Extracurricular activities are a vital part of the student experience, fostering lifelong skills and providing added value beyond the curriculum. While there is a widely accepted necessity for a Learning Management System (LMS) to assist with the delivery of the curriculum, a large number of schools don’t utilise an Extracurricular Management System (EMS) to operate their extracurricular programs. Instead, schools often use a combination of paper, spreadsheets, online forms, SIS modules and other disparate systems. This creates a lack of visibility and often leads to data security risks, as well as inaccurate information.
What is an EMS?
An EMS is a purpose-built platform designed to help schools manage the administration of their extracurricular activities. It is a one-stop-shop for extracurricular data and processes, allowing schools to access reporting and analytics that they would otherwise be unable to utilise.
Where Does the EMS Fit?
The EMS sits alongside the Learning Management System (LMS) and the Student Information System (SIS) in a school’s systems landscape. The SIS is the single source of truth for student data, the LMS manages the curriculum, and the EMS is responsible for extracurricular data collection and reporting. It is critical that all of these systems integrate with each other, ensuring there is no duplication of data entry and that key information is automatically kept consistent.
The SIS isn’t responsible for communicating exam results or homework tasks – that’s the responsibility of the LMS. Similarly, it is the distinct role of the EMS to manage all extracurricular processes such as maintaining and communicating the extracurricular calendar.
Three Reasons Why Schools Need an EMS
1. Single Source of Truth for all Extracurricular Data & Processes
Disparate systems don’t allow schools to have a holistic overview of the entire extracurricular program, while the double-handling involved also leads to inaccurate data. This lack of data oversight makes it difficult to confidently and consistently uphold duty of care to the fullest extent.
An EMS provides a single source of truth for all extracurricular data and processes. This includes the extracurricular calendar, attendance, incidents, results, student & parent communication, staff management, and more. It is critical that data is recorded on the spot to ensure accuracy, requiring a mobile-friendly application that is accessible from anywhere. Having one home for all extracurricular information allows for consistency across all activities – from Basketball to Debating, the information for every activity is collected, stored, and displayed in the same location.
An EMS specifically addresses all requirements of school extracurricular programs, so it’s able to replace approximately 5-7 other systems, including generic apps or internally-built solutions, that are disparately used by schools to gather the information they need.
2. Student Reporting and ROI
The purpose of extracurricular programs is to improve students’ lives by imparting life-long skills such as teamwork and communication, as well as developing performance in their activity. Parents want to know how their child is doing both in and out of the classroom to ensure they’re getting the best education possible.
It’s all too common that mum will ask her daughter how Netball went and all she’ll hear in response is that “it was good”. Unfortunately, while mum can look forward to termly academic reports, there is generally no equivalent for extracurricular. Without extracurricular reporting, the investment of schools, parents, and students goes unquantified.
Because an EMS is the single source of truth for all extracurricular information, it is uniquely able to quantitatively track a student’s development in extracurricular. Academic reporting is a crucial part of monitoring a student’s growth, and this information is shared with parents so they can see how their child is progressing. An EMS stores the data required to provide accurate reporting on extracurricular performance by tracking data such as skill development, attendance and results. This can be combined with academic reporting from the LMS, providing a truly holistic understanding of a student.
3. Communicating Personalised Information to Students & Parents
Parents want to be kept aware of their child’s extracurricular commitments and involvement. This includes the communication of game or practice details, as well as knowing if their child has been injured or has not been attending. Some schools still post the whole extracurricular schedule to their website, often in the form of a spreadsheet or PDF, requiring students and parents to filter through all events to find relevant information.
An EMS facilitates personalised and up-to-date communication of extracurricular information to students and parents. A parent doesn’t necessarily want to know when every team in the school is playing, only the team their child is in. This becomes particularly important when changes are made to scheduled sessions, including cancellations due to wet weather, because confusion ensues if parents don’t receive immediate communication. With personalised communication to students and parents through the EMS, everyone automatically remains updated with the most recent information.