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This might be a touch off topic, but not sure where else to post it.

 

Does anyone here have experience with school management software, like Zen Planner or MindBody, from an owner perspective?  I'm looking to improve our student tracking beyond my very basic spreadsheets.

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This might be a touch off topic, but not sure where else to post it.
 
Does anyone here have experience with school management software, like Zen Planner or MindBody, from an owner perspective?  I'm looking to improve our student tracking beyond my very basic spreadsheets.

No sorry, I’m replying to follow. I’d like to know more about this.

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I don't have any experience with that specific software, but I do have some experience in database management. If you don't mind saying what about your students it is that you're trying to track, I might be able to offer some advice.

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Currently I track when people owe, and how much.  But I'd like to start tracking frequency of visits, current rank, if they have referred another student, and how many new students i've gotten in the month.  I get by with my spreadsheets, just trying to make it a little more available for my other instructors.   Right now I understand my sheets.... noone else does, lol.

 

Any help or advice is appreciated :)

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Sorry for the delayed response. I've been MIA for a while. I should have also asked how good you are with computers or how much you're willing to learn. Also, are your spreadsheets in MS Excel or OpenOffice / LibreOffice or...whatever it is Mac users have?

 

Again, I don't know anything about ZenPlanner or MindBody. If you have 1) the time and 2) the inclination you can build your own database. For your purposes either MS Access or LibreBase (open-source) should do.* Databases are essentially tables of information cross-linked in very specific ways and then given a pretty front-end to make them less scary to whomever didn't program them. For example, some years ago, I had a spreadsheet tracking absences for a particular section of the company for which I worked. (The HR department was spectacularly unhelpful and the company had some Byzantine rules about various types of abscences.) No one else could understand my sheet, so I put it into MS Access and gave it a pretty front end. It tracked who was on vacation, when, how many vacation days they had left, days until people returned, what kind of time they were taking and how much (unpaid overtime vs vacation days vs sick days vs flex-time, etc). Same data, just in a different format.

 

Off the top of my head, you'd set up a table of students with the basic information such a name, student ID #, rank, any biographical data you collect, the method of reference, and the date they joined. Then you'd set up another table for payments and link payments to the student ID. You'd probably set up another table for attendance. Then you write queries (both MS Access and LibreBase have tools to help you do this) that answer specific questions. For example, you can track overdue payments with a query that searches for who gave payment in a particular month. You can query all the "join dates" in a given month to see how many new students you have.

 

The trick of course is to keep the database current. Garbage in, garbage out.

 

DISCLAIMER: I am not a database management expert. This does not constitute professional advice. NomadJay assumes no liability for any technical difficulties or inconveniences that may occur, including loss of data, late nights spent Googling the answer to your technical questions and finding single-thread posts from 2003, accidentally summoning something from the Unholy Void via fractal math and subsequent forced servitude to the British government, encounters with Mrs. Evadne Cake, or becoming one of those weird Linux guys you've heard stories about.

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