After-School Activity Management: 5 Critical Challenges Schools are Facing Today
The need for after-school care is increasing as more families are becoming dual-income households, and more focus is being placed on the demands (and benefits) of schools providing such programs for its students. As the number of children in need of after-school care rises, schools are faced with a number of unprecedented challenges.
In order to accommodate the greater demand for after-school care, schools are starting to develop and offer more complex programs such as clubs, classes, and tutoring–in addition to childcare. Setting up and managing all of these different activities within the after-school program creates organizational and logistical challenges, which is where a solution like SchoolPass’s After-School Activity Management module comes into play.
We have highlighted the 5 biggest challenges school administrators are facing when it comes to setting up and managing after-school programs and activities.
(1) Publishing after-school opportunities and making them available to parents:
- Eliminate as much manual work as possible, find a solution that automates the process and syncs directly with your SIS. In the past, schools utilized brochures with enrollment forms that were to be completed and returned. This is not scalable!
- More and more schools are turning to registration software to help organize the information, present it in a professional manner, and manage enrollment size & status automatically.
- Make sure you find one that is easy-to-use for both parents and staff, and effectively presents the information on opportunities for activities in a streamlined format for setting up activities, integrating information systems, and reporting capabilities.
(2) Collecting student information can be a huge headache (without help from the right software):
- Registration software should interface with the school’s SIS to limit the amount of time it takes to register and ensure that all of the necessary information is available to all parties. This would create a better overall experience for the person enrolling in the program.
(3) Collecting and processing payment for your after-school activities:
- Save yourself (and your staff) time and resources by collecting payment at the time of registration. This would help keep changes and cancelation to a minimum, saving on transaction fees as well as keeping accurate enrollment numbers throughout registration. Collecting checks or billing through the business office is inefficient and can lead to errors and confusion.
- Give Parents access to enrollment information throughout the school year to free administrators from unnecessary documentation often requested by families for tax purposes.
(4) Determining which children are supposed to be attending an after-school activity vs. regular dismissal:
- Teachers and after-school childcare providers need to know where each child is scheduled to be at dismissal time and during the after school hours. The challenge lies in the unavoidable changes that are made in a child’s schedule. With an effective change management solution, information is centralized and synced in real-time, avoiding the potential for human error when it comes to a child’s whereabouts.
- Often times these changes are made at the last minute. Ensuring that all parties get accurate, timely information is a critical challenge. A break in communication can result in a child missing a scheduled activity or being incorrectly sent to an activity. Either situation results in time being lost, manpower being used, carpools being delayed and oftentimes emotional outcomes.
(5) Accurate and easily accessible activity rosters are essential:
- The ability to access real-time, accurate activity rosters is especially important during transition times. Inaccurate activity rosters result in lost time, missed classes, and refunds.
- In addition to the families that need childcare options, there will be those that want to take advantage of the program’s offerings. Parents find value in the ability to keep their child at school for enriching activities instead of transporting them to another location. Families with more than one child can allow each child to explore their particular interests without scheduling challenges. Children are also more willing to try new activities if they know the other children in the class.
As after-school programs become more efficient, offer a wider variety of choices, and address challenges, they can be expected to grow. With an end-to-end solution like SchoolPass, schools have the opportunity to bridge these gaps before they become a problem and tap into a platform that they can grow with over time.
Learn more about how the new and improved SchoolPass After-School Activity Management solution can help your school.
About The Author:
Carol Meadows, SchoolPass K-12 Expert Consultant. Carol is the former Director of Extended Programs at Trinity School in Atlanta, GA, and an experienced K-12 veteran with more than a decade of experience creating and growing highly successful after-school programs from the ground up. Carol is now an in-house K-12 expert consultant for SchoolPass.