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Textbook Managers in Use in School

Schools have always battles with the large cost of textbooks and since they need new information and updates constantly, schools have always struggled with the cost of them. Educational technology has come a long way and it always has had a preconception that it costs a lot of money to equip schools with the right educational technology. As an initial investment educational technology carried a big price tag, but in the long run it will save schools a lot of money. At the Escambia County School District in Pensacola, Florida they have found that new software called, Destiny Textbook Manager has seen a lot of savings and reduced textbook losses by having this program incorporated into their schools.

The Destiny Textbook Manager is new software that is a centralized, browser-based system that manages all of the educational textbooks in one web-based system. This not only saves the schools a tremendous amount of money, but it saves the taxpayers a lot of money, which helps everyone. What’s great about this new software is that it manages the textbooks schools order and have everything organized into one system. This takes the risk out of spending a lot of money on textbooks and the school taking hits financially. Not only is this great because there of the organization and peace of mind it gives schools but the wear and tear factor is managed flawlessly. If the students write in the textbooks, highlight them, rip pages out, spill things on them or damage them in any sort of way they have the Destiny Textbook Manger create an accurate assessment for the damages so that the schools don’t lose out financially.

Since the product came out almost five years ago, the Destiny Textbook Manager has saved districts at least $500,000 per district. This is huge saving and schools realize that the initial investment in the product was well worth it. A couple of ways that this new software saves money for schools is it eliminated over-ordering and stockpiling of books. Schools have a problem that they over order textbooks that never get used and then become out of date, but with this new system, schools only order the amount of books they actually need per student. They are also able to effectively monitor and track textbook transfers across different school locations. Instead of shipping books to other schools, schools can use the textbook manager to avoid any confusion and create flawless transfers of textbooks. The program also ensures that students have the right textbooks for their classes. The school officials can type in the class name and the program compiles a list of the correct and up to date materials the students needs for that class. A news law in Florida has also prevented students or their parents to become lazy in protecting their textbooks. Because students or their parents don’t pay for textbooks, sometimes the responsibility for the items falls short, but with this new law, if a student loses or gets their textbooks stolen, they and their parents are responsible for 100% of the cost of the textbook instead of just 50%. Educational technology is amazing and not only does it help save schools and taxpayers money in the long run, but it helps schools run smoothly.

Kicked Out of School and I’m Only 7! Jimmy’s Story 1

Welcome to Jimmy’s world.

Jimmy isn’t his real name but let’s rename him to tell his story. He is 7 years old and his history at school was awful — catastrophic wouldn’t be too strong a description! Jimmy’s catalogue of behaviours sent the adults in charge of him running for the hills — violence, aggression, non-compliance, social ignorance, manipulation and disruption! All this before he left infant school. Finally he was permanently excluded from infant school as he was considered unmanageable. This presented a problem for the local authority — what to do with him to enable his education to be maintained. Our Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) doesn’t cater for KS1 pupils, although I have successfully worked with this younger age group (Year 2) in my PRU classes. They fitted in very well, and the older junior children were extremely considerate and kind to them — very protective. It was humbling to see such vulnerable children understanding so clearly the needs of children so much younger than themselves.

Anyway, those in charge deemed it inappropriate for Jimmy and his age group to attend the PRU. Maybe this situation will change as schools are increasingly being presented with unacceptable behaviour from very young children such as Jimmy and they feel ill equipped to manage. They are asking for help from us but we are, at present, unable to offer the provision. It is extremely frustrating for the schools and ourselves. Without assistance the child’s behaviour will inevitably become more difficult to manage. Research shows that the earlier problem behaviour is addressed, the more successful the outcome. And surely there can’t be an excuse for ‘writing off’ children at such an early age (or at any age for that matter!). This problem of children behaving badly at an early age also indicates the need for a greater degree of training for school personnel in dealing effectively with behaviour in order to prevent such unacceptable escalations.

Hm, off your soapbox Liz and back to Jimmy!

