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How to Choose the Right School Management Software.

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Presentation on theme: "How to Choose the Right School Management Software."— Presentation transcript:

1 How to Choose the Right School Management Software

2 Do You Know What to Look For? Do you know the Top 10 Considerations you should consider during your evaluation? Do you know what features are possible using todays technology that can save money, improve communications and even attract new families? Do you know how to thoroughly compare the solutions offered by different vendors? This seminar will lead you through the step-by-step process you should follow to evaluate which solution is the best fit for your school.

3 Steps You Should Follow 1.Define your requirements. 2.Request vendors to respond to an evaluation form to determine how their solutions satisfy your requirements. 3.Perform side-by-side comparisons of vendor responses and eliminate least desired from further evaluation. 4.Conduct demonstrations with remaining vendors to observe their solutions and validate their responses. 5.Compare overall fit and select the solution that best meets the needs of your school.

4 Define Your Requirements Define the software features you need today... and tomorrow. Consider support services you want with software purchase (e.g. data conversion, setup, training, custom report cards, etc.) Determine desired solution architecture (e.g. modular vs. fully integrated; web-based vs. client-server; remotely-hosted vs. locally-hosted, etc.) Document which 3 rd Party Services you will want to integrate with the solution you purchase. Determine total budget available for implementing solution, including required hardware, software and necessary support services.

5 Define Your Requirements – The Top 10 Considerations 1.Administrative Features 2.Grade Book Features 3.Parent Portal Features 4.Integration Among Feature Sets 5.Web-based Access 6.Remote Hosting 7.Support Services 8.Company Profile 9.Integrated 3 rd Party Services 10.Cost

6 Administrative Feature Requirements Student Inquiry, Admissions and Re-enrollment Student Tracking, Family Tracking, Staff Tracking Course Information, Class Information Group Capability Cafeteria Management, Health Management, Library Management, Behavior Management Elementary Scheduling, High School Scheduling Student Billing Report Card and Transcript Management Class Rank and Honors Reporting

7 Cafeteria Management Feature Requirements Feature SetFeature DescriptionResponse Code 1.j. Cafeteria ManagementPost lunch menu calendars online. 1.j. Cafeteria ManagementAllow parents to order lunches online. 1.j. Cafeteria ManagementAllow parents to view and pay lunch balances online. 1.j. Cafeteria ManagementAllow lunch ordering from classroom. 1.j. Cafeteria ManagementProvide point of sale capability for lunch line. 1.j. Cafeteria ManagementProvide barcode and fingerprint scanning to identify students purchasing lunch through lunch line. 1.j. Cafeteria ManagementManage free and reduced lunch billing.

8 Why So Specific? Any vendor can and will say their solution includes Cafeteria Management. What does that mean without some specificity? How do they do cafeteria management? Are they even thinking about online lunch menus? How about online ordering? And online payments? Only when you get into specifics can you do an objective, measurable, apples-to-apples comparison across different vendor solutions.

9 Request Responses from Vendors The Requirement Evaluation Tool equips you to ask vendors to provide controlled responses that you can compare side-by-side. Each of your requirements are listed in detail in the tool. Each vendor must provide a specific Response Code in the tool to define how their solution satisfies each specific requirement. –Y = The requirement will be met. –P = The requirement will be partially met. –N = The requirement is not met. –C = The requirement will be met with customizations (may require additional cost.) –TP = The requirement will be met with 3 rd party software (may require additional cost.)

10 Measure Vendors Side-by-Side Once you receive back vendor responses, you can evaluate how well they meet your requirements. The tightly defined Response Codes allow you to do objective side- by-side comparisons of the responses of each vendor for each requirement. You can then set aside the least desired vendors and ask those still on your list to conduct software demonstrations.

11 Conduct Software Demonstrations Demonstrations allow you to observe the look and feel of the solution and validate the accuracy of the evaluation responses. Make the vendor demonstrate and prove they can satisfy a requirement as stated in the evaluation tool. Dont just take a vendors word for it. IF THEY CANT DEMONSTRATE IT, THE PROGRAM PROBABLY CANT DO IT. Beware of vaporware. For requirements that are critical now, dont accept solutions that are coming out in the next release. You may never receive it. Be sure to ask for references from schools similar to yours.

