School Administration Software, Do Schools Need it?

school administration software School Administration Software, Do Schools Need it? pinit fg en rect gray 20

School administration software is important in the prevention of bullying because it fosters good communication, also known as the continual flow of high-quality information from the administration to teachers and parents. The outcome of strong relationships built through communication is a higher level of parent engagement with the authorities tasked with handling their education. The adults are in essence joining forces, preventing divisive attitudes and behavior.

An unwillingness to openly communicate about issues at a school that may be causing problems in the daily administration of the school or in individual classrooms can be a major obstacle to a strong leadership presence. Strengthening a foundation from which to steer students toward positive behavior and prevent bullying and violence is essential, and communication between adults is key.

Software today often consists of a cloud or internet-based website that requires an account login, which gives administration, teachers and parents different security restrictions and access to customized areas of the website. For example, a portal may offer a news feed, not unlike a social media channel account home page, that updates the respective group with news, events and other changes that will allow them to respond effectively.

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The software also allows parents to correspond with a teacher or administrator without needing to use an individual email address, which is convenient, secure and organized, giving the parent a single, comprehensive technology tool to transact and store all child educational-related communications.

Communication online may be particularly important in the prevention of bullying in middle school and high school, because as a child transitions to having multiple classes taught by several rather than one individual teacher each day, the change causes many administrators and parents to lose track of a child’s progress as the actions, behavior and academic progress of student becomes more fragmented.

The increasing complexity of older students’ daily routine frequently alienates parents due to the lack of a strong interpersonal relationship with one teacher, according to a University of Alabama report on the topic called “Assessing Technology’s Role in Communication between Parents and Middle Schools.”

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Middle school is a transitional period when students seek independent. The nature of the environment often discourages parents from appearing at a school to discuss issues with teachers and administrators outside of formal parent-teacher conferences and school events. A technology tool such as online software that connects parents, teachers and administrators can function to help parents participate from a less visible location.

According to research, despite the wide availability of affordable school administration software, schools and parents continue to under-utilize communication opportunities and a gap exists that may be contributing to obstacles to learning and safety on campuses in the U.S.

A simple program can cost as little as $1,000 per month, or as much as $10,000 to depending on the school’s population size and budget.

The more vulnerable parents who are single, foreign-language speaking, less educated or high-poverty, education naturally have a lower level of engagement in the education of their children, and a technology tool that facilitates a more egalitarian approach for everyone, is desirable. Accessibility can be an obstacle for some groups, and therefore each school must assess the availability of the internet and computers to parents and if possible provide access or direction to an existing facility, such as a public library, where an educational website can be accessed routinely.

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A school should hire a website administrator or require a technology employee to handle its functions and technical help inquiries. If the parents think that the website contains valuable information and is managed professionally, they will use it more frequently, which will accomplish the goal of higher engagement.

A school may apply for a federal or private grant to fund technology and administrative software fees. Many funding sources are available that appeal to the expanding technological infrastructure of U.S. public and charter schools.

Specific Communication Needs

The National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) conducted a survey that asked parents about what types of communication from the school administration they prefer in 50 of its member school districts across 22 states in the U.S. More than 43,000 participants responded.

The top methods of preferred communication include:

  • E-mail
  • Online parent portal
  • Web-based newsletters
  • School website
  • Phone communications

According to NSPRA President Ron Koehler, the survey results reflect an evolving educational environment that is increasingly responding to the need for transparent communication between the administration, teachers and parents. He said, “Consumer needs are changing. The backpack folder is no longer the primary source of information for parents.”

The data also included a surprising statistic, that fewer parents prefer to use social media platforms to receive and send news, updates and messages. While 52 percent of Americans have a Facebook account, and adults frequently use it above other social media channels. Some adults prefer not to use social media due to cultural or other reasons, such as associating the use with young adults and adolescents.

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Mass communications, including newsletters, calendar of events and handbooks are usually the areas that educators create and distribute with confidence. However, it is in the areas of interpersonal communication that the gap exists. A stronger tie to parents and students ensures that relationships and accountability are bolstered, which ensures that leadership directs positive group interactions and a student’s reputation is at stake with tangible consequences when poor behavior develops. If an administrator, teacher and parent are connected with a software portal that encourages responses, inquiries and routine communication, more opportunities for the adults to cooperate, prevent and respond to problems and maintain authority will be available. These are all approaches that can indirectly and directly prevent bullying.

