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7 ways collaboration between school district departments can create a powerful impact

 

Group of teachers working together

School districts have a similar structure to large enterprises. You have your finance, HR, payroll, administration, operations, and IT departments, all of which require a slice of your funding pie

Until recently, IT departments had the difficult task of proving the return on investment on any proposed upgrades and automation suggestions for different departments. As a result, their ideas went on the back burner, and instead of utilizing them, finance departments allocated funds elsewhere because that’s what they’ve always done.  

But when COVID-19 forced school district leaders to take technology more seriously, it resulted in significant measurable data proving that collaboration between finance, HR, payroll, IT, and administrative departments gives more visibility, control, and access to deeper insights across school districts. 

Advanced integrated technology combined with cloud software is changing how school districts do business. Read on to learn how collaboration between school district departments can create a powerful impact using a unified ecosystem that provides everything education needs for success.

Method #1: Use reporting and tracking features

The chief financial officer of a school district must be on the same page with all department heads to track assets purchased with allotted funding properly. And now that technology is a higher priority for spending, the chief technical officer and CFO should have a close working relationship to ensure lifecycle tracking from purchase to disposal. 

The finance department relies on the technology department to develop the best ways to track and report purchases because they’re accountable for complying with funding laws. 

An asset management system tracks assets and all data in real-time, such as:

  • Cost of asset
  • Purchase date
  • Install date
  • Warranty
  • Maintenance schedule
  • Location
  • Who is responsible for it
  • Any leasing terms and renewal dates
  • The total cost of ownership over time
  • And more

Both in-office and hybrid work models benefit from implementing reporting software for efficient collaboration. Real-time reports from HR, payroll, IT, and finance keep everyone in the loop, along with easy-to-view dashboards, no matter where you are. As a result, district leaders and department heads make more accurate budget forecasts and plan with real-time metrics.

A software solution like an asset management system allows essential collaboration between departments, decreases administrative costs, and creates greater visibility for budget forecasting and allocating future funds.

Method #2: Facilitate strategic initiatives

School districts around the country may have different state goals for hitting specific educational targets. Still, they all strive to provide a solid learning experience in a safe and nurturing environment. Students’ and teachers’ physical, mental, and emotional well-being is a top priority. 

Teacher facilitating group To facilitate strategic initiatives, it again comes down to the IT department’s ability to understand the needs of all other departments. Human resources, payroll, and finance departments have specialized software available to make each department more cost-efficient, but which is the best solution for everyone to work collectively toward the desired goals? 

Let’s start with strongly considering the recommendations from your IT department on replacing or modernizing older systems to keep pace with rising technology. 

Reduced manual processes and automated workflows make for better collaboration and overall efficiency. Edsembli’s all-in-one Ecosystem gives you the following:

  • Increased Collaboration: Seamless integration between all departments
  • Built-in Compliance: Stay on top of compliance changes and any updates, amendments, and negotiations on policies and procedures
  • Complete transparency: See everything happening in real-time, from the classroom to leadership
  • Customizable reports: Create real-time advanced customizable reports with the complex functionality to extract, analyze, and report data from multiple data sources
  • Full Automation: Eliminate manual processes, save time, cut costs, and reduce the administrative burden with full automation
  • Secure audit trails: Take advantage of selective permissions and role-based access control to create an audit trail that administrators and auditors can easily follow
  • Better student management: Create, auto-populate, and authenticate student records that include academic performance and figures, timetables and schedules, and health and well-being records
  • Secure role-based access: Control access and maintain data security based on customizable and granular distinctions

Method #3: Provide Digital Equity

Not all internet access is equal. The pandemic proved this when students had difficulties with poor or no access at home and had connection problems even at school. You couldn’t solve this problem with siloed technology. 

Digital equity means providing all teachers and students equal access to tools and technologies in education. Along with digital equity come the terms digital access, digital divide, and digital inclusion. 

  • Digital access: This means using the right technologies and tools to participate in society and school as a whole
  • Digital divide: When students lack the tools and resources (digital access), it can result in them falling behind
  • Digital inclusion: Includes the methodologies for achieving digital equity. Students require equal opportunities for engaging with and excelling in the learning process

Digital equity is more than just supplying new laptops for everybody. It involves connection speeds, reliability, and teaching students how to use these new technologies to make resources and learning materials available and easily accessible for all students, including those who are disabled or have special needs. 

When your finance, IT, and HR departments come together, you can identify and invest in the right integrated systems to meet these deficiencies to ensure the best learning environment possible for everyone. Hotspots are a solution for students who don’t have an adequate internet connection at home, and you should also consider the devices and programs they’re using. If they’re still using legacy technology, you may want to consider investing in something better.

