The Archdiocese of Boston saw the need to unite the thriving K-8 Saint Agnes School with Arlington Catholic High School to create a seamless experience for families in the community. The transition into a single school entity created a new community of 800 students. However, streamlining the disparate former processes from the two institutions was a challenge.
To learn more about the school, we spoke to Beth Flynn, Director of Advancement at the new Saint Agnes School | Arlington Catholic High School. In addition to her professional responsibilities, she is the parent of a graduate and has another daughter still attending Arlington Catholic.
Tell us about Saint Agnes School | Arlington Catholic High School.
We have 46 sports teams and small class sizes. We’re a one-stop-shop. You can start your 4-year-old at Saint Agnes School and keep them in the same program until they turn 18. It’s a powerful, amazing program to be a part of.
It’s great to see the high school students interacting with and mentoring the younger grades. We’re a real community school here. We have a parish priest that coaches cross-country, and another pastor is our hockey coach. There are people on campus from 6 a.m.-9 p.m. There’s always something going on. Community is first and you see evidence of that everywhere you go.
What were some of the challenges you faced?
Once we moved into a single entity, we noticed several disparities in service providers across campuses. We had a Student Information System (SIS) and hated it. The lower school didn’t even use an SIS. We needed a new solution.
What FACTS solutions do you currently use?
We began onboarding with FACTS SIS, but also started using FACTS’ financial services — including Tuition Management, Incidental Billing, and Parent Alert.
Other schools would probably go slower or implement the SIS system and financial services over different years. But we didn’t. We jumped in with online application and enrollment packets. We moved immediately from a paper process to an electronic one.
We took a chance and said, ‘Let’s see what happens,’ and we had no issues.
How have the parents reacted to the change?
As a parent, I think it’s fabulous that everything you need is all in one place. Parents here love the SSO (single-sign-on) access and everything is in one place for all their kids — from attendance to grades to calendar to bills.
One time I actually didn’t pay my own tuition on time just to see what it looked like from the parent’s perspective. I got the emails and late notices — it’s so great that FACTS handles that process. It takes two seconds to pay as a parent. You click three buttons, and you’ve paid.
What’s one of your favorite things about your FACTS solutions?
I love the integration between the SIS and the financial/billing side with FACTS Premier Billing. I just created classes for our athletic teams and drama productions and it’s so easy for me to go in and assess all those athletic or extracurricular fees. The process is game-changing — it makes my life so much easier.
What would you say to someone considering a FACTS solution?
We’ve been really pleased with how everything has gone so far.
FACTS has made communication so much easier school-wide, especially in my advancement role and talking about the school now as a single entity.
The customer service is also excellent. Everyone that we have dealt with at FACTS — from implementation on forward — has been fabulous. Everyone called us right away, held our hands, and walked us through the baby steps. I cannot say enough good things about the people we have dealt with.