By Anna Maxin
When it comes to managing instructional materials, it takes a team of people to keep everything running smoothly – especially with the many tasks this staff is responsible for. School districts are actively seeking opportunities to simplify processes, improve communication, and increase the accuracy of information used for decision making; all while being budget minded. Furthermore, school systems are introducing technology into the curriculum and the classroom, making it even more important to reduce unnecessary and/or avoidable spending on textbooks.
As you plan for next school year, one opportunity that will result in improved instructional material management efficiency is to clearly define and communicate policies and procedures. Aligning these to the current goals of the organization will ensure program success.
The following key areas are found in a comprehensive instructional material management program.
Clearly Defined Roles within the District
Undefined roles and responsibilities can cause conflict across the district. It affects teachers when they don’t know who to request materials from; it affects school textbook coordinators when they don’t know what they are responsible for or don’t have access to the tools they need to support their job; and it affects parents when they don’t know who to approach when their student needs a textbook.
Outlined Selection and Procurement Procedures
Support principals in their efforts to communicate with teachers, resource staff and parents with documentation of how new materials are selected for use, how requests for materials are placed and fulfilled, and when excess inventory will be reallocated to other schools. Quick access to information like student course enrollment and real-time inventory needs across the district allows you to manage the risk of over purchasing by maximizing what your district currently owns.
Local Guidelines and Responsibilities
School board supported policies can quickly become outdated given the changes in funding and school level control. Current policies for items purchased with taxpayer dollars are incredibly important to mitigate risk for the district. Having these clearly documented will support your efforts in everything from small parental disputes over fines to larger concerns relating to the appropriate disposal of inventory.
School Level Accountability Policies
Understand how principals will support their staff with process and procedure to account for losses by students and teachers as well as the collection strategy of payments for damaged, lost or stolen materials. Principals will have clearly identified and communicated the expected use of instructional inventory in a handbook/ student agreement that outlines everything from the issuance and collection process to proper care and responsibilities.
We work with districts of all sizes to provide not only textbook management software, but also help guide and consult in the areas covered above. Contact our account management team if you would like to know how we can help you in time for the new school year.