The Willows Community School

3 min read

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The Willows Community School in Culver City, California believes in the idea that each child brings the community an extraordinary gift: a curious mind that is ready to explore and eager to learn.

“Our mission is to grow that gift by challenging our students to uncover meaning and significance in the world around them,” Director of Enrichment Nadine Sundy says, “and to become capable, confident individuals who demonstrate character, engagement, and a joyful passion for creative inquiry across a lifetime.”

The Willows is committed to a balanced and demanding curriculum that is rooted in experiential learning and social values. Their progressive curriculum includes an afterschool enrichment program that introduces students to unique and ambitious courses from moviemaking to baking, from fencing to rock climbing.

“We challenge children to challenge themselves and set high standards for academic excellence, which they pursue with energy and joy,” Nadine says. “We nurture a sense of compassion and community that begins at home, reinforcing what it means to be a respectful, involved citizen-of-the-world.”

The Problem

The Willows afterschool enrichment program offers 32 classes, and the administration was in need of a simplified system for organizing their enrollment processes.

One issue that is a challenge for many afterschool programs is that the course registration procedure involves a paper system that is both costly in resources and time. The same was true of The Willows system, which created, printed, and distributed program registration forms in order for parents to enroll their children in classes.

In addition, because of the paper registration process, the number of afterschool enrichment enrollees never reached its maximum potential, according to Nadine. The reason was that the cumbersome system had so many working parts that involved parents manually filling out forms and then sending the forms back to the school along with their payments. Numerous, manual transactions had to occur in order to enroll just one student

Finally, The Willows had difficulty tracking the payments of their enrollees and passing along readily available roster information to afterschool teachers.

The Solution

We at SimplyAfterschool knew that our software would complement the goals of The Willows’ afterschool program, so we contacted their administration.

First, we switched The Willows from their manual, paper-based system to our registration and management software, which is paperless, secure, and efficient. Paper enrollment creates information vulnerability because forms can be destroyed, misplaced, or misinterpreted, but our technology mitigates risks like missing forms and data entry errors.

Next, because our technology works through a user-friendly dashboard where parents enter their children’s information and make payments in one place, in only a matter of minutes, we knew we could assist The Willows with increasing their student enrollment. Our enrichment software accepts multiple payment types online, allowing parents to view and pay for classes on their cell phones, tablets or computers, making it easy for them to sign up their kids.

In addition, the SimplyAfterschool software makes the process of tracking payments, issuing refunds to parents, and transferring rosters to teachers an easy process that takes only a few clicks.

The Results

In their second year of use, The Willows is seeing significant improvements in all aspects of enrollment.

Nadine says that student registration is easier now, and the entire process is more organized because enrollment through the SimplyAfterschool software prevents illegible data from entering the system, and saves time for administrators because they no longer have to collect forms and manually enter information.

Furthermore, SimplyAfterschool increased parent confidence in the registration process because they were in ultimate control of their children’s information and course payment in a secure environment. There is better regulation of the process as well since the SimplyAfterschool technology logs and stores data in a consistent manner. Because of these things, Nadine says they have seen an increase in revenue and growth in the program.

There are so many other advantages to the SimplyAfterschool software, Nadine raves. The staff is able to use the software to easily communicate with parents through an integrated email system, and issue refunds in an instant. Also, she says that the regular updates to the software to improve the system and add new features are a nice complement.

“Keep doing what you are doing,” Nadine tells us. “We love the program and the parents love it, too!”

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