school management Substitute Management Software

5 Procedures School Leaders Should Implement

The start of a new school year is upon us!  For teachers and administrators alike, this is a time of excitement.  Vacations have come to an end and we’re beginning to think about the new year ahead, mentally planning out what the 2018-2019 school year will bring.

Part of wrapping your brain around a new school year includes determining which policies and procedures to implement.  As educators, we want to grow and learn and refine our practice, which we do through trying new things.  One way to accomplish that is to test out new policies and procedures.  It’s important to consider them upfront so your school year will start off on the right foot.Don’t dive into a new initiative before thinking it through unless you want to spend time revising and scrapping procedures before Thanksgiving.  Consider the following five policies and procedures to begin your best school year yet!

1.     Forge Relationships

No person in education is an island.  Create your admin tribe.  They’re there for you when you’re in need of advice from someone who’s been there done that, or when you need to brag a little to someone who’ll understand.

Certainly, being the head of a school is isolating.  It’s a lot of pressure to be in charge.  Get out from behind your desk and your mountain of work and forge relationships with the other teacher leaders in your district.  If that’s not an option, seek out digital options to connect with like-minded individuals.  There are Facebook groups dedicated to school principal interests, and Twitter is full of groups and Ed chats that appeal to administrators.

2.     Delegate

In a similar vein, no school leader can tackle everything in a school.  There’s far too much for one person to accomplish, and besides, giving others a say is healthy for morale.  To do this, select a few things on your to-do list that another can accomplish, whether that’s a committee or an individual.  Offer the task to your staff as a leadership opportunity.  Or approach staff members you think might be a good fit for the project and ask them to volunteer their efforts.

To ensure success,the key to delegating is to trust the committee or group you’ve put in charge.  Re-doing their work won’t save you any time or effort, and it will not encourage your staff to volunteer in the future.  The task may not have been completed exactly how you wanted it, but you can’t do everything!

3.     Automate Your Substitute Management Plan

“I love taking 11:00 PM phone calls from sick staff”—says no administrator ever.  Scheduling substitutes is an important part of any school leader’s day.  After all, it’s imperative that your students have the most highly qualified educator in their classroom at all times.  In cases of illness or other emergency, substitute teachers are necessary.  Scheduling subs doesn’t have to be a daunting task with the help of Subzz substitute management software.  Subzz fills absences faster, increases sub fill rates, and often eliminates the need to pick up the phone.

As a result, there is no more worrying about class coverage.  No more taking phone calls from ill staff members at all hours of the day and night.  Rest easy knowing your students and their classes are covered.

4.     Meet Smarter

Meetings are essential to school culture.  How else can school leaders effectively disseminate important information and teachers have opportunities to collaborate?  However, left unchecked, meetings become gripe sessions that drag on too long and become unproductive.  Creating a policy for meetings and procedures for how they’re run combats this.  Consider how often you’ll need to meet with your staff.  Be mindful of their time.  If the information can be provided in an email—do so.  But if the information is important and is likely to solicit questions from staff members, definitely hold a meeting.  Be consistent when it comes to meeting times.  Hold meetings on the same day of the week, time, and for a typical length so teachers and staff can plan accordingly.

Additionally, procedures for meetings should consist of setting norms, providing an agenda, and having a snack—even if it’s bring-your-own.  Including time for staff input helps them feel that their time is valued.

5.     Collaborate

Collaboration is expected of teachers, but for administrators, and their ever-increasing list of duties, a similar expectation does not exist.  Somewhere between the classroom and the principal’s office, there’s a shift that says collaboration isn’t necessary.  Don’t go it alone in education.  Collaborate with other school leaders to brainstorm, clarify, and revise new ideas and initiatives.  Get inspired by what your colleagues are doing at their schools.  Inspire others, too!

Likewise, collaboration can save you time and invigorate your practice.  Tap into your admin tribe or login to social media to share resources and bring a fresh new perspective to leadership.  Don’t rewrite the manual without seeing what’s out there first!  Save yourself time, energy, and effort by collaborating.