So, what was decided to continue Jimmy’s education? Well, the problem remained. People were required to teach Jimmy who were able to manage his behaviour effectively. But, there aren’t people available with the necessary expertise to manage such children. Many (in fact most) people have the best intentions, and honestly believe they can manage children’s behaviour, but without training and experience the result can be more harm than good being achieved. Children are very astute little beings. They very quickly evaluate a situation and establish whether an adult’s authority has to be respected or not. If they decide they don’t have to respect the adult, then sure as night follows day they will give the adult the run around and chaos will reign. It’s a lose/lose situation.

A bit of a panic resulted because Jimmy had to be educated and I was asked if I knew of anyone who was available to work with him. No, of course I didn’t know of anyone — such people aren’t available because the vital need for training in effective behaviour management isn’t deemed to be a priority. Two people were employed to work with Jimmy and they were to be allocated a room at a local family centre where classes would be run. Yes, two people to manage one little boy! Astounding… I met and advised one of the ladies and she was a lovely person. She had the best intentions — she dearly wanted to succeed with Jimmy. But, unfortunately, being a lovely person doesn’t necessarily equip you for dealing with a little body determined to have his own way. Without the necessary experience and training why should anyone be able to manage the extreme behaviour Jimmy was likely to display? The bonus of being trained in effective behaviour management techniques is that generally you don’t have to deal with major difficulties because the skill is in prevention and not allowing behaviour becoming a problem in the first place. You know you can head off the unacceptable before it happens — you learn to ‘act on an intention’. The techniques are so effective and your life with the children in the classroom becomes far more enjoyable and stress is reduced enormously.

Unfortunately, unless effective strategies were employed, this well intentioned intervention to continue Jimmy’s education was merely going to be a holding exercise and was doomed to failure. Jimmy was quickly going to realise the adults lacked confidence and knowledge and his reign of disruption and aggression was bound to continue. Think about it — his well tried methods had worked up to now so why not continue with them? He’d be rather foolish to change his ways now, wouldn’t he? He was getting exactly what he wanted by behaving in this way. As adults we know that such behaviour isn’t good for a child, but a child only sees the short term, the moment, the instant. They haven’t the emotional maturity to realise the long term emotional damage being inflicted.

One of the drawbacks these two workers faced was the advice given by other professionals involved with Jimmy. As with all children displaying extreme behaviour, a risk assessment was written. I was privy to this document as it was always intended that Jimmy should come to the PRU at the start of Year 3. What was written, although again with the best of intentions, wasn’t going to help Jimmy or those working with him. The document was written by those without the necessary skills or experience in managing difficult and severely challenging behaviour. The wrong advice and the employment of ineffective strategies simply leads to a worsening of the behaviour. In short, the document advised that those working with Jimmy should minimise any trouble by allowing Jimmy to be in control of the environment. This could only lead to one outcome — disaster.

Jimmy’s helpers were in an impossible position. Instinctively, they knew that this official advice was wrong. A perfect example of Milgram’s theory of intelligent people following without question the advice of those in authority as outlined in Behaviour Bible. It was completely opposite to the advice I was offering — but at that time I was only on the periphery of the case. Jimmy hadn’t been assigned to me so my input and influence was minimal.

So what happened?

Disaster! Jimmy ruled the place. He was completely out of control and undisciplined. He was aggressive to the workers — physical and verbal attacks became common place. The adults were genuinely fond of Jimmy, who could be charming, well mannered and obliging. But when he wanted something his own way he would move heaven and earth to make sure things happened as he wanted. He would keep the pressure on the adults until they capitulated. This arrangement only continued for a short time and on a number of occasions the workers were ready to quit. They were out of their depth and I felt so sorry that they were having such a hard time and felt unsupported. In the short term these people were put under extreme stress and felt uncomfortable with the situation. In the longer term, both had their confidence in working with children severely damaged. Both are in the early stages of their careers and they will need a great deal of support to overcome this negative experience.

