Student Management Systems and School Communication Apps: Why your school needs both

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again; running a school is a rewarding job, but it’s certainly not an easy one. Modern schools are overloaded with data which, in most schools, is handled by a school management system. These multitasking systems do a stellar job of managing and automating the vast quantities of ‘hidden’ administration work performed in all school offices. But are they the best option for school-parent communication? This week, School Stream is getting into the nitty-gritty of school management systems and school communication platforms to examine their strengths, points of difference and why having both on board is ideal for your school. Let’s investigate. 

We know you’re busy. Click here to see how School Stream can help your school streamline parent communication or read on for our overview of how a student management system differs from a school communication app. And why your school needs both.

What does a student management system do all day?

What does a student management system do? Like teachers, just about everything. Essentially, a student management system (SMS) supports all the behind-the-scenes action that keeps the school running. An effective school management system is a hardworking, purpose-built platform that gives schools the capacity to manage all the complexities that represent the student life-cycle. It is a tool to support School Administration Officers to monitor enquiries from prospective students, handle admissions, process enrolments, as well as manage classes timetables and teacher schedules. It also is a place to manage and record student personal details, attendance records, examination details, assessments, marks and academic progress. But wait, there’s more. A good student management system also holds school finance and accounting details, and can even churn out statistically-dense reports on command. Some systems also support student accommodation and health records, service the management of human resources, the school canteen, transport facilities such as the school bus, inventory and assets management, and provide payroll processing for school employees. 

School communications apps face outward

A school communication app is a tool that allows schools to communicate effectively with their parent community. They have been developed especially for schools for this reason and this reason only. If you want to communicate successfully and efficiently with your parent community, you need to meet them where they’re at. And that’s on their phones. Most of us use our phones for everything these days, so why should school communication be any different? Things can move pretty fast in a school environment. A fully integrated school communication app that is installed on parents’ smartphones means schools can get information out to parents quickly, in a place where they will find it. If you can find an app with unlimited messaging, it’s also far and away the most cost-effective way of communicating with parents and carers. We know that School Stream is not the only app in town, but we are proud to say that we are the number one rated school communication app on the App Store and Google Play. School Stream makes it easy for parents, so schools get a better response rate. Here are some things the app can do:

  • Create forms that parents can fill in and return to schools directly from the app.
  • Take on demand payments for anything – canteen, uniforms, school photos or excursions.
  • Notify parents of any changes or news directly to their smartphone. If you need to let your school community know about a power outage or that sports day has been cancelled, parents instantly get the message first time, every time.
  • Distribute your newsletter through the app. Parents can also refer back to past newsletters via the app on their smartphones. 
  • Send Photo Galleries for events to share school activities with parents. 

Watch this short video to see School Stream in action.

Student management systems and school communication apps are like trees

Student management systems and school communication apps fulfil very different functions and have very different strengths. One is adept at managing all the internal machinations of your school, the other is a conduit that facilitates communication between the school and your parent community. It might be a cliché, but sometimes analogies can help visualise a concept. So think of a tree. Roots are the foundation on which a tree can flourish or fail. They are strong enough to bend steel and derail plumbing. It’s just that we rarely actually see them or, if we’re honest, even think about them. The actual tree – the part above ground – is the part everyone sees and admires. It’s a symbol of stability and strength. To survive and thrive, all parts of the tree need to be in good health. And neither can exist without the other. 

 

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