Schools globally demonstrated extraordinary agility in 2020. For many, the impacts of COVID-19 highlighted that the systems and software they use to run their school is, in many senses, holding them back.

School shutdowns and a move to remote learning drove a dramatic change to the education operating model. With schools forced to reinvent the way they operate, the value of a best-in-class, cloud-based school management platform has never been more evident.

By investing in the right systems, software and infrastructure, savvy schools can build a strong foundation for the future – whatever it might bring. So, what does a best-in-class school software ecosystem look like?

It should be flexible, intuitive, and support the seamless integration of all aspects of school management. From student information to financial management, learning delivery, communication, data security and more, a quality solution will enhance the education experience for schools, students, and families.

The Foundation: Student Management

Student management is the foundation on which schools are built. A platform that enables seamless oversight and management of the entire student lifecycle allows schools to store and control essential student information via one core system of truth.

Platforms like FACTS Student Information System (SIS) let schools capture and store attendance, assessment, medical and wellbeing information, family relationship insights, and communication preferences, and keep this information up to date throughout a student’s enrollment. Regardless of how many systems a school uses to operate, having a secure and trusted repository that offers seamless integration will eliminate manual data entry, reduce rework, and eradicate version control issues.

Pillar 1: Learning Management

With teachers needing to plan, create, and deliver learning to or from homes during 2020, schools with a high-quality learning management system were at a distinct advantage during the pandemic – and will be well-positioned for the future.

Managing hundreds of virtual classrooms was a new and unexpected challenge for most schools. Those without effective learning management systems found themselves recording and managing critical operational information like attendance and video call links manually using Excel spreadsheets or similar, which was both time consuming and error prone.

Pillar 2: Operations

Schools that had digitized their administration tasks and operated using cloud-based software were able to make a far smoother transition to remote working. With staff, families, and students comfortable using an existing school management platform for communication, payments, attendance, assessment and more, business managers and their teams were able to work in a somewhat business-as-usual manner, allowing school leadership to focus on supporting teachers with learning delivery.

Multi-channel communication platforms like FACTS SIS, Family App, and Parent Alert made it possible for schools to keep their communities connected during a challenging time. With no way to distribute or collect paper-based forms on campus, offering a digital alternative to day-to-day administrative tasks became less of a “nice-to-have” and more of a necessity during the pandemic.

Pillar 3: Financial Management

Best-practice financial management software helps schools elevate their approach tuition and billing, budgeting, delinquency management, financial reporting and analysis, and more. FACTS SIS combined with FACTS Tuition Management automates many of these administrative tasks and makes double-entry a thing of the past. Billing and budgeting are simplified, while a real-time view of a school’s financial position supports informed decision making.

Pillar 4: School-Specific Integrations

Each school takes a unique approach to managing aspects like its library program, accounting software, and learning management tools. A best-in-class school management platform lets schools integrate the extras so everything is managed centrally.

FACTS SIS allows schools to manage shared resources by integrating with products that reflect their ways of working. This way, schools can offer a seamless and flexible whole-school experience that’s customized to their needs.

Bringing It All Together

Whether they thrived or just survived in 2020, the importance of the systems and software schools use to operate was certainly driven home. Many who had planned to transition to a digitally-driven approach in years to come are now making it a top priority.

While 2020 was a year of interrupted learning for schools across the globe, the benefits of a best-in-class student information system go far beyond learning delivery. By investing in the right systems, software and infrastructure, savvy schools can simplify school management, operate more efficiently and spend more time on the things that matter.