In the end, as you begin to step out of summer and into school, consider implementing these five procedures.  You’ll be glad you did.  Happy new school year, educational leaders!

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Product Staffing

Automated Substitute Management Software: The Basics

substitute management system

As a staff in a school district, you know how difficult it can be to fill an absence.  Trying to find a substitute teacher at the last minute is problematic, and often impossible. Calling around at seven in the morning and asking subs if they have availability is quite a chore.  

It can be awkward to call your administrator to let them know that you will be absent for the day. Once you’re actually on the phone, you feel the need to demonstrate just how sick you are.  And then you have to figure out who will cover your class; or maybe you feel guilty because your boss is tasked with that too.

For administrators, scrambling to fill classrooms with qualified substitutes is especially challenging.  It takes you away from your other administrative duties, and puts you on the phone when you should be working on more pressing leadership endeavors.  And how about keeping track of leave balances? No administrator has time for that mountain of paperwork.

All of these situations present problems for schools, but there is a much easier way to manage sick days, without phoning an administrator and cold calling subs.  The answer to these situations: automated substitute management software.

What Is Automated Substitute Management Software?

Automated substitute management software is the solution to your substitute scheduling needs. Whether you are teaching faculty, an administrator, or the substitute, substitute management software simplifies the process of finding someone to cover the classroom for the day.  It is a software program that allows teachers to input absences and automatically sends out a notice for substitutes to view and fill. No more leave forms or calling and scheduling substitutes. Everything is automated for ease of use.

Special Features of Automated Substitute Management Software

For Teachers

Get ready for substitute management software to greatly simplify your life with these special features that benefit all users.  Teachers can schedule their absences, check on preferred substitutes’ availability, and even request the sub that they want. After the teacher’s absence is filled, they receive an automated response, confirming their sub.  Teachers love automated substitute software because of all they can accomplish without making a single phone call.

For Administrators

Administrators love automated substitute management software just as much as teachers do.  They can easily login to see the daily sub schedule, schedule replacement staff, and run detailed reports, including unfilled absence rates, from any electronic device.  All of these processes are simplified and streamlined by being online in one place.

For Substitute

One of the worst parts about being a substitute is receiving those early morning, unexpected phone calls from administrators.  With automated substitute management software, subs will be able to easily schedule their own working assignments, make their availability to administrators and teachers known, and track their timed work.  All features are available at the touch of a button on your computer or smart phone.

Investment

Whether yours is a large school district with hundreds of employees or one small school with a staff of twelve, it is important to find a system that will work best for your needs.  Invest wisely in substitute management software and your sub management will run like a well-oiled machine.

Introducing Subzz

Subzz is one of the top automated substitute management software programs available.  In addition to the sub scheduling service and leave balance tracking and reporting, Subzz is an all-in-one comprehensive package that integrates with payroll, alleviating the headache of making sure your subs are paid on time.  Investment in Subzz provides access to the mobile app, so everyone can have Subzz right at their fingertips, ready to go.

Not only is Subzz popular, but also the pricing is very reasonable.  The cost for a single school starts at $100 a month and the price for an entire district begins at $125.  It’s a steal for what it accomplishes in time saved for teachers and administrators. It’s difficult to put a dollar sign on eliminating the hassle of finding subs, but this is a deal that should not be ignored.  Think of it as an investment in both organizing and keeping track of staffing needs.

Whether your school chooses Subzz, or another automated substitute management software, it is a giant step toward digitization and simplification.  Technology has made life a bit easier, and while schools are often the last to integrate new tech, it doesn’t have to be this way when it comes to scheduling substitutes.  Communicating entirely by phone is a thing of the past. Any teacher or substitute will agree: It is much easier and more efficient to answer an email or a text.

Staff will be excited by the convenience of substitute management software.  Plus, with its straightforward interface, it could not be easier to use. Even those with the most basic tech skills will enjoy it after minimal how-to instruction.  After a short time of scheduling substitutes, tracking absences, and completing payroll, you will wonder how you ever survived without it.