Method #4: Boost Cybersecurity

Technician working on school cyber servers Collaboration between departments ensures everybody is up to speed with any changes in the system. However, when departments are siloed, IT departments must be aware of everything going on to protect district data. Otherwise, phishing cases that are rising exponentially leave school districts exposed and susceptible to downtime. 

It’s a well-known fact that many K-12 institutions struggle with data security. There have been over 1,180 cyber attacks in the US alone since 2016. In 2020, that number increased by 18%. 

Ransomware is a significant factor behind the ever-climbing numbers. These “bad actors” have become more ruthless, with their increased ransom demands and threats of data exfiltration, which leads to more harmful infections. 

Upgrading to an all-in-one software solution like Edsembli makes perfect security sense. Easily streamline how you manage, store, and access your student and teacher data, administer automatic updates for viruses and cyberattack protection, and leave no vulnerabilities for those bad actors. Real-time data for maximum protection allows for safe hybrid working models too.

Method #5: Ensure Continued Support

As education funding continues to grow, concerned leaders want to ensure that finance departments use those funds to create positive impacts wisely. Having the right amount of staff and technological devices for training and support is a crucial piece of the strategy for continued collaboration. 

Performing repairs and providing support is a substantial investment that all districts can’t afford to lose or lack. In addition, continued alliance throughout all your school district departments keeps systems, applications, devices, and staff well-trained and supported.

Choosing the right education technology to support your students and staff can lead to several benefits. For students, these benefits can look like this:

  • Increased participation & engagement
  • Better understanding of  the content
  • Better retention and grades
  • A higher number of graduates
  • An overall improved student experience

There are so many reasons why keeping up with technology and ensuring continued support is key to improved learning, such as:

  • New teachers expect the latest technologies
  • Offering unlimited hands-on learning experiences
  • Students today are primarily digital learners
  • Promoting independent learning and working at one’s own pace
  • Easily assessing student performance
  • Enhancing collaboration between students, teachers, and district-wide departments

Support your educators and individual departments by including them in the decision-making process. When transitioning to education technology software, get your teachers and departments involved by:

  • Giving them sufficient notice about the upcoming changes. Six months is a fair warning
  • Reassure them that they’ll have your full support throughout the process changes
  • Identify and discuss current and potential future pain points
  • Request a demo of any EdTech software you’re considering and give your key leaders access to the demo (preferably your change champions)
  • Hold a district-wide meeting to show how an all-in-one solution can make collaboration between departments easy, seamless, and better for everyone

Method #6: Enhance Budgeting and Forecasting

Forecasting and budgeting are necessary functions of a successful business. Finance departments excel at budgeting, so collaborating with them is crucial to the process. With integrated software and real-time data, budgeting and forecasting have never been more accurate. To get to this stage, your IT budget should reflect the integrated software to provide a better learning experience for students and an easier way to assist and support your teachers.

Enhance budgeting and forecasting by becoming more active in the broader education sector to gain insights into factors that may affect future funding. Historical data and knowledge are a great place to start for modeling various costs and income scenarios that can impact your budget. The following “what ifs” can help you understand trends, and you can use them to decide the highest impacts on your budget: 

  • Changes in pupil demographics and their characteristics
  • Funding throughout the next three years
  • Staff profiles
  • Curriculum changes
  • Inflation
  • Teaching staff salary rises
  • Goals of your school development plan
  • Long-term improvement and development aspirations
  • Retiring employees

When presenting budgets and forecasts to district leaders, it’s better to have a collaborative approach with all department heads to push the end result — increased ROI. 

Method #7: The Ease of Automation

Automation relieves tedious day-to-day tasks that consume all departments, especially your finance department. Some of these tasks include:

  • Expense reporting
  • Workflow approvals
  • Invoice approvals
  • Accounts payable
  • Accounts receivable
  • And many more

Devote the time saved from automation to prepare an even better educational experience to your students.

Is Your School District Set Up For Success?

Does the technology across your school district allow for seamless collaboration between your HR, finance, payroll, and IT departments?

What if you had a way to integrate everything you need to run a successful school district nto one platform? With Edsembli, you can.

The Edsembli Ecosystem, built for education by education, seamlessly connects human resources and payroll (HRP) software, student information system (SIS) software, and finance (FIN) software, giving you more visibility, control, and access to insights across your district. 

Collaboration has never been easier. Choose the entire ecosystem or individual components and integrate the others whenever you’re ready.

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