When talking with leaders at smaller private schools, we sometimes hear that they aren’t sure they need robust systems for school management and communications because they are dealing with smaller populations. They assume that because they aren't dealing with hundreds or thousands of families they can get by with less formal record keeping and ad-hoc family outreach.
In fact, the smaller your school, the more critical it is to have these systems in place. Why? Because as a small school parents expect you to be more communicative, and know more about the academic life of their kids, than those larger organizations would.
For example, these are just a few of the ways a school management system can help make your small school run more efficiently and professionally and keep students and parents happy:
Teaching as a team – In your typical school, there are many teachers and staff that interact with a student on a regular basis, from different subject area teachers to gifted and exceptional education coordinators, to coaches and more. Having a common set of records where every school employee can coordinate and communicate about the performance and challenges each student is facing is a game-changer, even for a small school. Imagine a parent calling a principal and the principal being able to quickly and easily get up-to-speed on how that child is doing across the board – sounds amazing, right?
Keeping parents in the loop academically – Parents, understandably, want and need to know how their students are doing in school, and not just 4 times a year when report cards come out. A school management system puts student academics at everyone’s fingertips, and ensures parents have up-to-the-second information about their children’s academic performance.
Making sure parents know about the bigger picture of the school—In addition to academics, parents want to see how the school is operating, as well as what events or activities are going on. By having a school management system, you have a place where families know they can go to view important announcements from teachers, clubs, and the school as a whole, and where parents can ask questions or respond to announcements.
Make families feel welcome – One common reason parents choose private and charter schools for their children is the opportunity to be a part of a smaller community. Take advantage of this by getting to know your students and families and make personal connections. Use your communication software to send birthday messages, allow faculty and staff to recognize student interests and talents, and ensure that information is shared among school employees. Have a talented musician or athlete in your math class? With a school management system, that information can be pulled up by the language arts teacher, who could recommend a book that student might be interested in, based on their interests. Sharing these personal connections helps families and student feel like they are valued members of the community
Create opportunities for parents to interact with each other – There’s no better, or easier, way to create a sense of community than to get families involved with each other. Create an online space where they can discuss important issues and connect with each other, learn about volunteer opportunities, work together on committees, and support extracurricular programs – all without leaving their houses.