Without question, the expectation of the best education possible is the chief tenet for why parents send their children to the schools they do. Parents also love the idea of a well-rounded experience. Textbooks and tests are only one component of the total experience. Extra-curricular are also a vital part of school life and can help children gain valuable life skills that help them prepare for the next stages of their lives.
There are many benefits that are attached to extracurricular activities:
- They help students learn and develop alternate skills in school (g. painting through art club). It is believed that spending more time on refining these skills can positively impact academic performance.
- They allow students to strengthen a proficiency in a task that may not be part of the general curriculum (g., chess club, gymnastics). Students may be passionate about these programs, but are unable to explore their talents if there are limited extracurricular programs in place.
- They show a well-rounded education on resumes and post-secondary school applications. Corporations and institutions of higher learning both recognize the value of extracurricular and often look more kindly on those candidates who have extracurricular experience.
- They help students become more confident. As students practice and develop their skills through extra-curricular, they build their self-esteem. Students are often proud of the things they achieve in their extracurricular activities (g. public recognition).
- They help students make more friends. Extracurricular activities provide a great way for students to develop friendships with peers with similar interests.
- They provide a productive break from academics. Students often want a break after what they construe as long school days. If they go home, this break can come in the form of sitting on the couch watching TV or playing computer games for hours – not a very productive use of time. However, through extracurricular activities, students can take a break from academics while growing their skill set.
- They teach students valuable life skills such as time management. Extracurricular activities can require significant time commitments, and students must learn to juggle both this commitment as well as their academic responsibilities.
Budget Cuts Threaten Extracurricular Programs
Unfortunately, due to budget cuts, many schools have had to reduce extracurricular programs and, in some cases, cut them entirely. This can be harmful to all parties involved:
- Students miss out on all the benefits that extracurricular activities offer.
- Parents may have to leave work early or hire babysitters in the event that extracurricular activities are cut.
- Teachers may face complaints from parents and disheartened students.
- School administrators may face lower enrollment, as parents may be less likely to send their children to schools with fewer extracurricular activity options.
- Board members may get criticized for ineffectively managing funds, if they can’t find money to maintain extracurricular activities.
Extracurricular activities are important to all these parties, but how can they be saved in the face of budget cuts? After all, many extracurricular activities require financial investments. The loss of extracurricular options may seem unfortunate, but can also be an unavoidable situation.
How Ricoh Can Free Up Valuable School Resources
Ricoh can help your school save extracurricular programs by optimizing existing processes and freeing up significant resources.
Our enterprise content management (ECM) system saves your school time and money:
- Digitizing existing records frees up storage space– space that costs money that you can use for other activities. Some school boards may store documents in expensive off-site storage areas; the cost savings from eliminating this recurring storage cost may be enough to save at least one or two key extracurricular activities, maybe even more.
- Store records in intuitive file structures, so employees can retrieve them through simple keyword entry. This means that instead of hours of valuable time being spent on search and retrieval, it can be done in seconds.
- Digitized records are stored in a secure electronic repository or in the Cloud, with minimal risk of them being damaged or lost. School boards can reallocate budget line items for retrieval, insurance, and so on to extracurricular line items. In paper-based systems, file loss or damage can lead to expensive searches and headaches for the students, parents, and employees involved – headaches we eliminate.
- Future records will only be stored digitally, leading to significant reductions in printer, ink and paper costs as well as the many other hidden costs of paper records. Through our ECM system, records can also be shared digitally. This means that when students shift to other schools, their academic information can simply be shared through a single email instead of a big file folder.
- Create automated business processes to optimize existing workflows and reduce delays. Instead of employees having to manually search for and contact people, notifications are automatically generated.
- School administrators often fill out paper forms requiring repetitive data entry. Through our integrative solutions, electronic forms can be generated in which fields are pre-populated when some initial data is entered (g., if a user enters a student’s name, the address, grade, and teacher information can be populated automatically). These time savings mean that employees can complete more projects to increase bottom line.
Extracurricular activities are important to students, parents, and teachers. Call a Ricoh representative today to ensure your school can continue to offer valuable extra-curricular activities!
Talk to a Ricoh representative about how your school can bring back extra-curricular activities! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.