There is no question that all schools, public and private, have to watch their budgets these days. As school administrators brace for a challenging new year, many have spent the summer patching up old websites, working out the bugs in their intranet portals, and overhauling old printed materials and forms.

Because schools are so often financially strapped, there is an ingrained tendency to do as much themselves as possible. We’ve all heard the stories of teachers purchasing their own supplies, often including books and other expensive resources needed to do their jobs. But there is one area that really should be left to third party experts: school communications systems. And today’s schools are realizing that they need more than paper and a website to keep parents in touch and tuned in!

Here are three reasons why, tempting though it may be, it makes more sense to leave communications technology to the experts (app and platform developers, third party applications, etc.)

  • Save Time to Waste Time: When you try to “do it yourself” to save money, you usually end up spending more; more time, more resources and, yes, even more money. Using existing technologies that have been developed and tested means putting some cash up front. But taking up the valuable time of internal resources will cost you more in the long run.
  • Rapidly Advancing Mobile Technology: Mobility is here and it’s about much more than texting! It’s moved way beyond those hastily put together parent-to-teacher texts about upcoming events and progress reports. Today’s technology means proactive alerts, fingertip access to key information, such as parent reminders and notifications, a scrolling review of summary information, drill down to more data; all with a tap of a simple icon on a mobile phone. The simplicity and elegance of these new applications can be deceiving; in reality it takes a lot of expertise and best practices to do right.
  • Competitive Edge: Especially for charter and private schools, technology is often the deciding factor for parents who want their children in schools with the latest school notification systems to keep them informed as to what’s happening in and outside the classroom. They want to communicate with teachers and administrators their way, when they have time, not in old ways that require digging through papers, and endless clicking through landing pages.

Of course schools should and will continue to use internal resources when possible. They are ingenious when it comes to harnessing the talents of parents, grandparents and others within their communities. But when it comes to mission-critical elements like their communications technology, it may be time to find an app to handle the heavy lifting.