So, you’ve decided the time has come to improve your systems: giving your teachers great tools for parent communications; providing online classrooms to better support students; making it easy to collect attendance and generate report cards. Congrats! This is a big step toward improving your school.
The next big decision: when to roll out the new system.
Although summer break seems like the obvious choice for rolling out new programs, this isn’t always best for your community. While we sometimes hesitate to introduce new tools during the school year, waiting until summer means having to train teachers to use new tools just as they are returning for the new school year -- when they are most busy with lesson planning and getting to know their new students.
Consider instead these three alternate times for roll-out:
With winter break, you have a natural transition point while students and teachers are already settled into the school year. Starting off in January with a new school management system is one of the smoothest transitions you can make. Grades and report cards are starting anew, but, unlike summer, you have the attention of your staff, students and parents in the months leading up to the change. This allows time to explain to your community what is coming, how it will benefit them, and set expectations for how it will be rolled out.
Although less intuitive, mid-semester is often the best time to roll out new software. Both mid-fall and mid-spring allow for a soft-launch approach – getting the systems in place during a time when you can provide training for teachers. Rolling out a new system during these times means you can install and test systems, open it up for exploration by staff during a low-pressure time so they can get comfortable with it, and even run through a test cycle of end-of-term reporting while the old system is still in place. Students and parents can also be given access during the soft-launch, providing exposure and experience to ensure they are comfortable, resulting in fewer questions when use becomes mandatory.
No matter when your school plans to transition, we’re here to help. Reach out to our team to speak with an expert about how to best transition your school.