At the start of the 2020-2021 school year, Aldon Shanklin opened the doors to New Life Academy for the first time and welcomed his small group of 25 K-5 scholars.
After months of making preparations for opening a new school in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic and ensuring the safety of their students and working with the state to meet all of the guidelines, Mr. Shanklin and his team were ready to jump right into the thick of things.
They soon realized that there were many aspects of running the school that were tricky without school management software in place. Take attendance, for example: teachers and administrators started the year tracking student attendance on paper in an attendance binder in the front office. They quickly learned that this method wasn’t going to work for an entire school year.
“We thought — who is going to be shuffling through all of these papers, checking to see who was here and who was not?” Mr. Shanklin said.
Similar questions came up as the year progressed and Mr. Shanklin and his teachers started thinking about the logistics of entering grades, creating and printing report cards and other administrative functions of the school.
Mr. Shanklin said he was relieved to see how Twine could provide a complete solution. “When we met with Twine, they had answers to all of our questions about how we could set things up and design things and that really led us down the path of working with them,” he said.
Getting things up and running through the onboarding process was seamless, even though the school year was already underway. Through the individualized onboarding process, they first focused on attendance tracking, since that was one of the school’s major needs, and then progressed toward building the school’s website to help the new school with its marketing and brand development. Use of gradebooks and report cards soon followed.
As their first year wraps up, New Life Academy has already received more than 10 new student applications for next year — increasing enrollment by nearly 50% with the summer enrollment period and kindergarten registration still coming up. Mr. Shanklin attributes a lot of the growth to Twine.
“When we got the website, that really took it to the top,” Mr. Shanklin said. “We’ve been able to do a lot in terms of enrollment and attracting people to our school. It is something we are really proud of. We had a vision and Twine made it come alive. [The team] was such a blessing to us.”