Communications Strategy

Establishing a school administration software communications system is only the first step. Posting a steady stream of high-quality information on the web-based platform will be the primary method for encouraging frequent and enthusiastic engagement.

Post a survey on the communications portal and ask parents what type of information that they would like to know about.

If the software allows a teacher to establish a classroom website, the communications message can narrow even further to the target audience for a particular course and set of students.

It is important to remember that parents have busy lives outside of handling the educational needs of their children, and posting brief, relevant and engaging content that speaks to their needs can help build trust, reassuring them that the school is interested in their participation.

Content that is posted routinely is important. Using best practices for website marketing content is important here, regularly posting information weekly or twice weekly, and notifying parents according to communication preference settings they have established on their accounts is ideal. Another method is establishing forums and other means of engagement with other parents.

The administration may have concerns that enabling more tools for transparent communication can initially create obstacles as teachers and parents voice concerns about regulations and other issues that may have been tacitly accepted without a means to challenge the status quo. A workshop offered to teachers and administrators to help them handle sensitive communication topics can be essential. It is important that they have the tools to objectively respond in situations when parents may communicate inappropriately, and an established plan for understanding the areas of responsibility that each administrator handles is key for forwarding inquiries and comments as the influx will increase and handling them efficiently will encourage more communication. A slow response rate may discourage communication.

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It is also important to communicate to parents information about when software based messages will be responded to. One of the downsides of technology is that some parents communicate too frequently and have higher expectations regarding the teacher’s response rate that are unrealistic considering the already high level of responsibilities that the teachers have.

Establishing rules when the online software is released is ideal. Planning the launch is an essential step in preventing additional problems that could have been avoided.

In analyzing the launch of Obamacare, one can see that a large initiative that involves many public parties can be fraught with challenges if not tested and handled with the utmost care.

In a school administration launch that seeks to engage internal and external audiences, retaining the services of a professional software consultant and marketer may be necessary in order to anticipate and address any issues in advance and handle the inevitable issues that should develop.

Overview

It can be important for administrators to communicate with parents, teachers and students in order to foster a positive environment among all parties, and a software program that engages people to communicate and become involved in the education of children is ideal. In today’s technologically savvy world, there is no reason to avoid utilizing software that conveniently connects adults in the mission of organizing and handling the multi-dimensional area of children’s education.

Using a software system with a user-friendly interface that allows parents, teachers and administrators to read updates and send messages routinely and on an emergency basis is an organized system that many private schools, universities and employers have used for many years that now schools are beginning to utilize.

It is important to include only high quality content that encourages frequent participation, because otherwise the parents may not use the technology.

Routine communication involves weekly messages to parents and daily updates on the website and event announcements that pertain to school activities and opportunities for parent involvement. Other communications involve individual email messages and comments from teachers regarding student performance and behavior concerns.

While individual classroom learning can also use a website to organize grades, assignments and parent involvement, it is important to place limits on the times that parents communicate to avoid overwhelming the schedules of teachers. It is also important to handle communications professionally and provide training that offers teachers the skills to handle increased communications with parents.

These tools can help strengthen the fight against bullying by increasing communications and a foundation of adult leadership that will provide accountability and a method for handling problems as they occur. A strong system for handling behavior problems that fall outside the lines of civil behavior can be bolstered by technology and communication, which builds relationships and trust.

Technology is inherently impersonal, however, it encourages warmth and connection between all of the participants that use it. In education it manages to allow many parties to achieve the same goal which is keeping children safe, while educating and fostering their growth and development. Using a software program is one important step in the right direction for handling the management of these goals in an organized, effective and proven fashion.

The cost-effective educational administrative software options available can help children and adults be more successful as students and educators.

Finding funding can be an obstacle, however, many sources are available. Sources of grant funding for educational administration software include the NEA Foundation.

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Sources: http://education.illinoisstate.edu/downloads/csep/schoolhomecommunication.pdf, http://ejite.isu.edu/Volume7/Rogers.pdf, http://www.uscrossier.org/ceg/products-and-services/promising-practices-compendium/education-programs-of-charter-schools/ivy-academia-using-technology-to-increase-parent-involvement/

school administration software School Administration Software, Do Schools Need it? pinit fg en rect gray 20

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