A school management system (SMS) that is promoted as an “all-in-one” solution should include all the features necessary for a school to manage its operations. This includes modules for student information management, attendance tracking, billing and payments, and communication. However, not all solutions offer all of these features, so it’s important to be cautious if this is an important requirement for your school.
7 Essential Features of SMS
Before you invest in an SMS, be sure to ask about the following features, which are essential for an all-in-one solution:
1. Student information management
This feature should allow you to store and track student data, including contact information, grade levels, and emergency contacts.
2. Attendance tracking
An attendance tracking solution should help you track student attendance, including daily attendance, tardies, and absences.
3. Billing and payments
Help your school generate invoices, track payments, and manage accounts receivable.
A communication feature should help your school communicate with students and parents via email, phone messages, texting (SMS), and online portals.
Scheduling software should help you manage daily schedules for staff, students, buses, meetings, events, and activities across multiple locations.
A reporting solution should create reports that help you track student performance, attendance, and billing data.
Every school relies on gradebooks, and this solution should help you manage and track student grades, create report cards, and generate transcripts.
How To Find The Right SMS
As promising as an “all-in-one” SMS may sound, it can be a challenge to find a single solution that offers all the features you need. Many of the most popular SMS solutions on the market today offer many of these features, but not all. For example, some systems focus on providing communication tools and billing/payment features, but not student information management. And while some systems offer integrated modules that work together seamlessly, others require you to switch back and forth between two or more separate solutions for different activities.
How To Evaluate An SMS
Before investing in a school management system, be sure to ask about the features you need, and about the system’s level of user-friendliness. You may also want to ask about security features and whether or not there is a mobile app for your staff.
Features That Should Be Added to SMS In the Future
As the educational landscape continues to change and evolve, there will likely be new features that SMS solutions need to include. Some of these may include:
More tools for automating processes like enrollment, eligibility determination, and tuition payments.
Advanced student information management
Better integration between systems for demographic data. Some of these desired features include parent portals, an open API to allow third-party apps and integrations, online storage space for student documents, extended support hours for users, and a student ID card app that can be used on mobile devices.
New reporting features
SMS solutions should provide reliable and customizable reports to meet a variety of needs, including reports that allow parents to track their students’ grades or attendance at home.
Personalized student-engagement tools
SMS solutions should provide tools that allow teachers to communicate with students on a more personal level. For example, some apps can be used to send text messages or post announcements across all of the students’ devices—and even get their attention in the classroom by playing a tone or lighting up the screens.
The ability to store files in the cloud could help ensure that important documents are always accessible and won’t get lost, damaged, or stolen. Some solutions even offer a feature that allows teachers and parents to track students’ assignments and grades through their devices.
While an “all-in-one” SMS may seem like the perfect solution, it’s important to be aware of the features that are essential for your school. Before investing in an SMS, evaluate your needs and do your research, so you can find the right SMS for your unique situation.
SchoolCues is an all-in-one school management system for small schools with limited budgets and resources. Our solutions include admissions and enrollment, online payments, student information system, gradebook, communications, parent engagement, donations and fundraising, alumni management and more. Schedule a demo with us today.