ISZL is an independent co-educational, non-profit day school serving the international community of Central Switzerland by providing a comprehensive education to 1200+ students, from Early Years to university preparation, from ages 3 to 18.
Ric Perry, Academic Systems Manager led the sourcing and implementation of SchoolsBuddy School-to-Home Management System. Ric explains “The main reason SchoolsBuddy was brought onboard was for our activities sign-up, management and operation – but we also absolutely love the Parent Teacher Conferences capability.”
Moving Extracurricular Activities From Paper to Online
Historically ISZL’s extracurricular activities were managed by the Assistant Principals on paper. Managing this expansive sign up process was difficult and time consuming, so ISZL implemented an online activities system which was in place for a couple of years, before transitioning to SchoolsBuddy in 2020.
Challenges with Their Previous System
ISZL’s previous activities management system needed complex instructions to deliver the desired result. This made it hard to train staff and run an effective program. Finally, the overriding reason for changing platforms was a stagnated and underdeveloped product roadmap. Ric sees system evolution as critical for any technology platform.
Onboarding a School-to-Home Management System
ISZL found that SchoolsBuddy was extremely easy to implement. Ric explains ”There was of course concern, it’s a huge job and people can be intimidated and daunted by the amount of work. However, for ISZL it was half a day, a day maximum, even with a large activities programme of over 250 clubs.” SchoolsBuddy’s easy configuration allowed Ric to delegate responsibility for the set-up of clubs “It’s very obvious and intuitive. You can just click a few buttons and away you go, and then it’s easy to set up for future seasons.”
Benefits of Their School-to-Home Management System
A critical aspect for ISZL’s choice of activities management platform was integration into their school ed tech environment. Ric explains “It saves so much work because it’s a communication platform that ties in with our SIS. The ease at which it pulls all the important, relevant information from our Student Information System (SIS), like student name, age, grade level and critically, their parent information – it’s just seamless.”
The use of multiple platforms and the headaches this can cause, is a challenge seen in many schools. The ability of SchoolsBuddy to offer Single Sign On was a deciding factor in ISZL’s decision to use the system. As Ric says “The SSO was important to us, as parents have too many logins.”
In looking to save time and improve the process for activities sign-up, ISZL were able to benefit from SchoolsBuddy’s different sign-up options. Both first come, first served and preference based sign-ups are possible. The preference-based sign-up and allocation is a particular favourite for ISZL, as Ric remarks “The ‘scoring’ system for the preference based sign-up is really fantastic. It decides for you and then everything gets sent out.”
Ric has been impressed with SchoolsBuddy’s capacity to personalise their sign-up processes. Ric explains “We also really like the way that SchoolsBuddy has the flexibility to customise sign-ups and make manual tweaks and amendments prior to final allocations. There’s a huge amount of flexibility to adjust the system to your school and student’s needs.”
Parent Teacher Conferences
ISZL were also previously using an online booking system for parent meetings, but the opportunity to consolidate PTCs and activities with single sign on, meant they could drop two sets of additional credentials. Ric explains “It’s reducing the sign-ins, the logins and platforms.”. The impact of this was higher engagement from the parent community and less requests for help.
PTCs are complex to organise, communicate and manage. SchoolsBuddy’s integration with ISZL’s SIS has made this process efficient. Ric says “The time saving for Parent Teacher Conferences could be hundreds of hours. If you tried to manage PTCs without a platform like SchoolsBuddy, that would be a nightmare.”
The Importance of a Continually Developing Tech Platform
Schools need to continually grow and evolve to provide the best experience for their students and parents. One of the key challenges for ISZL is to ensure the systems within the school are keeping-up. Ric says “If you are stuck with a system that won’t change, you are stuck in a very inefficient way of doing things.” With SchoolsBuddy’s commitment to support and development, Ric would not hesitate to recommend SchoolsBuddy to other schools.