Many districts today still face challenges associated with the various paper processes they must complete day-to-day, including administrative, financial and student management functions. Pekin Community High School District 303, located about 10 miles southwest of Peoria, was no different. The district encountered several issues that its paper processes posed when it came to communicating important information to parents and students.
Amy Hubner, assistant principal for operations, explained the challenges involved with printing a large amount of schedules and distributing semester grade reports for students. She said the machine used to fold and seal reports did not always work properly, and the printer used for schedules was equally unreliable.
An additional obstacle the district faced with printed grade reports was the high mailing cost associated with eight distributions per year, as well as not really knowing if students’ parents actually received and saw their child’s grades.
Business office clerk Heidi Cooper, registrar Fred Vogt and mathematics teacher Samantha Bledsoe all agreed with Hubner’s concerns about the district’s inefficient printing, mailing and communication processes.
Bledsoe stated that handing out printed schedules, which were distributed to students at the beginning of each semester, made for a chaotic morning on the first day back. Students had to come to school early, go to a designated classroom, pick up their schedule, and then find their classes – all before the first bell rang.
"'The transition to paperless has gone a lot smoother than I expected.' –Amy Hubner, Assistant Principal for Operations "
To alleviate organizational and communication pains, the decision to implement Skyward’s Family and Student Access was made. The technology solution allowed
the district to go paperless with many of its processes, including key communications with parents and students about grades and class schedules.
“The transition to paperless has gone a lot smoother than I could have predicted,” Hubner said.
“We transitioned to electronic schedules and had very little issues,” she explained. “We made sure to properly inform students and parents of the change and made their schedules available in ample time for them to print off a hard copy if they preferred. We also allowed students to print off hard copies once they returned to school in our computer labs.”
“The distribution of schedules, report cards and progress reports was improved,”
Staff members agree that the transition to a paperless model has streamlined important communication processes and helped cut costs, saving the district nearly $9,000 a year – a conservative estimate.
“Report cards and progress reports postage ran us between $8,000 and $9,000 a year – just for that piece,” Cooper said.
"WE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO MAKE BOTH GRADE REPORTS AND SCHEDULES ACCESSIBLE TO BOTH STUDENTS AND PARENTS MUCH QUICKER."
Hubner explained how the district’s now paperless model has decreased mailing costs and is more efficient overall. Valuable time is no longer spent preparing report cards for mailing or printing numerous schedules.
The district has realized other benefits as well. Vogt noted that paperless report cards reduce the volume of returned mail the district had dealt with. Cooper added that Skyward’s online portal has streamlined guidance office functions by allowing students to register online for classes. The district is also pleased to offer parents and students increased access to important information.
“We have been able to make both grade reports and schedules accessible to both students and parents much quicker,” Hubner said. She and Bledsoe stated that going paperless has enhanced communication between home and school.
“It was important for the district to transition to a paperless model because it fits with the changing times in terms
of technology,” Bledsoe said. “It allows our students and parents to easily access grades and other important school information.”
"THE TRANSITION TO PAPERLESS HAS GONE A LOT SMOOTHER THAN I COULD HAVE PREDICTED."
At Pekin Community High School, the transition to a paperless model was smooth and effective. With the use of Skyward’s advanced technology, the district
has successfully increased communication, reduced costs, and repositioned itself on the forefront of modern education technology.
Follow-Up Resource: Skyward Family Access
Go paperless with Family Access! Contact us today to learn how you can streamline communication, reduce costs, and achieve a new level of efficiency.