How much of your day do you spend on scheduling issues?
If you’re like most teams in school administration, your staff is probably busy setting and rescheduling appointments for your directors, teachers, parents, and students all the time.
These hours spent creating, updating, and reminding staff members about important meetings is a real drag on the limited manpower hours most school admin teams have. On top of this, managing all of these appointments by hand is inefficient even at the best of times.
If you’re ready to save your team time and stop managing your schedules the old fashioned way, today we’re going to show you how to bring your school into the digital world with automated scheduling.
Here’s What’s Wrong with Your School’s Outdated Scheduling Methods
When parents want to have a meeting with a teacher, they’ll typically call the front office and speak with a member of your administrative team. Someone from your team will either schedule the appointment, take a message, or connect the caller with their party’s direct line.
Your staff member gets stuck playing the middleman, taking time away from their tasks. And if you’re not using a centralized calendar, there’s room for scheduling discrepancies and double bookings, causing even more wasted time.
Or maybe your teachers have their own methods of communicating with parents. Suppose one teacher allows parents to drop by for conversations on their lunch break, but another teacher requires emails three days in advance to schedule these.
Parents and overworked staff do best with one system they can learn and count on every year—and it doesn’t get any easier than automated scheduling.
Let’s See Automated Scheduling in Action
Using Hubbli’s automated scheduling feature as an (awesome!) example, you can see how parents, students, and teachers will all be on the same page—without your admin team ever getting involved—thanks to automated scheduling.
See, each teacher, club, sports team, etc. will create and manage their own calendar.
Teachers will choose which days and times they want to hold appointments. They can open slots for parents wishing to discuss academic issues, or they can open up office hours for students to book extra tutoring or advising sessions.
When parents or students wish to make an appointment, they’ll search for their teacher’s name on your school’s website and view their available appointment times. Green boxes show open appointments; white boxes show time slots that have already been booked by others.
When a parent or student clicks on the appointment window they want, a screen will appear with all the booking details so they can confirm the right teacher, date, and time.
All your parent (or student) has to do is enter their name, email address, and phone number and then click the button to confirm their appointment to firm it all up.
You can have a confirmation email with the appointment details delivered automatically as soon as your user hits the button to confirm their appointment, or you can keep these appointments pending until you approve them.
When your teacher logs into their dashboard, they’ll be able to view all their appointments by selecting the Appointments tab on the left hand side of the screen.
Here’s the best part: your Hubbli calendar and all your appointments automatically sync to any Google calendar so you’re always in-the-know.
Plus, automated scheduling makes cancelled or missed appointments a breeze to handle. Any changes to the appointment will automatically be shared with everyone involved.
As if those reasons aren’t enough to get your school on board the automated scheduling wagon, here are 7 other benefits to having this system at your school:
Automated Scheduling Makes Life Easier for Everyone
Giving parents and students the ability to schedule meetings automatically means you’ll be able to:
1. Create One Easy, Long-Lasting System for Everyone to Follow
As we talked about in our article, Why Schools Need to Adopt Communication Standards, when parents know what to expect every year, you’ll have higher engagement rates.
So make automated scheduling the only way to schedule appointments moving forward.
You don’t want some teachers using automated scheduling and others making appointments via email—everyone from your tenured teachers to your newest hires needs to understand that their personal preferences will ruin the whole plan of a systemized scheduling platform.
Parents need to know that this process will be standardized across the board if they’re going to take the time to learn it. However, when they do learn it, it will be an easy process they’ll be likely to repeat.
2. Eliminate Missed Appointments & Miscommunication
Since your calendar will be available on your school website, parents will be able to select appointments that work with their schedule, decreasing the chance of missed meetings.
Parents will enjoy the flexibility of simply logging into a website to choose from a block of times in advance instead of speaking with someone over the phone and writing down the information, which can create issues of miscommunication and error.
When parents and students make appointments in the system, they’ll receive automatic reminders so they’ll never forget their meeting time.
If a parent or student has to change an appointment, they usually have to try to get in contact with a busy teacher, or go through a member of your administrative team. However, automated scheduling makes it easy for parents and teachers to manage, edit, and cancel their appointments in the system by notifying all parties involved of the changes.
Your administrative team never has to get involved when plans change.
3. Free Up Your Administrative Team
Since parents will be booking appointments directly with teachers, your admin team will never worry about scheduling parent-teacher conferences ever again. Your admin team will not be bogged down by phone calls about rescheduling or reminding either.
4. Allow Parents to Meet Directly with (Multiple) Teachers On Their Time
Parents will appreciate how easily they’ll be able to schedule their appointments online on their time.
Scheduled meeting times means they won’t have to wait around or drop in unexpectedly hoping to speak to a teacher or administrative staff member on their time-crunched lunch break.
And if your parents have more than one student enrolled at your school, they’ll be able to view multiple schedules to choose appointment times that work together so they can meet as many of their children’s teachers as possible at their convenience.
5. Give Teachers More Time to Prepare
Teachers will be able to log in to their dashboard to view all their upcoming appointments. Letting parents schedule meetings in advance gives your teachers time to prepare their thoughts and talking points about students for a more thorough conversation.
Plus, allotted times means every parent gets equal time with your teachers and no meeting is ever rushed.
Don’t forget that sticking to a schedule during parent-teacher conferences is the only way to ensure your teachers have much-needed breaks during all the long, exhausting sessions.
6. Grant Students More Control (& Responsibility… Shh!)
If there’s a sign-up sheet outside your teachers’ or school counselor’s doors for students to make appointments during office hours, don’t be surprised if they’re always totally blank.
Pre-teens and teenagers are so worried about what their peers think, they may not be bold enough to add their name publicly to the math study group, tryouts for oboe, or a chat with the school counselor.
However, if students have the opportunity to sign up for these activities online, without publicly showing other students where they’ll be, they may actually start showing up for more activities.
Teachers and counselors should be encouraged to create office hours for students and let them book one-on-one time together online.
Students will also receive email reminders so they’re more in control of their appointments and can be held responsible if they miss one without trying to cancel beforehand. Teachers have the added benefit of knowing exactly who’s booking the appointment so they can follow-up if a student does become a no-show.
You can even use automated scheduling to organize mass activities, such as lining up photo sitting times for students so they’re not waiting in line when they should be in class.
7. Boost Potential Enrollment Visits
Create a calendar on your website for potential students to schedule visits of your school. This tells future parents and students exactly when they can expect an informative tour from a member of your team and gives your team enough time to plan out the tour in advance.
All of these reasons are strong enough contenders for automated scheduling on their own, but when you combine them you really see the cumulative effect old-fashioned scheduling has on your team.
Eliminate missed appointments, phone tag, and late night double bookings during parent-teacher conferences, and free up your admin team, by switching to automated scheduling today. Your school won’t ever look back.