In the ever-challenging and busy environment of a school it can be hard to find the time to ensure you’re using your school administration system to its full potential. But the rewards of this effort can make it worthwhile. Here are some tips on how to get the most out of your administration system:
- Don’t assume that what you know about the system is all that the system offers. Make sure you go through all the modules the system provides. Run all the reports to see what they do. Click into the areas that you haven’t been in before. Read the whole screen, not just the areas that you’re used to seeing. Ask others how they use the system for their purposes. You may be surprised at what you’re missing!
- Use all of the training available from the system provider. In administration you’re constantly busy, but you may be able to gain time if you use your system to its full potential. Take the time to complete any training that’s on offer. This may save you time in the long run.
- Attend any webinars that are available from the system provider. You may pick up a wealth of information . . . short cuts, new functionality or new reports. This is also a great time to ask any questions that have come up from the time you’ve invested in learning more about the software. You can also discuss the things you wished the system could do or things that you don’t know how to do yet.
- Even if you think you won’t use a module/area/unit of the system – give it a go anyway. It’s in your best interest to explore any modules that you’re not currently using. If you don’t know how the module works, how do you know if it will work for your school? You might find a better alternative to your current process.
- Read all newsletters and blogs from the system provider. Most software companies like to keep their clients informed of what’s new in their systems. Make sure you’re on their mailing list and/or subscribed to their blog. Read all the information that’s sent to you. By keeping up to date like this you’ll avoid missing out on handy tips, shortcuts and new functionality.
- Join any available forums or groups that connect you with other users of the software. This will give you an opportunity to find out how other schools use the system. By listening to others you can find out how to approach tasks a different and better way or how to do new things you didn’t know about.
- Always let the system provider know about what your school needs. There’s no point mumbling to yourself about all of the things you wish the software could do. You might think that you’re just one voice, but if there are a number of schools asking for the same thing this will likely see the priority of the request increase so that the new feature is delivered sooner.
- Check your processes. When you find yourself completing a task that’s done with monotonous regularity, ask yourself “Do we really need to do this? Is there a better way to do it?” Just because it’s always been done that way doesn’t mean that it has to continue to be done that way, or maybe things have changed and it’s not even needed any more.
- Ask questions. Don’t be stuck with what you know, but constantly ask questions of those around you to enhance your understanding of the product. Opportunities for improvement rarely come from what you know, but from what you don’t know. Asking questions is the best way to discover those things to make new opportunities possible.
- Check out what other school administration systems are available. This will help you to appreciate the system that you already have, or it may show the shortfalls of your current system so that you can ask your provider to make improvements or even switch systems!
Do you have any other tips for getting the most out of your school administration system?