Unfortunately, this scenario is becoming increasingly common in mainstream schools. A child demonstrates increasingly problematic behaviour, the behaviour isn’t managed effectively and becomes worse. This is followed by the school asking for support and resources (money), they jump through many hoops over many months, time is lost, money is received, a worker who hasn’t the necessary skills is assigned to the child. The behaviour spirals out of control and the problems are now perceived to be insurmountable. And, invariably it is decided that there is something wrong with the child. Well there must be, mustn’t there because the school has done everything they know of to remedy the situation and nothing has improved? But unfortunately what has been done hasn’t been effective because the adults involved haven’t the knowledge of how to remedy the situation successfully.

More and more professionals become involved — psychologists, psychiatrists, Uncle Tom Cobley and all! More and more such children end up being prescribed medication — the chemical cosh. But, so often I have had children referred to me who are prescribed enormous daily amounts of Ritalin or its equivalent and still the terrible behaviour continues. But, rather than facing the fact that the adults are managing the child ineffectively, the medication is increased. What a terrible state of affairs. More frequently, rather that the problem being remedied the child is excluded from school. Nothing has been changed or improved, the child is labelled as uncontrollable and the future looks bleak as the child is discarded from the school environment.

In Jimmy’s case the 2 workers finally gave up and gave notice to quit. They just couldn’t cope any longer. I sympathised with them — nobody goes to work to be abused and attacked, it’s not a reasonable expectation. The only fortunate aspect of this dire situation was that all this happened in the final part of the summer term and Jimmy was out of educational provision for only a short time.

It was at this point that I became officially involved in Jimmy’s education and I was invited to a multi agency meeting where his future provision was to be discussed. So off I went…

The meeting…

It always strikes me that these meetings are generally focused on the problems of the child — he does this, that and the other (nothing positive usually). The question is never asked, ‘What are we doing wrong in the management of this child?’ True to form, the discussion at the meeting related to Jimmy’s problems — ok, there were plenty of them, but my theory is that apart from very rare circumstances where there is something genuinely wrong with the child (something medical or a mental health problem) the solution to severe behaviour problems is the management of the child by the adults responsible for the child’s care. In Jimmy’s case it became apparent that no-one had ever managed his behaviour effectively and achieved any improvement.

As Jimmy had been permanently excluded from his infant school, a new school had to be identified. The meeting was informed that local schools had been identified and approached, and without fail they had been less than welcoming and quite negative about Jimmy’s prospects. Experience has shown that while schools wouldn’t admit the fact openly, they are extremely reluctant to accept a child like Jimmy — quite understandable really. They focus on the child’s past and assume the future will be the same. However, I have confidence in a number of schools with whom I have very positive relationships. These schools trust the work I do and know that a child with problems wouldn’t be re-integrated until I was confident that they had progressed sufficiently. The school would also have my total support. There will be advice and ongoing assistance as appropriate.

But, not all schools have this attitude — they don’t want ‘trouble’. They have their targets to consider, they have enough problems already, they don’t see why they should try and cope with a child with a history of inappropriate behaviour. I partly sympathise with them, particularly as many of them haven’t the skills or experience to deal with a child such as Jimmy. But I have never heard this as an reason for their reluctance to accept a child — it’s always the child’s problems that are cited as the reason for refusal, never the fact that they wouldn’t be up to the task.

A local authority can make a school accept a child, but this is not a satisfactory situation. Being forced to accept a child can only result in a negative attitude from the school and can lead to them putting little effort into meeting the child’s needs. I would even say that certain schools could be tempted to sabotage a child’s place at a school in order that exclusions result or a managed move to another school is the only way forward. I often feel that some schools don’t see themselves as a public service, funded by tax payers, and serving their community. But, that’s exactly what state schools are. A service to provide a statutory service to their ‘clients’ — local children and their families. Sometimes they act as though they are private fee paying establishments…