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Customer Service Product Staffing

Cut Time Spent Calling Subs In Half With Substitute Management Software

substitute management system

Is there a single administrator or secretary out there who doesn’t dread hearing the phone ring at 5 am on a Monday morning?  It’s usually nothing serious—a minor illness of a staff member. But nevertheless it disrupts your sleep and starts your week off on a less-than-positive note.  And then there’s the inevitable process that follows: call sub after sub, waking them too at 5 am, in hopes that they’ll be willing to drag themselves out of bed, last minute, to come teach a class.  What if I told you there’s a way school districts can eliminate these calls entirely? It’s true: substitute automation through online substitute management software.

Read on to learn how to cut the time spent calling subs in half with substitute management software.  

What is Substitute Management Software?

Substitute management software is an online management system where teachers can input absences, substitutes sign up for work, and administrators review and approve leave at their leisure.  The software provides a track record of absences and accounts for leave in a 100% paperless fashion. It increases substitute fill rates and eliminates or considerably reduces the need to call substitutes for scheduling purposes.  It empowers substitutes by putting them in charge of their own schedule, visible through the software’s schedule at a glance feature.

Long story short: substitute management software is a leading provider of returned time to administrators, teachers, and substitutes that was previously spent on the phone.

How Does It Work?

Everyone at school receives a login to the substitute scheduling software: teachers, substitutes, and administrators.  When a teacher is sick or needs to take leave, he or she will login to the system and create an absence. Once the absence has been created, it will appear for available substitutes to fill through automated notifications.  Substitutes no longer have to sit by the phone waiting for a call in order to book work. They can go about their lives, allowing notifications to arrive automatically and book work in seconds. Everyone already has a phone in their pocket or hand; substitute management software uses this advantage to reach subs on their devices automatically.

Is It Right For My School?

Automated substitute management software is perfect for any school that has a teacher sick leave policy, no matter how large or small the school.  While administrators want teachers in their assigned classrooms every day, illnesses do occur, and they are unavoidable. If you struggle to keep up with substitute assignments during the peak sick weeks each winter, or having staff out for professional development proves too much for your substitute scheduling, then substitute scheduling software is right for you.  Because it’s 24/7, there’s no need to sit by a phone or field calls and texts at all hours of the day and night. And subs are found to fill vacancies immediately—no more phone tag or missed calls. There’s no more wondering if a class is going to be covered and by whom.

How Substitute Management Software Improves The Lives of Administrators and Secretaries

No more phone calls.  No looking up numbers, leaving messages, playing phone tag.  These are behaviors of the past. Today’s administrators and secretaries need to spend their time working for students, not staffing issues.  Substitutes can offer to fill jobs that work on their time schedule. That means administrators no longer need to worry about shuffling personnel around.  The substitute keeps track when he or she is booked, only taking on new positions when their time allows.

Substitute management software also provides teachers and administrators with a paper-free record of absences and leave balances.  No more thumbing through papers and adding up leave hours to determine a balance. This is how mistakes happen. And no teacher or administrator likes to hear those dreaded words: leave without pay.  Don’t be caught in a situation where you’ve exceeded your sick or personal leave allowance but didn’t know it.  Use this automated software to count and keep track of these important details so you don’t have to!

Lastly, substitute management software provides important insight into absence trends and substitute fill rates.  Are your teachers historically absent on Fridays before major holidays? You might never notice this fact without the help of substitute scheduling software.  Use this data point to motivate your teachers to reach attendance goals or modify absence behavior. Are certain dates harder to fill with substitutes than others?  Incentivize higher attendance rates for your staff beforehand, to make your life easier.

Jump in on the substitute management software movement!  Value that sleep time, educator, because you deserve it! Vow that this is the year that you’ll finally tackle the mess that is finding and organizing substitute teachers.  Read more about Subzz and their substitute management software here.

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Product

Important Types of Software Every School District Should Have

A school district essentially functions as a nonprofit business that manages students, parents, teachers, non-teaching staff and so much more. Few people stop to appreciate the multifaceted management requirements of a superintendent, principal, or administrative team for any school facility. Like most other businesses and organizations, the gritty details of its operations are kept cloaked behind the highly functional persona. However, it is the hard work and smart tools behind the scenes that make that friendly facade possible.

