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  • Writer's pictureAlison Hamacher

5 Tips for a Successful Edficiency Launch

It’s the runway to the start of another school year. For some of you it's getting all of your lists complete before you move to the next phase and for others, you are at the next phase. For those of you that are using Edficiency’s software to automate your flex scheduling logistics, one of the items on your list is ensuring you have a smooth rollout with Edficiency on your campus. For those new to using Edficiency, I am sure that you are still thinking about ensuring your model is reflected in Edficiency and how you best roll this out to your staff and students. For those that have used our software before, you’re thinking about any ways you want to update for the coming year, and maybe even ways to leverage Edficiency in new ways, to ensure everything is in place for continued success.


As someone who has served as an Edficiency administrator before, I remember being in both places - both exciting times. But in both scenarios, I found a checklist made it easier, so here are 5 tips to get your Edficiency launch off to a great start. :)



1) Organize Your Team


Your team usually consists of those involved in the admin training. It can be a mix of administrators and teachers. We encourage this dual role for a particularly involved, trusted, and savvy teacher or two.


Recommendations:

If you’re new to Edficiency it is important to have people that will be points of contact and have a role in your flex time beyond teaching a session. Your team will be valuable in thinking about what your “flex” period looks like, possibly managing the Edficiency site for your school, and keeping things running smoothly. Just be mindful of how many people you designate to serve as an “admin” in Edficiency, making sure there is clarity on why they should have that role. Additionally, identify which of your staff members will be required to offer sessions for your flex time, those that have the option to, and those that (virtually) never will. Consider all staff groups, like teachers, counselors, main office staff, and other support staff. Reach out to your Edficiency support contact during your admin training (or any time after) to discuss any ideas you might have on this topic.


Pro Tips:

If you have been with us for a year or more at this point, you might think about evaluating those who have been handling your “flex time" and take a pulse of how things have been going or if there have been changes to any of the people who have handled it. These might be cases where you want to designate someone new and communicate that to your point of contact at Edficiency. Summer can also be a great time to think about any shifts in your strategy or any staff members you might have been underutilizing during your flex time.



2) Set Up Your Default Template


If you’re new to Edficiency there were many mentions of the “Default Template” that was started with you during your admin training. The Default Template is a collection of sessions for your entire staff so you can easily ensure they all offer sessions during “flex time”. These offerings (or sessions) are the very least you would have happening during your “flex time" - the bare bones, if you will, like a study hall or office hours perhaps. This Template should include all staff that you expect to have a session on most days.


Recommendations:

  • Create a session on the template for each staff member, in their usual room, titled with the same name (e.g. “Pride Time”, etc.)

  • This is your baseline - it is not your ideal, but this allows for everyone to have a seat and a location to go to for your “flex” period. This may be what you use to just get the students and staff started in the system.

  • Use this Default Template as the base to create others for days when certain teachers do something on a different cadence.

  • We strongly recommend having at least 25% more seats than you have students (e.g. a school with 1000 students on average would want to have a total number of seats that is at least 1250 being offered across all sessions).

  • Don’t forget about your common spaces and what you want to happen there. Many schools offer larger study halls, collaborative spaces, or even “free” time for students that aren’t needed by teachers.

Pro Tips:

If you created Default Templates in years past, consider going into your system and making a copy of your Default Template from last year and renaming it “23-24 Default Template.” Then make any updates to staff, locations, and seats available. Copying it preserves your old template, but you could also make it a habit of auditing your Default Template yearly to avoid as much legwork over the summer. In either case, your default session offerings are updated for the year and will be a great base to create your other types of offerings for the new year.


3) Identify Your Start Dates with Staff and Students


Having clarity around when your staff and students will first engage with Edficiency is something to have in mind as you get things organized. In some cases, this might be the same date, but often schools have different dates so they can give their staff some exposure to the system before rolling it out to students.


Recommendations:

It is important to communicate when the “flex time” scheduling will begin with your staff and students. This will drive decisions around the common language for your “flex time,” training your staff, determining how you want to check in with your staff after you’ve started using the scheduling system, what it will look like introducing Edficiency to your students and how soon into using Edficiency will you want to allow special sessions and students requesting sessions. As with any roll out, have a plan so things can be seamless and executed for success.


