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By Ryan Ponzurick

Many of our world’s future Presidents, CEOs, artists, and musicians spend day after day in school. They learn and practice and study to become the greatest they could possibly be in their chosen field. So why should our schools be anything less than perfectly equipped to provide an exceptional environment for our students and faculty? Technology is revolutionizing the way schools function. Software companies are developing ways for schools to run more efficiently and effectively as the programs they provide expand beyond traditional academic offerings. With the right fundraising techniques, you can raise plenty of money to integrate school program management software. The right software will help take many time-consuming administrative duties off your plate. The software that you choose should accommodate your school’s evolving nature and cater to your needs and the programs you support. When you are considering enhancing your operations with school program management software, remember that you need features that will facilitate your administration of:
  • Before and after-school programs.
  • Summer school and camps.
  • School-based registration fees for athletics and clubs, trips, laptop rentals, parking and transportation, and more.
To maximize your efforts in these areas, you should keep an eye out for school program management software that features tools for:
  1. Registration.  
  2. Centralized student information.
  3. Digital attendance.
  4. Tuition management.  
There are plenty of things to worry about as a school administrator, so you should take advantage of software that is designed specifically for school-based programs and makes your job easier. Let’s dive into the tools you should consider as you contemplate incorporating new technology into your school!

1. Registration.

Throughout the year, your school and its faculty are responsible for hundreds (perhaps thousands) of children who participate in various extracurricular activities and summer programs. Your school program management software should offer an easy-to-use online registration tool specifically designed for the needs of your program, like CommunityPass’ afterschool registration software.   Whether a parent wants to enroll his child in the after care program, pay for the laptop rental fee, or sign up for the summer STEM camp, he should have easy access to all the information required to complete the registration process from the comfort of his own device. Make sure your registration tool is equipped with customizable forms. This will ensure your forms contain all the information your school or program needs. Consider offering custom forms for:
  • Medical information and allergy alerts.  
  • Permission slips.
  • Emergency contacts.
  • Waivers.
With the addition of school program management software, you will forget all about the days when you had to keep track of paper forms and worry about updating registration waitlists. Your software will automatically update waitlists and monitor your programs’ maximum capacity limits. Don’t forget that the registration tool is the feature that your community must use. This makes it the perfect place to have prompted donation requests. Your software should prompt users to donate during the registration check-out process and encourage school-centric fundraising. Your users will already have their wallets out, making it the perfect opportunity for easy giving.

2. Centralized student information.

One of the most important features of your software is the ability to provide centralized student information. Your software should offer:
  • Integration with your existing student information system with daily status updates. Student information should have an easy and automated way of transferring to your school program management software. Frequent updates allow students to be automatically added mid-year to the system and removed when they leave the school.
  • Parental access to student information. Parents should be able to easily verify and update student information remotely. This will eliminate the need for parents to meet in-person at your school for simple tasks, freeing up the parents as well as your staff.
With all your students’ information in one place, you can easily compile a potential donor list to help support the programs and activities your school offers. Don’t shy away from utilizing a wealth screening database to help shape your fundraising campaign. This will ensure you are approaching the individuals who are best suited to give to your school and who care about your offerings.   You will most likely find support for your school and its programs in your local community. Your programs serve your community and you should give them the opportunity to help your program be as effective as possible.

3. Digital attendance.

In a world with working parents and busy schedules, so many kids find themselves in before and after-school programs. With the hectic rush at the beginning and end of the day, you want to do everything within your power to make sure your students are safe and accounted for at all times. Digital attendance tracking integrated with afterschool program software allows your instructors to update the attendance records for your program in real-time. This will allow a more accurate and reliable method of tracking which students attend your program, how long they stay, and where they are throughout their stay. Not only will this create an easier way of managing students while they are in your program but it also guarantees a safe and secure way for parents and authorized individuals to sign students in and out of your program. A digital attendance tracker should be able to verify the parent’s identity with a photo and password. With this tool, you can rest assured that every student leaves your program with an individual authorized for pick-up. It also eliminates the need for paper lists and logs! To see more about afterschool program tools, click here.

4. Tuition management.

If your school runs before and aftercare programs, tuition management is extremely important. Keeping track of paper payments and receipts can be exhausting. The software will allow you to digitally manage payments, and drastically reduce the time and effort that goes into making sure every payment has been made. With this tuition manager tool, you can simplify your payment collection process. Online registration and payment will automatically take a load off of your plate while recurring fees can be programmed to automatically charge the correct parents/guardians. The software will allow you to centralize your entire payment process into one digital database that can:
  1. Accept deposits and partial payments.
  2. Process credit cards, debit cards, or E-checks.
  3. Apply family discounts.
  4. Manage tuition invoicing.
  5. Withdraw, refund, and credit participants.
  6. Monitor late pick-up and late payment fees.
You will never have to think about interrupting your normal tasks with manual tuition collection again!   Remember to make sure your software provides an easy and secure way of processing payments. To read more about payment and account security, check out this password security guide from Swoop. Your school should be focused on the enrichment of a future generation, while its program management software takes care of making sure your school program administration runs smoothly. With your booster club using unique fundraising ideas to support you, you will be able to implement this software effectively and efficiently. When you are trying to figure out the next step for enhancing your school’s efficiency and efficacy, keep an eye out for these software tools!

Author Bio

Joseph Oriente is the President and Founder of Capturepoint, creator of CommunityPass software. Joe established Capturepoint in 1999 and launched CommunityPass in 2003, which was initially created to provide online registration and payment for a local town sports council that was overwhelmed with an increasing number of paper registrations. Since then Joe has been responsible for expanding CommunityPass nationally to become one of America’s most well respected and complete online management solutions with registration, membership and facilities software serving the recreation and school markets.
4 Top Software Tools Every School Should Consider