPhone?

Hidden costs:

  • Is a trial version available?
  • What are yearly maintenance fees?
  • Is there a setup fee?
  • Is there a cancellation fee?

Your data:

  • Can the school export data?
  • Are the reports available as.pdf and as.txt files?

These are just some of the many important considerations when searching for the best software for a school. Ultimately, it’s crucial to find a solution that teachers, students, and parents can embrace. Software that solves a school’s core needs and is supported by the community will be the obvious winner.

Parents and Teachers Communicate With Online School Management Software

Nothing is more aggravating to parents than not knowing how their child is doing in school. Communication is the key. With online school management software, parents are in the know. Teachers can keep grades, attendance and discipline matters online for each child so that parents can keep tabs on what is going on. It is great for teachers and parents alike. Parents can check on their child’s progress and contact the teacher with questions or concerns quickly. With that contact, teachers become aware of a student’s progress from the parents’ point of view and can help settle any problems that may come up with grades or discipline.

The students can no longer go home and tell parents that they have no homework or that their grades are really good when they are not. By going online to the school’s parent portal website the parents can sign on and check how their child is doing at any time. It is good that the children know their parents can check on them. It holds them accountable for their work habits. It is also a good tool for parents to contact the teacher if there is a question or problem about a grade or missing work. Sometimes, teachers are very busy and may overlook entering a grade for an assignment, or a student may miss school and forget to ask for make up work and get a zero for the missing work. With the parent portal the parents can see that discrepancy and contact the teacher about correcting any problems that may arise.

The school management software is a great tool for teachers because it cuts down on negative surprises that parents receive at report card time when they didn’t realize that their child may be doing poorly in school. Nothing can upset a parent more than finding out at the last minute that their child was not doing well, when someone should have alerted them to the fact. With online school web portal, parents aren’t surprised. They can track their child throughout the school year and teachers can communicate with them more constructively since they are on board about their child’s academic situation.

The goal for the online school management software is communication and awareness. It is a system designed to bring the parents and the school closer together. Parents who use the system regularly rely on it to help their children become successful in their school setting.

School Management System Success

Probably the most important factor in a school management system is the staff that will be expected to implement it. If the teachers do not come together as a cohesive unit, agreeing with the philosophy or executing the rules and consequences, then the system will fall apart. Students will begin to realize which teachers will follow the letter of the law, as well as which will turn the other cheek. Consistency is key in any -12 educational setting, but most importantly in illustrating behavior expectations.

Parent-buy in should also be considered. When students come home and explain what happened at school that day, parents should not be shocked when they here of the rewards or consequences. As a matter of fact, those specifics should be documented, sent home, and returned with a parent signature acknowledging viewing them. Only after doing so, should the staff begin the process of the school management system.

Appropriate student interaction must be addressed early in the school year, beginning perhaps before students even enter the building. Staff should be trained in effective and appropriate student communication. Yelling or sarcasm in conversations with students should never be allowed. Not only are they an inappropriate use of authority, but they are also not effective. Usually the students that are being yelled at in school also hear it on a regular basis at home, so they are pretty good at tuning it out. Check into positive behavior systems. By trying a school management system that is clear and fair for the students, you may find a completely different student attitude about school in general.

Lastly, if the administrator does not back up teachers and students in dealing with the behavior management systems, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to maintain its success. Teachers need to know that the principal will not ignore the system rules when confronted by certain parents. His undermines the teacher authority and word spreads quickly through the community. When this happens, it makes the school management system null and void. When parents and students know how to get out of the consequences or expected behavior, the concept will fail.

By making sure that staff, parents, and students are all working together, it creates a sense of teamwork, which in turn supports all involved when stumbling blocks appear. Make your school management system work for, not against, you!