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School operations:
How automation
can help improve

Author: Megan Williams

You probably see evidence every day that your school operations need an upgrade. And it's not just about responding to the pressures of a pandemic.

Improving school management and operational systems can help benefit your students, parents, teachers, administrators and your community. There is potential for improvements in areas such as grading and attendance tracking to improve your teacher experience—just by taking a fresh look at school management systems.

Many of those benefits may be locked behind long-standing inefficiencies and processes that may no longer align with your goals. If so, you're not alone. School districts around the country are suffering under the weight of slow back-end processes that leave stakeholders drowning under a sea of form-based work. But by reaching out to understand the potential of automating school operations through digital transformation, you can potentially move forward into a new future of better results.

Automating school operations: A solution for a pressing problem

Your teachers, school administrators, students and families may face new challenges that can directly contribute to a positive teacher-student experience. These challenges include:

  • Helping students find their unique paths to success
  • Providing quality instruction through specialized education and collaboration with other organizations
  • Facing inefficiencies in teacher workflows, such as time spent searching for educational materials (an average of seven hours per week) and overwhelming amounts of paperwork that can drain hours of time each week from teachers
  • Managing school operations and administrative challenges, such as managing programs that leverage funding from the American Rescue Plan Act or overseeing and monitoring data quality and reporting

Each of these challenges is an area of potential improvement—one in which data and improved school management and operational systems can help turn around.

How automating school management systems can help

Data is a powerful asset in modern education. Getting the most out of the data that is available starts with understanding the benefits of analyzing the data you have available.

One of the greatest challenges in education is meeting the unique needs of each student. Data analysis can help illuminate improved learning paths, revealing new insights and opportunities in an educational journey. When educational data is working as it should:

  • Students know their strengths and are empowered to shape their education journey.
  • Parents know how to be a champion for their child.
  • Teachers have better insight into how their students are struggling or succeeding.
  • Leaders know what is and isn't working in school operations and can make timely decisions to allocate resources to students and teachers.
  • After-school partners can know what students are experiencing, so they can develop tailored programs to better serve students.

How understanding data can help learning experiences

The types of data that supports student learning includes:

  • Assessment data (such as standardized test data, attendance and observational data from teachers)
  • Demographic data
  • Application use statistics
  • Enrollment information (such as grade level, guidance counselor, parent contact information, etc.)
  • Schedules, program membership status and performance data
  • Outcome information and transcripts

This data can be used by education stakeholders to help improve education for students and the experience for teachers. But these benefits only happen if organizations make the leap from just collecting data to prioritizing its use to help improve school management and operational systems.

Streamlining school operations through data

Data can streamline operations such as classroom logistics, transportation and even maintenance requests.

Consider an example out of Sydney, Australia, where a school used process automation to automate roll calls during lockdowns. The system automatically sent a notification to students at 8:25 on school days on their learning management platform. This prompted students to enter their login information and record attendance instead of leaving the task in the hands of teachers. This information was automatically filed into the existing school database, marking students who didn't sign in as absent.

In the U.S., multiple school districts around the country have also adopted single sign-on to stop burdening educators with the task of remembering multiple sets of credentials for the applications they use.

A new era of school operations depends on integration

School leaders who have a goal of addressing modern challenges will find that data is one of the most powerful and accessible tools available to them. This data is most powerful when shared between organizations—which is where integration comes in.

Integrating school management systems is the foundation for the tools that teachers rely on to perform their jobs and help their students. By stepping forward with integration initiatives, leaders can help educators spend less time gathering data from disparate sources and more time digging into the insights that they and their students need.

States across the U.S. are also realizing the benefits of data interoperability. For example, Arizona modernized its data infrastructure to ensure eligible families receive support through the pandemic. Georgia, several years ago, built a virtual "tunnel" that links data from a single-state system to district-level student information, which allows administrators, teachers and parents to access state education data and also allows parents to find detailed data about curated resources that support their students.

The next step in improving your school operations

Your students need you to rethink your approach to school management and operational systems. This starts with data, but using that data starts with a strong network foundation and a partner that's dedicated to educational innovation.

Discover how your school system can leverage education technology to help improve your school operations.