Pro Tips:

If you have been using Edficiency, consider this in your reflection of your “flex time.” I know not everyone uses the scheduling system exactly the same, so take a bit to reflect on things that may need to happen before you launch for your school year. This could also be a great time to reach out to Edficiency to discuss what went well and what you might consider changing, as Edficiency staff see many models and have a lot of ideas of what they’ve seen work well (and sometimes not-so-well). This is also a great time to identify when (and how) you might train any new staff on using Edficiency and the importance of flex time.



4) Create a Rollout Plan for Your Staff


As with anything new in your building, it is important to have a vision of what your “flex” time will look like and the purpose it will serve for your students and staff. Having a clear plan that articulates the non-negotiables/expectations for how the “flex time" will look in the building is important and should be communicated with all of your current stakeholders, and then how to keep the message consistent for those that may not be starting the year with you.


Recommendations:

  • How are you setting norms & expectations with your teachers?

    • Is there a common understanding and language among staff what “flex time” is and what it means for teachers and staff?

    • What is the vision and purpose for your flex time?

    • What types of offerings are you encouraging and allowing staff to offer? (e.g. interventions, enrichment, study halls, club meetings, make-up work, SEL lessons, etc.)

    • What types of offerings should be prioritized over others and how do those connect to the request priorities available in Edficiency?

  • How are you training your teachers?

    • Video tutorials on the Edficiency site are a great option and available for your use without having to reinvent the wheel. The point I would consider is will you view the videos together, so follow-up discussion and common understandings can be shared; OR will you ask teachers to view the videos independently, and if so, do you have a way for questions to be shared or to check in and make sure everyone is on the same page?

    • Which videos do you want viewed on the front end of your implementation? Some common choices are the “Request A Student,” the “Add a Session”,” or the “Managing Groups” videos as some good places to start depending on what you care most about teachers mastering first.

    • How do you want teachers to address their questions that come up? Who is the primary point of contact they should reach out to? (having a single person helps to know when they might want to reach out to Edficiency support)

    • How will new staff receive a similar message when they are onboarded in the future?


Pro Tips:

My friends that have rolled out Edfiency before, I encourage you to take some time and reflect on your “flex” time vision. Is your vision as it was initially? If so, has that been carried through consistently? And, are all stakeholders clear on that vision? Things that may make sense for you to consider, could include:

  • How consistent has training been for those new to your building since the initial implementation?

  • Have expectations and/or non-negotiables for your “flex time" been upheld?

    • Do adjustments need to be made? (More special sessions? More enrichment? More intervention? Stay the course?)




5) Create a Rollout Plan for Your Students


This is so important. Setting the tone for how the “flex time” in your building will sound and look is pivotal to its success.


Recommendations:

Much like your roll out with staff, consider how your “flex time” and scheduling will be communicated with your students. What consistent language and expectations will be communicated and how will that information be conveyed? Will it happen in large groups or smaller groups with individual teachers (like in homeroom)? How will you teach the students about the scheduling system? Are there any school specific items that need to be shared that are not addressed in the Edficiency student tutorial video? Will there be a pre-planned lesson so that the same message is heard by all stakeholders? These are only ideas, but no matter how you roll it out, be sure that all students have the same understanding behind the expectations and purpose behind your “flex time.” This will help them feed off of your excitement and that of your staff as they can advocate for their learning even more.

Pro Tips:

Every year a new grade level or new students will walk into your learning community. Be sure your plan for new underclassmen and/or transfer students is consistent and available. You could have a staff member offer a session or two during your “flex time” for transfer students or potentially have your counselor or HR teacher explain this to new students on their first day. And make sure your staff for incoming underclassmen have all been trained and share the same message.


 

I hope these tips have been a helpful guide as you continue on the runway to an exciting time for your learning community. As questions arise, please remember your Edficiency team is here to help! Please don’t hesitate to reach out to your school’s dedicated Edficiency support specialist via phone, email, or video call. Or you can always reach us at support@edficiency.com.


Happy Teaching!



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