June 9, 2022

Technology is the Answer for Greener K-12 Schools

In a recent NPR article, Vice President Kamala Harris announced a federally-funded grant program to reduce unhealthy emissions and energy use at public K-12 schools. Most of the program’s initiatives target expensive, long-term solutions for making schools greener, like electric bus fleets and energy-efficient infrastructure improvements. But if you are a school administrator or business manager, what can you do today to improve your school’s sustainability and, perhaps, receive national recognition as a Green Ribbon School? Look to technology solutions that can immediately lessen paper waste and provide a long list of other benefits.

3 Key Areas for Reducing Paper Usage

Paper usage at schools is heaviest in three primary areas: in the classroom, at student homes, and in administrative offices. The most obvious paper use is in the classroom. Even though students must use some paper, teachers can implement paperless apps like Google Classroom for communication, grading, and assignments. BookWidgets creatively transforms teacher-designed worksheets into quizzes and study tools in fun ways that enhance student learning.

Paper makes its way into student homes, too, often as a school newsletter or flyer, but simple programs like Peachjar and Smore easily build nice-looking newsletters to email to parents. Unlike paper versions, electronic newsletters reduce cost and have the added benefit of keeping email lists more accurate over time.

Administrative operations include everything from maintenance needs to scheduling substitute teachers to managing employee pay–and all are areas of opportunity for digital transformation. Many school districts are still using paper time cards and manual processes for tracking employee time. It’s unnecessary paper usage, and when it comes to calculating hours and overtime rates, ripe for errors. In addition, less scrupulous employees can easily submit exaggerated hours on handwritten timecards. One of the best ways to reduce paperwork and introduce a host of time- and money-saving processes is implementing automated time-tracking software. Time-tracking software is greener, and it also saves time and money while significantly decreasing payroll errors.

Automated Time-Tracking for Greener Schools

Paper-free, time-tracking software delivers immediate benefits to schools. When a valuable employee is burdened with “stacks of stacks of paper” before each payroll period, it is time to make improvements. For example, TCP’s TimeClock Plus software eliminated unnecessary paper Toledo Public Schools, and the district saw an 86% reduction in payroll and timekeeping efforts while achieving a 99% improvement in payroll accuracy. And the benefits don’t stop there. Technological improvements in time-tracking streamline administrative operations and green initiatives.

  • Improved Accuracy. Even the best employee makes errors. With an automated system, payroll administrators can focus on compliance with wage and labor demands rather than complex calculations.
  • Compliance Covered. Time-tracking software integrates payroll, tax reporting, legal limitations, and school demands. Breaks and leaves are recorded and tracked to ensure legal compliance with employee-focused scheduling laws.
  • Reduce Paper Usage. Schools that use time-tracking technology to reduce paperwork develop greener processes. Automated time tracking allows you to completely rid departments of paper time cards and error-prone manual processes.
  • Smarter Connections. Workforce management should be well-integrated with employee technology. Employee scheduling software offers immediate remote contact with employees for schedule changes and requests. Employees and substitutes can accept assignments wherever they are. No more waiting for phone calls or scheduling duplicate shifts.

Making schools greener is a priority for the Department of Education to meet national energy reduction standards, but the benefits extend past Green Ribbon School honors. Educators and administrators also seek improved health and sustainability education for students. National programs are important, but local superintendents and school districts can strive to reduce paper use immediately in three key areas of their schools.

Our TimeClock Plus software is simple for employees and more accurate for administrators. The automated time-tracking makes life easier for K-12 districts and helps make them sustainable, greener schools.