What software considerations should your district be making? If it’s time to upgrade, where do you begin researching the best of the best? Below are 11 of the most essential types of software your district could need. Keep in mind, there are tons of options and your research should include a lot of things.

11 Types of Software Every School or District Must Have

A Robust Student Portal and SIS

SIS is an acronym you’ll see often and it stands for Student Information System or Software. There’s so much information to track, manage, and organize on behalf of your students. You’ll need a database that includes student personal information and other records required by the state and federal education departments. Compare to Edsby which offers a multifaceted dashboard and a collaborative approach to student data.

Grades and Reporting Database

In addition to the SIS, you also need to track assessment scores and grades for each student in a cohesive way. You may be able to rope this information into your SIS or your instruction and curriculum programs. Compare what you find to the robust classroom management of ClassReach which is extremely customizable.

Curriculum and Instruction Integration

Like Blackboard for higher ed, you may want your teachers to have a robust teacher-to-student platform. If so, compare these to CANVAS. This platform is a modern LMS (learning management system) which integrates with more niche programs and apps than almost any other LMS.

Behavior Tracking and Management

Behavior tracking is an essential part of measuring and fostering student success. Software can help you track detentions and suspensions as well as smaller infractions, parent contact, and repeat reprimands. Edvance is a great example of a cloud-based approach to behavior and student data that is accessible by students, teachers, parents, and administrators all at once.

Cafeteria Software

You serve hot lunches and your cafeteria staff needs to take payment, manage inventory, plan menus and generally run their restaurant-lite. Software like Lunchtime includes  great modules free and reduced lunch programs from your state or the U.S. DOE.

Library and Media Management

Another adjunct facet of your district is the library. Your librarian is tasked with major resource management and should have a reliable database of all books and other media in the library which can provide scanning capabilities and fine-reconciliation all in one dashboard. Many districts are enjoying Destiny from Follett Learning which offers a really nice student-facing portal to find and check out materials as well as a staff-facing portal that manages those materials, tracks fines and overdues, and connects to external resources.

Parent Communication

Teachers and the district as a whole may want to have a parent portal where parents can sign permission slips, make payments, access grades and behavioral info, schedule conferences, and receive SMS notifications with district-wide updates. Bloomz is a great (free!) portal for students, teachers, parents, and administrators to stay on the same page.

Special Education and IEP Database

Students with IEPs, their parents, their teachers, other aides or professionals such as SLPs, OTs, school psychologists and more need to stay on the same page. Rather than issuing a mass email and hoping everyone has the same information, consider using Infinite Campus which includes a robust and dedicated approach to IEP management.

Fundraising & Event Management

Your will really appreciate a one-stop place to schedule events and manage the community support for your school. Though this is especially important for charter and private schools, public schools also benefit from software like FreshSchools.

Accounting, HR, and Business

Your school district is essentially a business – you have to manage your financials and accounts all in one place. Skyward is a popular choice for districts because they offer a comprehensive SIS as well as the ERP (enterprise resource planning) functionality you need like HR, accounting, and more.

Staff Scheduling, Attendance, and Substitute Management

One of the most underrated parts of the HR component to your district is the management of teacher absences and substitute availability and scheduling. You can automate the process with a highly-developed substitute management system, . The best of only a few capable software options for sub sourcing and management is Subzz. To learn more about Subzz, check out the features here.

If you are looking for new software to serve any of these purposes, do your research and before you buy, schedule a demo where you can see the program in action and ask any questions you may have.

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Staffing Uncategorized

Should I Sub?: Weighing the Pros and Cons of Substitute Teaching

Teaching is difficult. Managing a classroom of any group of people is a big undertaking for any person. When you add the challenges of teaching, it’s truly amazing that substitutes do what they do SO well.

If you’re considering becoming a substitute teacher, you should consider all of the pros and cons. Substitute teaching has big benefits and notable drawbacks which need to be assessed before you make a commitment. We have laid out a few of the biggest pros and cons of substitute teaching below. We recommend speaking with teachers in your local district(s) to get more insight before you take the leap.

