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Holmes School Case

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Holmes School Case

 Holmes School

Holmes School is a small private school that has retained your services as a systems analyst to assist in the development of a new information system for the school’s administrative needs.

Background

Holmes School is a small, private school in the Midwest United States. For the past 20 years, it has offered a curriculum for preschool through 6th grade. Five years ago it expanded to offer after-school care, usually referred to as after care, on premises. After care is not only offered to Holmes’s students, but also for students of other schools in the area.

As an independent systems analyst, you work as an IT consultant, specializing in developing IT solutions for small businesses. You have been contacted by the director, Victoria Owens, to discuss the possibility of setting up a computer system to handle some of the school’s administrative and financial tasks. She explains to you that Holmes is experiencing significant increases in enrollment applications for all programs. Increases in applications, coupled with increased demand for after-school care, have led to a very high workload for the administrative personnel and staff. The principal and teachers have stepped in where possible, but the demand is becoming too great. Holmes School is a non-profit, and is not in a position to hire another full-time administrative position, which is what the principal and director think would be needed to handle the increased workload. You agree to meet with Victoria and the principal, Kathy Gilliard next week to discuss the school and its need for an information system. 

You sit down with Victoria and Kathy on Wednesday to ask them some questions to help you determine what type of information system they need. You explain to them that information systems bring computer hardware and software together with people, processes, and data to produce specific results. They are excited to tell you about their situation and what they have in mind for a computer system to help with some of the work load. To help you with planning for the information system, you ask them about what personnel they have, as well as some questions to determine what types of information each person needs to do their job.

Victoria explains her role as the executive director of the school. She administers the activities of the school in accordance with the mission, vision, and policies established by the Board of Directors. She supports the educational staff and oversees the financial, payroll, and human resources functions for the school. She also prepares all necessary reports and evaluations for the state and local school boards. Kathy says that as the principal of Holmes she handles the academic and curricular issues that arise, and ensures that the school meets all federal and state educational standards. Kathy and the teachers who report to her make decisions jointly about admissions and assignments to classrooms. The two kitchen staff personnel, a head cook and an assistant, also report to the principal. She also coordinates students’ bus transportation schedule.

 The school contracts with a local bussing company to provide transportation for some

students in the area. Some after care students are dropped off by the local public school

district’s busses, and she coordinates with the district’s transportation department.

Kathy also substitutes in any of the school classrooms when a teacher is out.

Susan Brown is the vice principal. She is responsible for the after-care program. While students must be pre-registered for after-care required on a daily basis, the school does offer “drop-in” care on an “as space allows” basis. Susan handles all requests for drop-in care in consultation with the after-care teachers. She also maintains the school calendar, prepares handouts and reminders for parents, keeps track of special dietary needs of the students, and administers the “camps” that run during the two weeks that the school is not in session during the spring, and the summer programs that run through July and August.

Michelle Madrid is the administrative assistant. She sends out monthly bills for tuition and after-care, records payments, and handles bank deposits. She has traditionally handled or been responsible for all administrative tasks related to tuition and after-care fees. She maintains all student records, and ensures that contact and pick-up lists for all classrooms and after-care programs are up-to-date. Currently, Michelle handles all her responsibilities using Microsoft Word and Excel. She is comfortable with the applications, but finds that maintaining records and producing reports, payroll, etc. results in a lot of duplication of effort, as she has to copy a lot of information from one worksheet or document to another.

There are eleven full-time teachers at Holmes, three for the pre-school program, two for the kindergarten program, and one for each grades 1-6. There are five teacher’s aides, for the pre-school-kindergarten and the grades 1–3 programs. Teacher’s aides report to their respective teachers. Each teacher is responsible for keeping attendance records and recording them in the student files.

There are six part-time after-care teachers, three for the pre-school/kindergarten group, and three for the primary grades. After-care teachers report to Susan Brown. Each after-care teacher has part-time assistants assigned to the program. Assistants report to the after-care teacher. The number of students pre-registered in the after-care program determines the number of assistants. The after-care teachers are responsible for keeping time sheets for their part-time assistants and submitting them every two weeks to Susan Brown. In addition, the after-care teachers are responsible for submitting weekly summary sheets to Susan Brown detailing any hours above those pre-registered for that students spent in the after-care program, so that parents are billed for the additional time. Like many other non-profit schools, Holmes relies on volunteer time from parents to accomplish many of the tasks essential to the running of the school. A financial committee examines monthly financial reports, a fund-raising committee evaluates possible fund-raising projects and handles approved fund-raising. In addition, individual parents step in as

needed to do routine office tasks, such as copying and distributing handouts, to free up Michelle Madrid for other tasks. Parents also fill in as assistants in the after-care programs when needed, and qualified parents step into the classroom as teachers’ aides whenever possible to reduce the reliance on substitute teachers.

You explain to Victoria and Kathy that this meeting has given you enough background information to get started and you will prepare some material for the next meeting.



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