By Anna Maxin
Let’s face it: managing district instructional materials isn’t a one person job.
When every district is employing the motto “do more with less”, effectively managing your district instructional material purchases is crucial to both your bottom line and student success. Trying to accomplish that with your existing staff can be challenging without proper organization. It’s important to give your district and school level staff the tools and procedures necessary to get their job done efficiently and as cost effectively as possible.
A documented, communicated inventory management program that supports the initiatives of the district is key to the supervision of instructional resources like student and teacher textbooks and resource kits. These instructional purchases are one of the most costly assets at your school as well as the most undervalued.
An effective program will be supported by an assistant superintendent or director level executive sponsor and communicated to all parties how interact with instructional materials. This ensures that district purchases are utilized effectively to cut unnecessary spending and ensure students have access to their required materials from day one.
The following are key components of any instructional material management program.
1. Develop a Policies and Procedures Manual
For truly effective management of your textbook inventory the district’s policies and procedures must be documented and communicated by all personnel. The development of an Instructional Materials Policies and Procedures Manual will lay out the responsibilities of each individual within your district pertaining to the management of instructional materials and define critical guidelines and instructions such as the selection and procurement process, ordering criteria, distribution, accountability, and closing out the school year.
2. A District Level Textbook Coordinator
For districts with multiple campuses, someone at the district level needs to take ownership and oversight of the instructional material program. This role of the District Textbook Coordinator will typically be a responsibility of a staff member in the Purchasing or Curriculum departments.
3. Campus Level Textbook Coordinator(s)
Each campus needs someone to take ownership of how materials are managed and the assignment of these responsibilities can fall to an Assistant Principal, clerk, or librarian. This person receives communication from the district office and coordinates tasks at their school like book assignments to students and teachers, inventory checks, and student obligation reporting.
4. A Centralized Tracking and Reporting System
To facilitate the proper management of all your instructional materials a centralized tracking system that meets the procedural needs of both the district and campus levels is necessary. A single, web-based system will let the district verify the receipt of inventory by schools and identify shortages/overages of each title located at every school in real-time; it offers an easy way to transfer books from campus to campus or back into the warehouse; and it serves as a central communication tool between the district and the schools for requesting and fulfilling additional inventory needs and conducting physical inventory audits.
What other important components would you suggest for the proper management of instructional materials? Let us know in the comments below!