Pros and Cons of Substitute Teaching

Pro: You make your schedule

Substitute teaching is a great option if you have a flexible or part-time job, college course schedule, or freelance gig. It can supplement other income or works well if you’re the primary care parent and your children are school-aged. If you have a doctor’s appointment or a vacation, you don’t have to ask anyone’s permission to take time off – you call the shots.

Con: Subbing can be unstable

It’s also not super reliable income-wise because of the flexible nature of subbing. You may score a maternity leave and work every day for months and then go weeks or longer without a gig. You’re competing with other subs in your district of choice and the more available you allow yourself to be, the more work you’ll get. Substituting is almost-never full time.

Pro: You get to try lots of grade levels and subjects

Subs never have to be bored. You may teach any subject K-8 or K-12, depending on your knowledge level, background, and interest. Spending a week teaching kindergarten, high school physics, fourth grade, and Phys. Ed. might be overwhelming to some, but it ensures that you’re always on your toes.

Con: It can be difficult to plan ahead

On the other hand, being on your toes can be added pressure. Substitutes have to be flexible and ready to take on whatever job comes that day. If you’re not as comfortable with smaller children, kindergarten may be a big awakening for you. The same is true for older teens, specific subjects, or schools with a different “way” of doing things.

Pro: It’s a foot-in-the-door, if you’re looking for full-time

If you are a certified teacher looking to score a full-time teaching gig, subbing for a year is a great way to develop rapport,

Con: You’re sometimes seen as *just* a sub

It can be tough to prove yourself when people see you as a babysitter and not the talented, skilled teacher that you are. We like to see this as a chance to prove the cynics wrong.

Pro: The students are excited to switch things up

As kids, we always loved the substitute because he or she was a new face for the day and a chance to switch up the routine. You will often be welcomed with excited and curious faces.

Con: Sometimes, students see their teacher’s absence as a “free” day

Classroom behavior management is sometimes difficult for substitutes – especially those who are new – because students assume the sub won’t hold them accountable or that the material will be easier.

Pro: Your plans are usually laid out for you

All the fun of teaching without the rigor of planning your day? Count me in!

Con: You sometimes have to wing it

The trouble with following someone else’s plan is that sometimes the plans laid out were done in a rush, aren’t clear, or leave out details. It’s always good to establish rapport with the other teachers nearby to ask questions.

Pro: There is excellent software to manage your jobs

Substitutes in 2018 are lucky! District employees had to get on the phone late at night or early in the morning, dialing subs off of a list. Hoping that someone would be available for the upcoming school day. Now, there is software that manages teacher absences, substitute availability, and scheduling. You can learn more about substitute management software features here.

Con: Too many districts don’t have a substitute management software

Do you work for a district that still does things that OLD way? If so, you may want to gently suggest a substitute management platform to your district or school administrators. These advanced tools will automate the substitute hiring process for subs AND district staff so it’s a win-win for both parties. Have your administrators contact us – we’d love to chat about the benefits for their school.

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Blogging

Choosing The Right Substitute Management System for Your District: A Four-Step Guide

Substitute Management Software

You teach third grade and the students are presenting the results of their science projects tomorrow. You have spent Sunday afternoon sick in bed and by the evening, the worst is confirmed: You need to take a sick day. While people with other types of jobs can shoot off an email, take some medicine, and head for bed, you’re only getting started. You need to find a sub. In some districts, an administrator can help you do this and there’s a phone tree in place. In others, teachers find their own subs. You are already feeling ill, worried about how your students will fare, and now you need to track someone down in the evening after-hours or at dawn tomorrow to take your place. You deserve a break. You need the right substitute management system.

For decades, taxi cabs were hailed from the street-side. If you had to stand on the sidewalk in the rain to get a taxi, so be it. Over time, the industry automated and now we use an app on our phone to catch a ride faster and more seamlessly. What if securing a substitute was that easy?

