In our smartphone-powered world, many schools are still relying on an abundance of paper forms to manage their operations. Paper forms may get the job done, but they create inefficiencies, aren’t convenient, and can get misplaced, lost, or stolen.
Online school forms are the better way forward. Not only do they meet parent, student, and staff expectations, but they also deliver a tremendous number of benefits.
Need some more convincing? Let’s take a look at seven reasons to move from paper to online school forms today.
1. Simplify Enrollment and Registration
Traditionally, the form distribution and collection process has been grueling at best. Even if every student turned in a signed form the day after receiving it, staff still would have to spend hours manually entering the data into a student information system—which isn’t exactly the most efficient use of time.
Online school forms bring simplicity and convenience to the enrollment and registration process. Most forms can be completed on any connected device, and administrators can easily see where things stand at any point in time. Online forms simplify a number of critical tasks including:
- Determining athletic eligibility
- Getting permission for field trips
- Verifying staff certifications
- Updating student information
Online school forms systems also retain data from year to year, eliminating repeat paperwork for parents.
2. Increase Compliance
When districts use paper forms, administrators often have to spend hours sifting through files and spreadsheets to find out which students still need to turn in forms. This process leaves lots of room for error in the equation. For example, an administrator might miss the fact that someone hasn’t submitted the requisite paperwork, which could expose the district to compliance law violations.
With online school forms, it’s easier to determine whether:
- Students are registered properly
- Athletes are eligible to play sports
- Personnel are licensed to teach their respective subjects
Believe it or not, with the right approach, it’s possible to ensure 100 percent form compliance before the school year even begins!
3. Build a More Efficient Administrative Team
Districts don’t hire staffers to spend their time tracking down misplaced paper forms. Yet in paper-based environments, that’s exactly what many of them end up doing. In fact, one McKinsey report revealed that the average employee spends nearly 20 percent of their workweek looking for internal information.
When you move forms online, everything is stored digitally in one easily accessible location. This enables staffers to spend more of their time focusing on bigger priorities. As an added bonus, automated reminders mean staffers don’t have to manually track down signatures.
4. Better for the Environment
When it comes to ensuring a healthier planet for future generations, every little bit counts. And school forms are more than a little bit—we’re talking about thousands of pieces of paper per year.
Moving to online forms means you’ll:
- Use less paper
- Reduce your district’s waste
Over time, these seemingly small gestures add up—both for the environment and for your budget.
5. Improve the Student/Parent/Coach/Staff Experience
Online forms give everyone in your district the convenience they’ve grown to expect in the digital age.
For students and parents, signing forms becomes easier and more convenient. At the same time, online forms make it easier for coaches to track things like:
- Physical forms
- Medical conditions
- Emergency contacts
Because staff no longer have to deal with paper forms, their experiences improve, too. They won’t become frustrated searching for misplaced papers, and they’ll reclaim time that enables them to become more productive in their roles.
6. Improve Safety
Online forms improve student safety by putting up-to-date medical information at the fingertips of coaches and staff.
According to a recent report from Ohio University, it’s estimated that 1.16 million high school student athletes were injured during the 2016-2017 school year. What’s more, a 2018 study published in the Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine found that 10.5 percent of all high school sports injuries are recurrent.
Just think about how many injuries could be prevented by giving coaches and staff immediate access to student medical information.
With online forms, if a medical emergency occurs, medical information (such as pre-existing conditions and allergies) can be accessed with a few clicks. Staff can also notify emergency contacts directly from their mobile devices.
7. Increase Security
Anyone can grab a paper form that has someone’s personal information on it—especially when it’s misplaced. If or when that happens:
- Privacy is violated.
- Applicable laws may be broken.
- Penalties or costly legal battles may ensue.
With the right online school form solution in place, only authorized individuals can access digital student forms, bringing a higher level of security to an important but often overlooked area of education.
It’s Time for Your District to Give Online School Forms a Try
Over the last 20 years, everything’s moved online—from the way we order taxis to the way we watch movies. Similarly, more and more school districts around the country have been modernizing their form collection and distribution processes by moving away from paper and toward online school forms.
If you’re thinking about doing the same, schedule a demo today to see FinalForms in action and find out how it can transform the way your district handles forms.