School Automation Guide

The Ultimate Guide to School Automation

school computer

Businesses around the world are automating workflows to cut costs and increase the efficiency of their employees, so why should schools be any different?  Automating school processes  such as HR forms, leave requests, purchase orders, and parent fees can save money, time and also paper.  Before we discuss how you can achieve these amazing results, let’s take a look at where your school falls along the school automation process.

How Automated is Your School?

There are a few different stages that schools will experience on the road to full automation.  The IDEA model is a standardized model that evaluates the different stages of school digitization, from storing a single piece of paper in a filing cabinet, to a fully automated digital workflow that runs from the click of a button.  Let’s see which level your school has reached thus far.

  • Individual: This is school processes in their most basic form. If your school processes operate at the individual stage, all procedure steps are completed and moved by individual contributors.  Your records are likely paper documents stored in a filing cabinet, and a secretary or teacher likely sends the form in the mail or walks it over to the appropriate party for approval.  This process may take hours, days, or even weeks for each approval due to both the delivery method as well as the number of approvals required.
  • Digital: This is where the school has begun the first phase of digitizing. Physical paper forms can now be uploaded to a computer in the form of a PDF file.  This file is then sent over email to the appropriate parties for approval. Once approved, that form is emailed back to the original sender where it is saved to their computer (and most likely backed up in a filing cabinet as well). Although this stage cuts time off these processes, sending and receiving emails to and from multiple contacts at a time is confusing, making it is easy to lose track of where you are in the process.
  • E-File: At this stage your school is digitized.  Forms and data can most likely be found within a cloud system that is available to all appropriate employees.  If you need a form signed, for example, by all department heads, you would tell them to go to the cloud, download the form, sign it, and then re-upload it back onto the cloud.  Losing forms is now a thing of the past. However, you still may have to remind people multiple times to download and complete a form.
  • Automation: If you have reached this stage your school is fully automated.  Simply upload a form, set up a workflow, and at the click of a button, your form will be routed through the appropriate approval process.  Each decision-maker will receive the form to either approve or deny the request, after which point the form will continue along the predetermined path. The document is then returned to you and be completed with all of the approvals and information you need.  No more lost paperwork. No more tracking people down for approval. Just one click of a button and you’re done.

Why Should You Automate Your School?

By now you understand what automated workflows are, but you may not understand just how valuable it can be to have this system implemented in your school.  School process automation can stretch across nearly every department and save teachers, principals, and administrators thousands of dollars and hours of time each year. HR forms such as hiring and leave requests, operations forms such as maintenance and IT requests, and financial forms such as purchase orders can all be digitized and automated. No more losing papers, no more bulky filing cabinets and no more tracking people down for approvals for days or even weeks at a time.  In addition, reconcilable financial reports allow you to account for every dollar coming in and out of your school, eliminating financial loss due to the mishandling of payments.  Although these benefits do come with an initial financial and time investment, you will quickly realize that the benefits outweigh the costs.  

Reduce Paper Usage and Expenses:

Paper is both one of the biggest expenses and waste products of schools.  In fact, more than 78% of school waste consists of organics and paper.  

In an automated school, there is no need for paper. Simply upload your paper form to Script and chose the fields that you would like filled out.  It’s that easy! Hundreds or even thousands of sheets of paper can be saved by automating just one process. 

Automating just one paper process in your school can cut thousands of dollars off your annual paper cost and keep hundreds of pounds of paper waste out of landfills.  Imagine the impact of having nearly every paper process fully digitized and automated.

Save Employee Time:

Creating, printing, distributing and collecting paper forms from teachers, students, parents, and administrators can consume an enormous amount of employee time. Script conducted a study at one of our partner schools, Dayspring Academy, to see how much time we could cut by automating only their field trip process over the course of one year.   Prior to automating this process, planning and collecting money for field trips took them an average of 70 days. Aside from this being an enormous resource drain for teachers and administrators, it was also a significant financial drain as well.  Our study found that each year approximately 1,600 teacher hours and 3,300 administrator hours are spent facilitating this process each year. That time was taken away from the students at this school, not to mention costing over $80,000 annually. After implementing Script as a school automation system, Dayspring Academy was able to cut a process that previously took 70 days down to 2 days, that’s a 97% reduction in time.  Not to mention nearly eliminating the $80,000 in lost wages and hours upon hours given back to teachers so that they may focus on what is important…teaching!

Stay Organized:

Staying organized can be extremely difficult when you are attempting to keep track of thousands of sheets of paper traveling between administrators, teachers, parents, and students.  It is easy to lose track of where your paperwork is and how far along in an approval process you may be. This can create problems for even the most organized of people, and push projects and activities back weeks or even months waiting for approvals.

Even more serious is losing track of payments circulating in and out of your school. In the same study mentioned above, Script found that in the year before choosing to automate,  a partner school had lost approximately $26,000 between mishandling of payments and failing to take into account processing fees during collection. School automation software has the ability to give you a clear line of sight into each and every transaction taking place within your school with real-time, detailed and reconcilable reports, ensuring that you can account for every single dollar your school is expecting to collect.

Making the Transition

If you have decided by now that automating your school is a great idea, congratulations!  You are going to be seen as an innovator within your school and a thought leader throughout your district and your community. However, transitioning your school, more specifically your teachers and parents, into using new technology can be tricky. However, if done correctly, the parents and teachers you talk to will not only agree to utilize this new technology, they will embrace it!  Let’s discuss how to approach these groups to get the most positive feedback possible.

For Teachers:

When approaching teachers about implementing new technology into your school, it is important to stress how the new technology will benefit their everyday lives.  Assure them that although it may take a little time to get used to, they will be saving hours of unnecessary paperwork (some of which is probably done after work or on the weekends) and allow them to focus more on what they are passionate about, teaching.  

 Assure them that this new technology is not replacing them in any way, but allowing them to spend their time much more effectively. Tell them to imagine if every hour spent on paperwork was an extra hour spent on a lesson plan or organizing a fun and educational activity for their students.  If you can get your faculty to understand that technology will make their jobs easier and more enjoyable, they will embrace the change.

For Parents:

When approaching parents about implementing new technology into your school, there are a few things you can do to get the most positive feedback from them.  The first thing you should do is announce the implementation at the beginning of the year, perhaps during an Open House of Back to School Night.  Send a newsletter beforehand to let them know that you will be going ver details of how to use the new technology at the meeting, and send an email or video out after for the parents that were unable to make the meeting.  During the meeting be sure to also address how this new technology will benefit not only themselves but their children and even the teachers. Explain that not only will parents be able to save time communicating with the school, but teachers will save time as well, and that time will go directly back to the students.  In reality, parents only really care about a quality education for their children. Lastly, follow up a month or two into the school year and ask parents for their feedback. This will assure them that you truly care about their opinions and, given positive feedback, reassure yourself that you had made the right decision.  

Automate Your School With Script!

Script is a school automation system that was built with teachers, parents, and students in mind.  Getting set up on Script is extremely easy. You will be assigned a School Success Specialist who will take you through every step of implementation from beginning to end and answer any questions you, your teachers, or your parents may have at any time.  Once you are set up, that’s it! No more paperwork, no more wasted time, and no more losing track of your money. So what are you waiting for? Visit our website or book a one-on-one demo with one of our Script team members today and automate your school!