12 Select the Best Solution for Your School Your selection should consider which solution best fits your need, balanced by price and the services you will receive for that price. Do not attempt to save money by purchasing a solution that will require you to do the data conversion and setup if you dont have the time, resources or in-house expertise to be successful. Make sure you understand the Total Cost of Ownership. Are their hidden fees you havent considered? Have you factored in the cost of the hardware and database software to locally host a solution. Does the provider have a historic record of demonstrated success in serving K-12 schools. Selling is the easy part. Serving schools after the sale is the hard part.

13 Review of Steps to Follow 1.Define your requirements. 2.Request vendors to respond to an evaluation form to determine how their solutions satisfy your requirements. 3.Perform side-by-side comparisons of vendor responses and eliminate least desired from further evaluation. 4.Conduct demonstrations with remaining vendors to observe their solutions and validate their responses. 5.Compare overall fit and select the solution that best meets the needs of your school.

14 The Top 10 Considerations 1.Administrative Features 2.Grade Book Features 3.Parent Portal Features 4.Integration Among Feature Sets 5.Web-based Access 6.Remote Hosting 7.Support Services 8.Company Profile 9.Integrated 3 rd Party Services 10.Cost

15 Parent Portal Key Requirements Secure Access: Online Payments School Information Student Information Provide SSL login for parents; allow parents to access simultaneously all children in family with single login. Allow parents to view school balances online and make online payments. Post school announcements, calendar items, picture galleries, school and staff directories, newsletters and other resources. Display grades, homework assignments, lesson plans, attendance history, discipline events, medical events, overdue books, progress reports.

16 Feature Set Integration Key Requirements Provide all features from one integrated solution. Data entered into one feature area should be immediately available to other features that use that data. Immediately display in teacher grade books the names of students when they are enrolled in classes. Immediately list in student billing records the names of students and families when they enroll in school to avoid dual entry. Immediately display in the parents portal grades and homework assignments when they are entered in teacher's grade books. Consolidate data in real time for reporting in a school district or multiple campus configuration.

17 Web-based Access Key Requirements Provide access to all administrative and grade book features and data via the web. Provide ability for faculty and staff to perform their jobs equally well from home as from school. Allow parents to log into parents portal from anywhere they have Internet access.

18 Remote Hosting Key Requirements Remotely host servers housing data to avoid the cost of equipment purchases and ongoing maintenance. Maintain servers and backup data on a daily basis. Provide disaster recovery of data.

19 Start Up & Support Services Key Requirements Provide conversion of existing data and load into new database at no extra charge. Set up software to match operation of school at no extra charge. Providing initial training onsite or online as requested. Provide training videos free of charge. Provide completely customized report cards and transcripts as defined by school. Provide all software upgrades free of charge. Provide on-demand live phone support for questions and technical issues. Provide money-back satisfaction guarantee.

20 Company Profile Key Considerations Number of K-12 schools served. Number of years in business serving K-12 schools. Number of employees serving K-12 schools.

21 Integrated 3 rd Party Provider Considerations Fundraising software Website content management solutions (CMS) IEP software Emergency alert services Accounting packages Managed tuition services

22 Cost Considerations One-time license fees One-time data conversion fees One-time software configuration fees Training fees Ongoing software maintenance and technical support fees. Total cost of customizations necessary to satisfy your functional requirements. Total cost of 3 rd party solutions necessary to satisfy your requirements.

23 Requirement Evaluation Tool The Requirement Evaluation Tool details out the Top 10 Considerations you should evaluate when comparing different solutions. It includes vendor instructions so you can distribute to vendors and request their participation in the evaluation. If you would like an electronic version of the tool, please come by our booth and we will provide you with a website address that contains a copy you can download.

24 In Summary: We hope this seminar helped understand the step-by-step process we recommend you follow to evaluate which school management software solution is the best choice for your school. Feel free to come by the RenWeb booth if you have any questions or would like to discuss further. Find these and other workshop resources at Point your Cameras QR code scanner and read the scan


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