How did you manage leave prior to Boardingware?
At our school students would sign out on a blue card on a paper blue card. So the duty teacher would accrue having to do initials and signatures. It was very tedious very archaic and it was hard to keep track of students at all times.
How do you manage leave and off-campus requests now that you use Boardingware?
It is absolutely easy. Our students have been trained and have apps on their phones to complete requests. They then come to the duty teacher who looks it up on their phone or their iPad or their computer and will approve the sign outs. It's very simple. No paper no mess, and there's record keeping.
Prior to Boardingware how did you manage the process of daily signing in
and out or check-ins?
Prior to Boardingware daily sign ins and check ins was again carrying all of the blue cards around having the students come to us whenever they're back or when they were leaving and then having to initial the card and then hold onto the card till they come back. So it was again quite tedious quite archaic.
How does that process look now with Boardingware?
Very simple. On a daily basis students will need to go off campus - especially if they have to leave early for a dentist appointment. So they will complete their request on the computer or on their phone then go to a teacher in charge or to me since I'm Director of Diversity and Student Affairs and we would go on our computer and approve the request and then we're all set. It shows everybody that the student is off campus, what time they left, what time they're coming back and how they're getting there. All of the information you need is available on the computer [or iPad or iPhone]
How did recording behavioral information about your students work before Boardingware?
It was not a very systematic way at our school. When a student got into a major violation of rules we have a whole discipline system and a letter would go home. Anything for smaller disciplinary issues was not always kept track of - Nothing necessarily in the file.
And now that you have Boardingware how does it work?
Now that we have Boardingware record keeping has been so simple and consistent with disciplinary issues whether it’s with health issues or signing students in and out, there is a record that's kept for every action and it's wonderful. We can keep track of medicines for medical purposes - daily meds for our students. When it comes to behavioral we can record what has happened. And there’s also a cute little toggle called ‘watchlist’ so that another duty teacher will see if the student's in trouble, there will be some sort of marker there and it's a great way to communicate.
Did you have any hesitations before signing up for Boardingware?
Actually no. What's wonderful about it was I met with a Boardingware consultant via Skype. He sat down, he worked with me and a colleague and gave us a wonderful presentation of what Boardingware could do for us. And we sat on it for maybe a day and we were like We're onboard. It's been wonderful. No hesitations and no regrets since.
Who else had to give approval and what were their main concerns?
Once I and my colleague were convinced this was a great program for our school, we went straight to our Head of School and talked to her and said; these are the benefits - being able to keep track of our students easily, sign ins/out. Being able to keep track records. She was already looking for a way to have accountability and record-keeping throughout our residential life program so Boardingware fit perfectly for us.
What are the three things you would say to somebody that's considering signing up for Boardingware?
Here are the top three; I would say
1. Being able to keep track of your students leaving and coming onto campus.
2. The record keeping is amazing, between health, discipline, academic and actual sign outs and leaves.
3. I'm not joking about this - customer service. I can't even tell you how many times where I've had a question and I have sent an e-mail or went to the help section, and if I couldn't find it there I would get a reply from the Boardingware staff within less than 24 hours. It was amazing. And that is huge nowadays when we have to press buttons all the time and you always get you know some sort of recorded answer. But here, at Boardingware - very personable and it's much appreciated.
About Thomas Jefferson School
The school is located on 20 acres (81,000 m2) in the middle of St. Louis's South County suburbs. It is small for a school of its kind, with only around 90 students from grades 7 through 12, about a quarter of whom are international students. Boarding students and day students attend in about equal numbers.TJ is focused on the classics, and the ideal of a classical education in general, balanced by a strong math program (all students continue through calculus) and Advanced Placement courses in science and history for all students. The Greek program, in particular, is among the best in the nation. Classes, all in the morning, are discussion-oriented and relatively short, at 35 minutes. Students spend the remainder of the day studying independently, engaged in athletics and other extracurriculars, or consulting privately with the 13 faculty members, some of whom live on campus. Supervisory staff includes two resident assistants.
School Website: http://www.tjs.org/about