Benefits of a Substitute Management System for District & School Staff

A substitute management system allows substitute teachers to set their availability ahead of time. Using this system, you can book substitute teachers online without having to a make a phone call at all. The software can be accessed 24/7 by any staff member with access, making scheduling a breeze.

Further, the application allows districts and schools to track teacher absences and substitute work time to analyze patterns and stay on top of immediate needs. This online solution takes the headache, the time spend, and the uncertainty out of sourcing and managing subs.

Benefits of a Substitute Management System for Substitute Teachers

Being a substitute teacher is a flexible and sometimes unreliable art form. Wondering until 7 AM every day whether or not you’ll be working to make money, whether or not you have the availability to run errands or do other things, not being able to plan your day until after dawn… these things are just #sublife.

When you work with districts that automate their process in the Cloud, there’s no more uncertainty. You choose which days you want to be on call and which days or times you need to be unavailable. The system makes it easier for you and there’s less back-and-forth with the district or school. Further, your time and your schedule are tracked for you on the platform so you always know where you need to be and when.

How to Choose the Best Substitute Management Software

Not all substitute management options have your back. Follow these steps to ensure that you make the right investment into a system that will provide all the best benefits of finding an online solution:

  1. Research Your Options

    If your district, school, or daycare is ready to make the switch to an online solution, you will need to look at what options are available and cross reference your process with what each system offers.

  2. Request a Demo

    You wouldn’t feel right buying a car without a test drive. Test drive the apps or software options you’re considering. If the company doesn’t offer a free demo, that could be a red flag. You should see for yourself how simple (or confusing) the interface is, and how your teachers will use the system before you purchase.

  3. Call and Ask Questions

    How do I on-board my usual substitutes to the platform? Can I see the availability of subs I haven’t worked with before? Is there a set number of teachers who can use the system at one time? Does the system track teacher absences? What happens if the system isn’t working? There are probably a million questions you’ll have before you implement an entirely new solution across your entire organization. Make sure you work with a company that is receptive to your concerns.

  4. Compare MORE Than Just Pricing

    If you’re going to invest district dollars into a new system, you want to know that it has ALL of the features you need and that you’re going to have top-notch customer service, too. The most inexpensive option is not always the highest quality option.

If you are tired of the runaround with filling absences at the last minute and you would like to learn more about Subzz, request a demo today. We are excited and ready to answer your questions and help you make an informed, confident purchase.

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General

Why You Should Invest in Training of Substitute Teachers

Substitute Teacher Training

While there’s a heavy focus on hiring permanent school staff, it’s equally important to screen substitute teachers and ensure you’re hiring the best possible candidates. Substitute teachers can greatly affect student (and parent) behavior. They can spend days, weeks or even months teaching and interacting with students. They can mean the difference between education stalling or continuing uninterrupted in a teacher’s absence. However attracting and retaining substitute teacher is a challenge that perhaps almost all schools and educational institutions will agree on. A very effective way to attract and retain substitute teachers is to invest in substitute teacher training.

Why should you train a substitute teacher?

Training substitute teachers attracts more substitutes and keeps them active for longer. It relieves substitute teachers from anxiety over lack of basic teaching competencies and meets the majority of their primary expectations of being a substitute teacher. Also, training improves substitute teacher quality, which increases confidence and success in the classroom. This success and confidence encourages individuals to continue doing a job that they enjoy. The most significant concern of substitute teachers is classroom management. Training can quickly give substitute teachers the tools and know-how to avoid or eliminate 94% of inappropriate classroom behaviors. Moreover, training allows substitute teachers to develop competence in various teaching strategies as well as provide them with supplementary materials. Competencies in classroom management and teaching strategies as well as an ample store of fill-in activities can drastically reduce the anxiety of substitute teachers and create a more satisfying experience

Several institutions are already investing in substitute teacher training. For example, check out the substitute teacher training program of Utah State University.

Training, therefore, is the most effective method of managing a quality substitute teaching pool that sufficiently meets the demands created by teacher absenteeism. Training alleviates substitute teacher concerns over inadequacies in the classroom and meets their primary expectations of substitute teaching. It also improves substitute teacher quality, which leads to higher job satisfaction.

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