Managed Programs: The Paperless School
The adoption of a managed programs approach to information technology can allow school sites to begin to make a true transition to the "paperless office" that has been forecast for years. It takes skilled personnel, however, to know how to help schools and districts make that transition because in some cases, it requires a radical restructuring of how site personnel interact with technology.
Many schools still operate on the "physical mailbox" method of communication between departments. For example, a teacher who needs to reserve a school van for travel to an after-hours educational seminar may well have to fill out a physical form. This form is then routed, using physical mailboxes at the school site or in the district office, to the principal or vice-principal for approval and then finally to the transportation office, who will schedule the reservation and return a copy of the form to the teacher who originally submitted it.
The inefficiencies of this system are manifestly obvious and mean that reservations must be initiated weeks ahead of time. With a managed programs approach, however, teachers and staff can use an electronics reservation system instead. This system produces faster response times and automatically indicates, for example, if vehicles are available on the date desired. Parallel systems are available for reserving slots for students to use the library media center or computer lab, as well as for submitting maintenance and facilities requests when light bulbs go out, among other things.
Setting up and monitoring the systems needed for a "paperless office" is best performed by contracting an IT company with expertise in managed programs.