By Jessica Zaleski
As the semester winds down, school district instructional materials coordinators begin looking ahead to their end of year processes. With everything that your campuses need to complete this time of year, you may start to feel overwhelmed about getting your coordinators to quickly accomplish these processes. But fear not! We’ve compiled a list of best practices that will help you ensure campus staff know expectations and account for their materials as efficiently as possible.
1. Keep the lines of communication open.
Having an end of year meeting is a good idea to ensure all of your campuses are on the same page and understand the expectations for closing out the school year. Here are some important topics you can communicate and discuss:
- What are book collection and audit processes
- Where eligibility for materials is going up or down, and by how much
- What are return surplus processes
- What materials are going out of adoption
- What to do with worn and damaged materials
- How to communicate consumable material needs
You’ll want to make sure this information is available for campus coordinators to access after the meeting as well. Create a document that details important processes, deadlines, and contacts staff can reach out to with questions. Then share this among the campuses via e-mail and a cloud sharing program (like, your district IM webpage, Google Docs or Sharepoint).
2. Consider going virtual.
There’s no reason your meeting has to be done in person. Requiring staff from each campus to come to a central location, and finding a time that works for everyone can be impossible. Instead, think about hosting a webinar that campuses can dial into remotely. The screen sharing capabilities of webinar tools (like Join.me, Skype for Business) will also give you the capability to show exactly what steps the coordinators should be taking to complete the end of year processes in your inventory management system. Additionally, you can record the webinar and make it available for anyone who didn’t make the meeting or needs a refresher on what was discussed.
3. Set deadlines.
Set deadlines for each step in the collections/returns process that your campus staff needs to meet before the summer break. Make sure the deadlines are documented and communicated to them (like using the document we mentioned above or by sending calendar invites to remind them the deadline is approaching). Also set deadlines for yourself to check in with campus coordinators you haven’t heard from once their due date has passed to ensure they are on track.
4. Use reporting tools.
If your inventory management system allows campuses to generate student lost book letters or teacher receipts, it can be a huge help to your campus coordinators in their collection efforts (TIPWeb-IM has these features!). The campuses will use these tools to help collect materials or payment before new materials are distributed to the student/teacher the following school year.
5. Do a physical inventory.
This isn’t everyone’s favorite thing to hear, but it’s an important part of ensuring you have accurate counts at your schools. That information will allow you to plan inventory needs for next school year accurately, transferring excess titles between schools or purchasing from vendors sooner to start the new year off on the right foot. The good news is, if your inventory management system lets you count titles, physical inventory taking is a much simpler and faster process.
What are your tips for ending the year with an accurate inventory (and your sanity in tact)? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments section below!