Oh heck, I’ve digressed again…

So, one of the schools suggested that could meeting Jimmy’s needs was discounted because it was a junior school. I asked what the problem was as Jimmy was entering Year 3 so would be a lower junior pupil. The reason? The junior school wouldn’t have facilities for infant play that was deemed necessary for Jimmy. Hm, I had to inform the meeting that when he came to me, Jimmy would be expected to be a regular Year 3 boy, and would only play when it was timetabled. He had to learn to adhere to the standards that would be expected of his age group in a mainstream school. Why do I think this way? I strongly believe that a child has to be treated age appropriately unless they are diagnosed with a condition that makes this inappropriate. In some cases children have missed certain stages in their development but you can’t make a 7 year old into a 3 year old. To have mixed expectations — a 7 year old in class and then when the adults deem it appropriate it’s time for infant play, suddenly the child is treated like a child years younger — carries the danger of the child becoming more confused than is necessary.

What about making allowances for a child’s underprivileged past?

No, I don’t do that either. Why? Because, although I have knowledge of the child’s past and understand the impact this will have had on the child, I know that if I make allowances and reduce my level of expectation, I am encouraging the child to remain a victim of their past. I have to take the child beyond that time and encourage them to understand that they can grow in confidence and achieve well in school and socially. A child can’t be taken into a successful future if we dwell in the past. Of course the past is still there and can’t be eradicated, but the impact can be lessened.

So, it was decided that a particular school be contacted and a visit arranged in order that those responsible for Jimmy could ‘get a feel’ of the selected school. I knew that they would be made welcome and the visit would be a very positive experience.

Business Management Software – How Do They Help Business Managers?

There are Enterprise Resource Planning systems that help manage huge global corporations and small business management software that are easier to deploy and use.

Small business management software can be a suite of programs for office work or specialized packages such as accounting, inventory management, fleet management or point of sale software. There are also industry specific business applications such as school management and retail management software.

How do Business Software Help Businesses?

Speeding up business processes is one major way that software helps businesses. For example, word processing has transformed the speed of creating, editing, storing and retrieving business documents. Just think of the typewriter days when any significant revisions would have involved retyping the whole document, and of the cumbersome practice of using carbon paper to create multiple copies of a document (some of which might never be used, resulting in wastage of paper).

With a typical office suite these days, you can do several things. You can create documents on demand, do elaborate computations, develop fantastic sales presentations and manage large databases storing information about customers, orders, sales and other business transactions.

Functional applications extended the advantages of using a computer to cover more business processes. Business accounting software, for example, not only speeds up the accounting process but also improves the quality of accounting, budgeting and reporting. It was now possible to generate elaborate analytical reports that would have simply been impracticable to compile using handwritten processes.

All the major key result areas benefited from the use of specialized management software. Inventory management software helped keep track of stock levels of all inventory items and monitoring them against minimum, maximum and re-order levels, for example. Manufacturing software enabled managers to have a clear picture of the up-to-date status of operations on the factory shop floor at all times. Scheduling software enabled them to develop shift working schedules based on complex criteria in a manner that did not overburden any worker.

While project management software helped project managers execute projects within allowed times and costs, asset management software helped protect physical assets of the business. Compliance with complex government regulations was another area where business software helped.

Web Applications add a new Dimension

Web applications such as e-mail and instant messaging transformed the communication scenario. Web sites and e-commerce enabled even small businesses with limited resources to trade globally. Internet telephony reduced the costs of long-distance calling to almost local calling levels.

And now cloud computing is making the large outlays involved in hardware and software purchases unnecessary. Instead, businesses can work with applications on the Web, paying only for what they use, and even store their data on Web servers. In addition to lowering costs, cloud computing also made it possible to access data from anywhere in the world.

Smaller pieces of software such as those that improved the ease and effectiveness of time management and calendaring helped individual workers to achieve.higher levels of productivity. Business contact management software can boost sales and customer satisfaction as maintaining customer contacts becomes a much more fail-proof affair.

Business management software and the Internet have completely transformed the way businesses are managed. They have sped up, enhanced the quality and extended the reach of business operations.