How CTS Helps Schools Streamline Operations

Taking the time to streamline operations at your school can add tremendous value to teacher practice.

School leaders depend on multiple systems to run their schools effectively each day. From online instructional platforms to student information systems and data and assessment platforms, teachers rely on the school’s internal systems to collect and track students’ academic progress throughout the year.

Effectively synching all of these systems can prove challenging, especially given the other priorities school leaders are asked to address. When a disgruntled parent shows up in the main office, a teacher calls in sick, or a high-stakes school-wide event is on the horizon, school leaders are understandably hesitant to devote their limited time and energy to synchronizing their school’s internal systems.

That’s where CTS comes in: we understand the unique constraints of the school or non-profit environment and work with school leaders to streamline their internal systems so that their schools run more effectively every day.

CTS can work with your school to streamline operations and improve student achievement.

At CTS, we employ former teachers and school operations leaders with deep experience managing school and classroom systems. Unlike other managed IT firms, our teams have extensive on-the-ground experience that allows them to develop practical solutions for our school partners.

Rather than routinely re-engineering your school’s systems year after year, our team will work with your school’s teachers and administrators to design, implement, and monitor systems that last far beyond the current school year. Schools who outsource their systems management to multiple vendors or divide systems management among multiple internal school teams simply won’t get the same results.

With a birds-eye view of your school’s student information, data and assessment, and other online instructional systems, our team will find ways to make each system “speak” to one another, generating insights that wouldn’t be possible otherwise.

We’ll begin to streamline your operations by troubleshooting common issues with your student information system.

For most schools, their student information system (SIS) (e.g., Powerschool) is the “hub” around which their other school systems revolve. The SIS normally houses student contact information, classroom rosters, the school schedule, and academic data and may also include other datasets related to student behavior or attendance, depending on the platform.

A typical partnership with CTS includes two separate data pulls for storing grades and other academic data for the school’s end-of-year compliance reports. Partnering with CTS for end-of-year reports, in particular, can save schools valuable time and energy. The format in which state and local education agencies require schools to submit their end-of-year compliance reports usually doesn’t align with how that data is preserved in the school’s SIS. Rather than slicing and dicing your school’s student-level data for hours on end, outsource your end-of-year compliance reporting to CTS so that you can focus directly on teachers and students.

Our team will also assist with basic SIS troubleshooting, such as rostering, grading, and attendance issues that can divert valuable time and attention away from instruction. A school leader shouldn’t spend hours behind her desk each day. By working with CTS, she can directly observe teacher practice in the classroom and provide meaningful feedback to improve student achievement.

Next, we’ll turn to your building’s single sign-on (SSO) systems.

Our team can also manage the platforms for your school’s existing integrations. Implementing a single sign-on (SSO) system is one of the critical first steps in integrating systems across your school or network. When the system doesn’t work, or there are discrepancies between otherwise “synched” systems, our team can step in to resolve the issue so that, again, you and your teachers don’t spend valuable time doing so.

Preserving the integrity of your school’s SSO is particularly important given the platform’s impact on other critical school systems. Our team ensures the SSO is operating at peak performance so that your other school systems can speak to one another securely in real-time. By working directly with the system’s third-party provider, we can leverage our team’s technical expertise to resolve issues quickly.

The annual lottery process at charter schools is fraught with peril. CTS can help.

For charter schools that are required to run an annual lottery, setting up your school’s lottery system, including assigning various, legally required “weights” to specific student populations, is fraught with peril. A charter school’s failure to assign the correct weight to a particular group can compromise the entire lottery process, which is routinely audited by state officials and charter authorizers.

Because of our diverse array of school partners—both traditional and charter—we’re cognizant of the common pitfalls of designing and executing an effective school lottery. By synchronizing your school’s lottery platform with other internal school systems, such as your data and assessment platform, our team can also help ease the student enrollment and registration process from the get-go, importing your school’s lottery results directly into your SIS and other platforms.

When issues inevitably come up, our help desk will work with your team to put out fires quickly.

As your school begins to streamline its internal systems, issues large and small are bound to arise. At a certain point, your internal school IT team, assistant principal, or teacher will encounter an issue related to the school’s systems integration efforts. Our team is there to help. With a call to our help desk, your school team member can speak with a support specialist quickly, resolving the issue promptly so that they can turn their attention back to instructional priorities.

Submitting a detailed ticket or waiting for more than thirty minutes on hold doesn’t cut it in the school setting. As our team knows, teachers and administrators often need answers fast—before the class period ends, dismissal begins, or students transition to lunch. Our help desk team is trained to resolve issues quickly or, at the very least, provide a temporary solution while developing a longer-term fix.

We’ll also address any gaps in your school’s student and parent communication platforms.

As with your school’s SIS, our team can collaborate with teachers and administrators to manage and troubleshoot your school’s parent- and student-facing messaging systems. Platforms like Remind and School Messenger depend on accurate student and family contact information. If these platforms aren’t synched with the school’s SIS or other internal systems, school leaders risk sending out messages that won’t reach their intended recipients.

When you need to announce a last-minute snow day, your school runs an emergency drill, or you’d like to send out a final reminder about an upcoming school-wide event, having a messaging platform that contains accurate, student-level data is critical. Likewise, if students need to turn in a particular form, return school-issued technology, or take some other action before the end of the school year, leveraging the school’s messaging systems to target specific students can be a powerful tool to increase compliance.

Onsite training will ensure your efforts to streamline operations at your school won’t go to waste.

Once you’ve done the heavy lifting of streamlining your school’s operations, it’s then time to ensure those efforts don’t go to waste. This requires school leaders to train teachers and support staff on how those integrations can be used to impact student achievement. Highlighting the benefits of your systems-integration efforts at regular professional development meetings and requiring teachers to gradually adopt the school’s newly integrated systems into their daily practice can help ensure your school (and, particularly, students) reap the benefits of your efforts.

Finally, our team will track any issues with your systems centrally.

As your teachers begin engaging with the school’s newly integrated systems, they’ll almost certainly encounter issues with the systems or have questions about how particular features work. As these issues arise, we’ll track them centrally, providing school leaders with the insights they’ll need to recommend programming changes that correspond with teachers’ needs.

For school leaders who take advantage of CTS’s managed IT services, these insights can form the basis for long-term discussions about how best to leverage the benefits of systems integration across classrooms and grade levels. Once a school’s systems are fully integrated with one another, school leaders can begin thinking more specifically about how to combine those systems’ various datasets with one another to generate powerful custom reports.

At CTS, we help schools accomplish their unique missions.

Our team has worked with more than 60 schools across the United States to streamline their operations, synchronize their internal systems, and positively impact student achievement. We realize synchronizing all of a school’s internal systems can seem daunting. That’s why we’ve intentionally staffed our team with former teachers and school operations leaders who understand the unique constraints of the school and non-profit environment.

By working closely with your school’s leadership team, we can craft custom solutions to streamline your school’s existing operations that will add tremendous value to school programming now and for years to come. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help your school accomplish its unique mission.

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