What is School Management Software?
School management has always been — and still is — an extensive undertaking on the part of educational institutions around the world. It requires painstakingly monitoring the academic progress (or otherwise) of all parties involved, towards constant learning. Careful examination of resulting data will ensure optimal operations for any educational organization. Efficient and just management is of paramount importance towards satisfied students, parents or guardians and staff, altogether. School Management Software is here to help, to that end. But all this begs the question: “What is School Management Software?”
Table of contents
School Management Software defined
Besides the obvious of it being a complex piece of computer software, School Management Software is an administration tool for educational institutions. This classification comes from the fact that this type (or category) of software aims to help educational organizations in their daily routine, by automating administrative tasks. “School management software” is also known as a “School management system” or a “Student information system”. These systems provide functionality from applications and class enrollment to detailed performance monitoring and financials.
Administration management typically includes both faculty and students. Some systems include a feature set to help manage daily operations, such as building maintenance, supplies and inventories. The need for this feature set is largely dependent on the size of an educational institution.
Features in School Management Software
Most School Management Software products evolve around four main pillars. And regardless of any extensive list of features, we can find a basic feature set around these pillars, aiming to accommodate daily routines for nearly every type of educational institution. That’s starting with Program Management, in its broader sense:
Program management and class scheduling
This “extended” feature includes a set of more specific features to help in structuring curriculum, grouping courses and classes and defining their individual characteristics. It is, typically, the most basic functionality in a School Management Software. It also includes class scheduling for in-person or virtual class meetings.
Student admissions and records — information management
Student registration and distribution to class groups and enrollment to classes and courses is one of the core features in School Management Software. In the long run, all information stored will be used to monitor and analyze individual progress, until graduation.
Financial and assessment management for students
Student management includes daily notifications relevant to classes. But that’s usually not the end of it. Students, parents and guardians also need access to essential information, such as timetables, attendance records, gradebooks, financials and payments per student, pending and outstanding payments, as well as installments (where applicable). The Student management and Admissions extended feature incorporates all the specific features essential to provide that information.
School faculty is just as difficult to coordinate and supervise, as students are. With roles, such as teachers, secretaries, administrative assistants and all supporting staff, School Management Software helps efficiently manage all daily academic procedures.
Financial and assessment management for teachers
The feature set for Academic Management may include attendance tracking, grading, assessments, financials and payments per teacher, pending and outstanding payments.
Different user roles can view and use different types of information — and at different levels of detail. School Management Software provides the relevant functionality, to simplify user experience for all parties involved.
Role management is primarily a security feature. It’s built to allow access only to information a role is allowed to view or use. That’s, introducing better security for personal information, at the same time.
Online parent and student portals are based on role management, allowing students and parents or guardians view available material and communicate with teachers, coaches or instructors, as needed.
Benefits of employing School Management Software
1. An easy, automated structure for any type of school
Starting a new school period or academic period, the structure of classes and courses for the period needs to be prepared. Existing teachers, as well as students that are qualified to continue their studies, may be added to the structure for this new school period or academic period, ready to accept notifications regarding their new schedule. New teachers and students can be added as an ongoing process.
2. Improved and efficient accounting
The structure also allows for basic financial management, by setting tuition fees for students and payroll information for teachers, coaches or instructors.
3. Detailed and streamlined record keeping
Once a new department, course or class is created, new or existing students and teachers are added to the structure. Avoiding overbooking teachers or assigning students to more than one class at a time is one of the most valuable features in managing any educational institution.
4. Graceful student and teacher management
Managing students and teachers is quite the puzzle, especially in academic environments. All aspects of daily routine need to be monitored and improved upon. When all educational activities are successful, the result is happy students, parents or guardians, and teachers, coaches or instructors, too! That alone, is a major retention tool for any educational institution.
Monitoring attendance, progress, assessments, grading, graduation status, financial information, health monitoring and class scheduling is a real time-saver. Subtle automation in these features can bring balance in efficiency and improvement.
For teachers, coaches or instructors
Monitoring attendance, progress, assessments, financial information, class scheduling and communication with parents and guardians is the best way an educational institution towards optimal performance and streamlined operations. Different levels of reporting for different layers of management, are also available.
5. Effortless business continuity
Cloud-based School Management Software offers better business continuity, since it‘s independent of local infrastructure. School records and scheduling are handled directly in the Cloud and can be accessed from anywhere, anytime. And that’s a structural element and benefit of Cloud-based School Management Software, that can come in handy at any emergency situation.
