Many districts still rely on legacy school management systems they’ve been using for decades, often combination of spreadsheets and software to organize and distribute student data. While these systems might work well enough, they leave much to be desired. Tracking down information can be difficult and time-consuming, the process lends itself to human error with illegible handwriting and data-entry mishaps, and the parent experience suffers as families have to fill out the same information over and over again, among other things.
The good news is that—in the age of disruption—new digital school management systems have emerged that largely solve all of these problems.
What Is an Online School Management System?
An online school management system is a digital solution designed to make running a school easier across multiple areas of operations.
An online school management system lets you:
- Enroll and register new students
- Maintain student profiles.
- Assign students to classes, teams, clubs, or other groups
- Retain student and staff records
- Collect fees
- Create and curate online communities for staff, students, and parents
- Send and receive forms and permission slips
- Manage inventory and equipment
- Track medical conditions
- Have easy access to emergency contacts
- And much more!
With a leading online school management system in place, all information is easily accessible via user-friendly dashboards—making it easy for staffers to quickly find the data they’re looking for.
Who Is an Online School Management System Built For?
Although they may benefit larger districts more just because of scale, online school management systems were built for schools of all sizes. These platforms are designed to enhance the educational experience for staff, parents, and students, and IT departments, in particular, benefit from them due to fewer requests for help (more on this later).
What Are the Benefits of an Online School Management System?
Online school management systems improve productivity and reduce costs for districts to the benefit of all stakeholders. Here are 11 specific benefits:
1. Time Savings
Using technology enables you to get more done faster than if you were managing your school with spreadsheets and paper. That reclaimed time can then be used in other important areas of operations.
2. Error Reduction
Leading online school management systems enable you to eliminate duplicative work and manual data entry. This reduces the likelihood that you’ll make decisions based on inaccurate data.
3. Data Security
With a robust school management platform in place, your district will get the peace of mind that comes with knowing sensitive student and employee data is secure—decreasing the chances you’ll experience fallout from potential data breaches.
Before adopting any online school management system, make sure they have extensive security documentation.
4. Less Burden on IT Support
The best online school management systems are intuitive by design and are administered by vendors, not the internal IT team. This means that IT doesn’t have to spend a lot of its time training staff or hopping from workstation to workstation to make fixes. With more time on their hands, IT workers can focus on other important tasks for the district.
Leading systems can scale to support district needs as they evolve. You can add more seats or customize your system to accommodate new policies and priorities with just a few clicks.
Online school management systems are flexible by design, enabling districts to distribute and communicate policies in real time—including those about vaping, drugs, social media, and more—while requiring parents and students to update agreements and sign online forms at any time.
7. Support for Mobile
A modern student management system comes with mobile apps that enable staffers, students, and parents to be productive even when they’re on the go. At the same time, mobile support delivers convenience while eliminating the need to talk to school staff (e.g., when parents need to update their files after moving across town).
8. Digital Transformation
By moving from a paper- and spreadsheet-based system to a digital one, your district can take the next step in its digital transformation journey. By doing so, you’ll reduce paper and ink costs while lessening your district’s impact on the environment.
9. Streamlined Communication
Employees won’t have to spend time alerting parents to changes. All communications are sent digitally, saving postage, envelope, paper, and ink expenses.
10. Increased Enrollment in Activities
With the right system in place, it will be easier for students to enroll in classes, teams, clubs, and other groups, bringing cost savings to the district in the form of increased enrollment in activities.
11. Digital Paper Trails
Districts will know who did what and when, whether a parent forgot to update a medical condition or a building administrator pushed incorrect information into the system. You’ll know what happened and when it happened right away.
Transform Your Operations with an Online School Management System
An online school management system has the power to transform your operations, enhancing the educational experience for all while delivering more value to taxpayers.
Using a platform like FinalForms that integrates with your student information system can streamline the data collection and distribution process to make admin, students, and parents’ lives easier.
To learn more about how FinalForms can help your district maximize its investment in a school management system, schedule a demo today.