Middlebrook Elementary School
The PTA at Middlebrook Elementary School in Trumbull, Connecticut, offers students from kindergarten to 5th grade an afterschool enrichment program each winter and spring semester.
The program in the vibrant New England community of more than 36,000 citizens offers 15 classes per season to keep the community’s kids active, entertained, and engaged in rich afterschool activities from yoga to floor hockey.
Like many afterschool programs, Middlebrook’s enrollment procedures involved a time-consuming process of manually entering the data of each student.
“We sent out paper programs with full details,” says program coordinator Shelly Alvarado. “Parents filled out the sign-in sheet and handed it back to school. Then, I would have to enter all the information into an excel sheet. The time it took to input the info was an issue, and it was difficult trying to read people’s handwriting.”
In addition, Middlebrook’s enrichment classes are on a first-come, first-served basis, and some of their courses have low maximums by design for specialized interaction. It was impossible for the PTA to govern first-come, first-served courses without some heartache from parents who thought the process was unfair when their child did not get into a class.
Finally, if the program had to cancel a class because of low enrollment, the process to refund parents or switch children to another class was difficult and involved checks and additional paperwork.
The Middlebrook PTA needed a revamp of their afterschool enrichment registration process. After an internet search for the perfect software option, they found three candidates, and SimplyAfterschool was one of them.
From the beginning, we knew that we had the technology and tools to put together a perfect plan for them, so we went to work in order to show the Middlebrook PTA we were their best option.
First, it is always our goal at SimplyAfterschool to put our prospect’s minds at ease with a no-obligation assessment of their issues in a timely fashion. We feel a necessity to get right on the task because we understand that immediate answers make things easier for administrators, parents, and children.
“SimplyAfterschool would respond in minutes when others would take days, or make me schedule an appointment that was a week away to discuss our issues,” Shelly says. “We chose SimplyAfterschool because it was user-friendly for me and the parents, but also, customer service was HUGE. SimplyAfterschool was always quick to answer my questions. That was the ultimate reason why I chose them. I knew I would have support along the way.”
Moreover, once an afterschool program commits to our services, the software is up-and-running ASAP with no setup fees or upfront costs of any kind.
“One of the other programs I was looking at told me it would take me three months to organize my account,” Shelly continues. “SimplyAfterschool helped me, and it was set up in a week.”
The first thing we wanted to do for the Middlebrook PTA was update the enrollment process as a whole, and with our technology, we put an end to manual data entry. The Simply Afterschool software automates the enrollment process and moves the entire program into the cloud, so there is zero clutter involved. In addition, all of the courses are organized on an easy-to-understand dashboard as parents sign-up their children.
Next, we wanted to solve Middlebrook’s class-maximum issue. Our technology makes it possible to create specific class sizes, and when a course is full, the application automatically moves students to a wait list. Our software allows enrollment to be tracked in real time with 24/7 access, so there are no surprises.
Finally, SimplyAfterschool provides a credit and debit payment processor, so that when parents register their children, classes are cancelled, or students need to be switched to a new class, payments and refunds are automatic, and require no paperwork. In addition, receipts are sent to the parent’s email address. All of this is done in a secure environment that is PCI Level 1 and COPPA compliant.
Middlebrook PTA is now in their 3rd year using SimplyAfterschool, and Shelly loves the fact that all of the enrichment program information is organized for easy access and retrieval.
“SimplyAfterschool helps us accomplish and coordinate sign-ups and payments in a fair first-come, first-served way,” she says. “It helps with organizing the lists per class so I don’t need to manually input each child’s info. Also, it is a great thing for parents because they can look at it anytime to remind them of the dates of classes without contacting me.”
In addition, Shelly appreciates that she can email the parents on an individual basis or as a group, via the SimplyAfterschool program, and also know that her emails get saved for future reference, so there are no discrepancies.
“I also like that software is evolving,” she says. “SimplyAfterschool really listens and has made the program even more user-friendly for me. This program not only saves me so much time but helps me stay organized.”
Shelly can access all of the afterschool program information anytime, anywhere, and boasts that the technology saves her 100 hours of work per school year.
“I love this program!” she exclaims. “SimplyAfterschool really made the transition flow much easier. They are calm and explain things clearly. They are always available and offer suggestions. Even though they are located across the country, I feel like they live in OUR town!”