With the growing popularity of virtual school choice and open enrollment programs, there is a need for the best school choice software. Parents want to use a program that allows them to easily compare schools and make smart decisions when it comes to their child’s education. Meanwhile, school districts can benefit from having a simple way to manage their lotteries and waitlists with an easy-to-use platform. Plus, every district wants parents to feel valued by providing excellent customer service.
A school choice software is a platform that helps schools manage applications for students who wish to attend a school other than their zoned school. These are the top 5 must-haves for any school choice program software.
Customization is the ability to customize your school choice software. It allows you to make the software work for you and your district, rather than having to change your district’s policies or hire additional staff members just because they’re not able to do what they need in their existing systems.
Customization includes things like being able to set up an unlimited number of schools, define student eligibility criteria, and more. With customization built in, there won’t be any holdups when it comes time for implementation—your new system will work right out of the box!
Parents need to be able to manage their kids’ applications online and see their child's information at any time. The best software will allow you to utilize the features that best fit your needs, including:
Simple, easy-to-use interface. Parents will feel comfortable using this software if it's simple and intuitive enough for them to navigate on their own.
Accessibility from anywhere. With school choice software used across the country by thousands of parents, school districts need to make sure their chosen technology is accessible from anywhere—be it through an app on a smartphone or tablet or via computer at home or work. That way, families can easily view updates about their child’s application process in real-time without having to physically go into district offices during business hours (or even on nights and weekends).
3) Access to Magnet Programs and Charter Schools
If your school program has magnet programs or charter schools, you need to be sure that your software can meet the unique needs of these types of schools.
Magnet schools are public schools that attract students from across the district. They usually offer specialized curriculums, such as an art or music focus.
Charter schools are funded by the state and run by private organizations but don't have high school grades; instead, they may focus on preschool through 8th grade or K-12 but not beyond.
Providing the right information makes the experience easier for any parent on the platform.
4) User-Friendly Interface
School choice software must be easy to use for families and district staff alike. That’s why you should look for a program that has a user-friendly interface, including:
- Simple design: Parents want to be able to input information quickly, without having to sift through many pages or other areas of friction. The best software will give you the option of accessing everything you need on one screen and in a logical order.
- Straightforward notifications: When an applicant is accepted to a school, the software should notify the child immediately. The same goes for waitlisted applicants, who also want to know their status as soon as possible. Additionally, schools must be able to send automatic notifications to parents when they are placed on the waitlist or when they are no longer eligible to participate in the lottery. This information provides transparency and helps parents make informed decisions about how they want their children to participate in future lotteries.
- Security: The platform needs to be secure enough for both private businesses and government agencies alike.
- Family-friendly: When families have multiple children in the system, it’s a plus to be able to link all members within a family dashboard.
5 ) Advanced Lottery Management
For student choice programs, an advanced lottery management system is a must.
This system allows you to view all the names of students who have submitted applications for your lottery, see which schools they applied for, evaluate space and fit, and more. When it comes time to assign students to a school, this section gives you options like: "assign by random," "assign by highest priority," "assign by highest preference," and more.
ScribChoice: All You Need in School Choice Software
And there you have it—the top five school choice software must-haves!
At Scribbles Software, our mission is to engage the community by providing equitable, open access to school district resources and programs throughout the student lifecycle - beginning with enrollment and continuing post-graduation.
We partner with K-12 educational communities to enhance, streamline, and simplify their student records processes to strengthen the family engagement experience through school choice software, school administration software, and more.
If you're interested in learning more about our ScribChoice solutions, please fill out the form below to chat with a team member.