How Schola managed to reduce the workload and simplify complex processes with DreamClass
Schola is a diverse educational community of teachers who offer outside classes for homeschooled students. Founded about 15 years ago, Schola supports homeschooling parents in Sugar Land, Texas, by helping them cultivate their children’s unique talents. Schola aims to nurture lifelong learners by laying the right foundations for students to further develop their knowledge and skills in college. The school currently has 130 students and offers more than 40 classes for K-12.
We talked with Patricia Samuelson, who is both an administrator and teacher at Schola, to find out what it’s like managing a small educational institution with big responsibilities and many operational requirements.
In search of a robust SIS with easy access for everyone
Being one of the founders of Schola, Patricia has been involved in administration from the very beginning. “We’ve had quite an evolution regarding our school management system, from a spreadsheet to a homegrown database” she said.
As practical as it was at the beginning, the database eventually became too bulky to manage, and, thus, quite ineffective. To make matters worse, Patricia had to juggle parents, students, teachers, classes, admission, registration, fees, invoices, etc., on her own. Naturally, this amount of work would be too much for a team to handle, let alone one person. As Patricia revealed to us, “I just reached the limit of my own programming abilities.”
Time to leave the homegrown database management method behind
It was already clear to Patricia that they needed a comprehensive system that would provide easy access for all teachers and administrators; one that could fit the bill.
“At some point, we realized that we needed something more feature-rich and stable because the system we were using was not robust,” she added. “What’s more, I couldn’t share the files I wanted with anybody else. No one else had access to the database; everything needed to go through my hands. No one else could have operated it anyway, it was just so ‘kludgy’.”
That’s when she started looking for a School Information System (SIS), in the hope of resolving the issues they faced, once and for all. In search of the perfect solution for Schola, Patricia researched all the popular School Information tools in the market; however, she soon realized that “they were very clunky and very expensive.”
Needless to say, nothing appealed to them, since Schola is a small business with particular needs — which the top platforms out there were beyond the point of covering. What they needed was a flexible, value-for-money solution that could efficiently address their pain points.
An affordable, easy-to-use tool to efficiently manage complex processes
“Then, I stumbled on DreamClass, when the team was in the early stages of launching their product. The team very kindly accommodated our ‘unusual needs’, which has been great for us!”
You see, at Schola, parents do not pay the school, they pay the teachers directly, and this rendered their invoicing process complicated. The Schola team wanted a system with an integrated invoice feature to streamline the teachers’ payments, as well as the school’s fees. Of course, the DreamClass team was more than happy to accommodate this ‘unusual need’.
As Patricia put it, “To be honest, I kind of despaired of finding an SIS that could accommodate our needs, so I was delighted in our early talks with the DreamClass team.”
At the end of the day, Schola decided to give DreamClass a go, because it seemed to be a great fit, both budget-, and feature-wise. Not only was DreamClass affordable for them, but it could also simplify — even automate — Schola’s complicated processes; such as admissions, registrations, and invoicing, as we’ll see further below.
On top of that, DreamClass provided a centralized interface, from which all teachers and administrators had easy access to the information they needed to do their job effortlessly. Last but not least, in the DreamClass team, Patricia found friendly, knowledgeable people that empathized with the problems she and her team faced daily, and made it their mission to find the solutions Schola was searching for.
To discuss how DreamClass can accommodate your school’s needs
A workload reduced, parents excited, and efficiency improved
Three school periods have already passed ever since Patricia and the rest of the Schola team started using DreamClass for their daily tasks. So, we thought it was a good time to ask her about their experience with DreamClass, so far. Here’s what she had to say:
“It’s been very helpful because I can now share a lot of the responsibilities with other colleagues; whereas before, it all fell on me; simply because all the files were on my computer. So, this has been the first noticeable advantage. The teachers have current information about their classes and students, as well as the enrollment for the new school year. This means that I don’t have to constantly generate reports to send to them.”
Yet, Schola benefited from using DreamClass in more ways than one. Patricia went on to explain how Schola’s registration process transformed, thanks to Dreamclass:
“This January (2023) was our first time to have completely online registration! And, I mean, this is big, because every year, for 15-16 years, I used to generate probably 20 different forms that parents needed to fill out, one by one. The new registration process was pretty exciting for our parents; that is to be able to do it online. It also saved me a lot of time and effort, as this was a really difficult process. It was not just a matter of reproducing the forms; it was also a matter of finding the best way to gather all this information.”
As to their once intricate financial management process, here’s how the DreamClass invoicing functionality ushered in a new era of seamless payments for Schola:
“The invoicing for our tuition and fees has been amazing! We can easily generate invoices for the fees that are due to Schola. We can also generate invoices for the parents and the tuition they pay for the teachers. This helps teachers keep track of their tuition — they just enter payments in DreamClas and they can see which ones are overdue, they can send reminders, etc.”
With an SIS like DreamClass — that molds to fit their needs — Schola was able to reduce unnecessary workload, and streamline complex processes. Now, the teachers and administrators at Schola can focus on providing homeschooling parents and students with the best possible experience!
But, don’t just take our (or Patricia’s) word for it.
See for yourself how you can help your educational institution grow with DreamClass.