For schools, timing is everything

Gary FalconLearning Management, School Management

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.

  • Summer (June – August)

With summer break, teachers and staff are between school years, things have wrapped up and everyone has some room to breathe and reflect on school processes, making it easier to consider where improvements can be made. The downside is that it 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. 

  • Fall (September – November)

Once the year is underway, everyone is settled and any new staff you have are trained and have their bearings is a great time to think about transitioning to a new school management system. Teachers are not scrambling to start the year and can focus on learning the ins-and-outs of the system and you’ll have things up and running in time for the end of the first semester report cards to come out. 

  • Winter (December – February)

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. Starting just before or just after winter break can also be great because you have some transition time where your two systems overlap and your students, family, and staff can learn the new system before the old one is totally gone.

  • Spring (March-May)

The great thing about the spring is that your whole school community is most comfortable with each other, the school’s policies and procedures and the academic content they’re dealing with. Introducing new communication and learning systems during this time of year allows everyone to try things out and get familiar with the tools and navigation while they have relatively everything else school-related figured out. This also gives your teachers some time to get situated before the summer comes so they can make the most of their post and pre planning time.