Avoid Back-to-School Chaos: More Tips For Smooth Sailing Into A New School Year (Back-to-School Part Two)

Back-to-school tips article part 2 main image of students.

A note to our readers: While this article provides valuable insights and strategies for school administrators to enhance their planning process, it's important to note that no single solution can address all of the challenges mentioned. At Sparkrock, we offer a modern Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system designed to integrate seamlessly with many other solutions like Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), Customer Relationship Management Systems (CRM), and Student Information Systems (SIS) through our APIs. We encourage you to explore our offerings and engage with our team to understand how our ERP can align with your specific needs.


Welcome to part 2 of our back-to-school series. Ah, August, the blissful final month of summer break. But while students are still lounging around on vacation, schools are busier than ever preparing for the new school year. The impending start of school brings a seemingly endless checklist of tasks and responsibilities that one must tackle before the first bell rings.

Administrators are working around the clock on:

  • Filling vacancies
  • Onboarding new staff
  • Designating classrooms
  • Signing vendor contracts
  • Reviewing purchase orders
  • Updating school safety plans
  • Finalizing teaching assignments
  • Examining classroom technology
  • Organizing professional development
  • Creating the year's calendar of events
  • Conducting walkthroughs with custodial and facilities staff
  • Confirming cafeteria, playground, and parking procedures
  • Sending "Welcome Back" newsletters to staff and school families
  • Connecting district administration to establish strategic planning initiatives and goals.

With all of these responsibilities, it's not surprising that school administrators work an average of 58+ hours a week. Every time something gets checked off the list, two more get added. It's overwhelming, stressful, and ultimately unsustainable. But luckily, it doesn't have to be this way. 

Embrace ERP Solutions For a Better Back-to-School Season

According to the NASSP Survey of America's School Leaders and High School Students, 70% of administrators said they spend more than 6 hours weekly on administrative paperwork. That's over 10% of their average workweek!

When asked how they would prefer to spend that time, 72% of respondents said they would like to spend more time engaging with students, and 69% replied they would use that time to support teachers better. Visible, empathetic, and engaged administration is critical to breed success in a school district. But how can administrators possibly achieve everything they need to accomplish?

With the right tools and preparation, it won't just be wishful thinking. Modern cloud-based ERP solutions like Sparkrock 365 can play a significant role in helping schools prepare for a smoother back-to-school transition. These flexible and convenient systems can integrate various organizational administrative and operational functions, including finance, human resources, inventory management, scheduling, and more.

Here's how an effective ERP solution can take the weight off of your back-to-school checklist:

Filling Staff Vacancies

As record numbers of teachers continue to leave the classroom, it's integral that schools fill vacancies as quickly as possible. Using Sparkrock 365, administrators can add, modify, and approve job requisitions to streamline their hiring process.

Onboarding New Staff 

Keeping track of new staff information, documentation, and training can be unwieldy. In Sparkrock 365, administrators can create onboarding tasks and assign them to new employee groups, then track when it is completed. This reduces manual workload and errors. Providing self-serve access for employees enables them to complete forms and submit documentation to HR directly.

Schedule Staff

Due to staffing shortages, many schools have had to be more creative than ever when staffing classrooms. With the ability to track employee qualifications and availability, ERP systems can help districts allocate their limited staff to meet their students' needs best.

Plan Training and Professional Development

HR can use ERP solutions to schedule and track employee training events. On Sparkrock 365, administrators can register employees for professional development and integrate the event with their scheduling to eliminate double booking. It will also automatically update qualification information for that employee based on training completion. 

Prepare Staff and Community Communications

Sparkrock is an ideal complement to Dynamics 365, Microsoft's Customer Relationship Management system. Administrators can pull relevant data from Sparkrock 365 to incorporate into Dynamics-crafted newsletters to be shared with staff or community members more regularly.

Streamline Workflows With Better Communication

School administrative departments are often siloed, which can make it difficult to collaborate on tasks. ERP systems eliminate manual data entry and duplicated processes with automated, integrated workflows based on a single, centralized database of information. This can help streamline workflows and improve productivity across departments as you enter a new school year.

Improve Decision-Making 

Sparkrock 365 provides easy-to-use financial reporting allows you to view and analyze data flexibly. Access to real-time reports generated by Microsoft Power BI and powerful visualizations help facilitate deeper insights into operations and better predictive analysis. For example, fixed asset reports can identify what resources will depreciate soon and need replacement.

Automate Purchase Orders

The Employee Self-Serve Portal helps districts make timely and proactive budget decisions by providing the ability to view purchase orders, enter receipts of goods and services, and view posted invoices and memos. Authorized employees have access to enter purchase requisitions or payment requests and the ability to check their budgets in real time. 

Transcend The To-Do List and Focus on Meaningful Impact

Administrators empowered by Sparkrock 365 find themselves with a newfound luxury: time. With the help of an ERP system, they can focus on what really matters such as:

  • Developing stronger relationships with students and staff members
  • Creating opportunities to positively impact the district culture
  • Providing meaningful professional development and support to staff
  • Partnering with the community to support student learning
  • Focusing on strategic planning to achieve district goals

School leadership should transcend the mere management of tasks. Their impact should reverberate through the lives of students, staff members, and the community. Set a course for success by embracing the power of Sparkrock 365. Schedule a demo today to begin your journey towards a smoother back-to-school season.

Are you ready to spark change?

With Sparkrock 365, you'll have the tools to manage your finances and workforce more efficiently so you can focus on what you do best. Go from paper-based processes to intelligent online workflows, and access the data you need to make a real difference in your community.
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