6. Monitoring progress and performance is a breeze
Monitor students and teachers, assess their progress and take corrective measures towards a better rate of success. Improving track records is probably the most efficient way an academic organization has, to achieve an increase in registrations, come the next season. To that end, relevant reporting, and notifications can go a long way towards timely actions for improvement.
7. Secure and simple, in the cloud
Highly grained user roles add a multi-variant approach to data security. And all necessary ISO procedures may introduced, to ensure security.
The Cloud also comes with best practices, leveraging advanced security features and compliance with data protection regulations, such as the GDPR.
But the best part is you don’t need expensive servers, software or specialized personnel to make sure it all works as expected. All you need is a simple desktop computer or laptop and a web browser with access to the Internet. And that’s why you can manage your educational institution from anywhere, anytime.
Who is School Management Software for?
School Management Software can help a host of educational institutions organize their structure, curriculum, syllabus and communications, along with some powerful reporting features to keep tabs on all procedures.
Regardless of the institution being a small private organization or a great renowned University, School Management Software can, among others, prove valuable for:
- General Educational Institutions
- Cram Schools
- K12 Schools
- Sports Academies
- Music Schools
- Dance Schools
What does it cost educational institutions?
There are different ways to look at cost to educational institutions. All of them have something to offer in optimizing final cost. Since optimal costs is often largely dependent on the size of the educational organization, the best approach is working with a combination of them, as most vendors will offer with their pricing plans.
Cost per student
The most valuable school management software nowadays comes from subscription-based, Software as a Service (SaaS) platforms. Based on that type of services, more than a few vendors scale the pricing of their subscription plans based on the number of students to be included with the subscription.
At the time of this writing, that model starts at a few cents per student and ranges to over $20. That’s either per month or per year, depending on the vendor and feature set available. The average monthly cost per student comes to around $6, and the median monthly cost per student around $5.
Cost per month
A month-to-month plan can be more tricky to decipher. Some vendors will start at a specific flat fee; and charge an additional fee per student that is added to the system. Others charge by the features used. Most vendors will into two or more pricing plans, with a the first plan ranging from $49 to $90, the second plan ranging from $91 to $274 and the third plan starting at $275+. You can read more about that on Capterra.
One time payment
Due to the fact that it’s another thing to worry about every month, sometimes school managers would rather pay for their subscription, up front.
For any SaaS platform, there is the annual billing option. Paying that kind of money up front, typically costs a good part of the annual budget. But it’s the best option for any type of institution.
Considering there are different types of software delivery, some vendors prefer to develop a solution that can be installed on a physical server that resides in the premises of the educational institution. This is done using a Software License Agreement (SLA). And paying up front means thousands of dollars, the most affordable of which comes at about $4,000. But there’s more to that.
Opting for a local server incurs additional costs. That is, including the server’s operating system and other software, specialized personnel to manage and maintain the server and the entire school management system; and training costs with a potentially large learning curve. What’s more, business continuity is not very easy to maintain using that type of solution.
Cost of not having School management software
Regardless of the type of delivery, School administration software is essential. It is, in fact, expensive. But, truth be told, it’s becomes much more expensive to forgo the software. That’s in terms of costs incurred due to poor organization, inefficient management or churn rate that is probably greater than retention rate, regarding both students and teachers. Needless to say, that is without taking competition into account.
Is it worth it?
School management software will not be able to fix any structural problems you might be faced with. Nevertheless, it will save your institution time and money in the short term and long term, alike. It can do it by reducing three different things:
- Costs in paper: From applications to student and teacher files and performance reports, everything is done electronically; conveniently available on demand. That’s great for the environment, as well.
- Employee hours: No more overtime for school faculty to finish with all the paperwork. School Management Software will do all the heavy lifting on your account, using a healthy amount of automation.
- Meetings: It takes a considerable amount of time and effort for school faculty to meet, share reports and evaluate students, among other things. Additionally, being automated, any piece of School management software will be able to reduce the time needed to minimum, perhaps even to zero.
More productive time
School administration software serves to create more time for productive tasks. Additionally, if it’s on the Cloud, it has no maintenance fees, besides the occasional one on your laptop. And it can usually scale with the educational institution; no matter how quickly it will grow with new students and teachers.
It’s definitely worth it
Finally, employing any type of School management software can help all kinds of schools or other educational organizations complete daily management tasks in no time, automating and streamlining operations; thus making school administration management easier than ever before.