The Easy Way to Improve Your School’s Field Trip Request Process

The school field trip offers both teachers and students a break from the ordinary and a different environment in which to learn. That said, planning and executing a field trip can require a lot of work. Teachers must coordinate with destinations, ensure adequate facilities are available and secure permission from children’s parents while making sure all adults understand what to do in the event of an emergency and keeping count of everyone.

Field trip requests done on paper can be slow, and the manual processes surrounding paper field trip requests are prone to mistakes and inadvertently omitted steps. Not every step in the field trip process can be automated, but many can, and it doesn’t require hiring a programmer for your school district. Here’s why you should consider automating field trip requests with workflow software.

Creating a Field Trip Workflow Prevents Mistakes
Planning even the simplest field trip involves many steps. Dates must be set, coordination with personnel at the destination must take place, students must bring in proof of permission, and teachers whose students will miss class due to a field trip have to be notified and alternate arrangements made for students to complete assignments. Students who do not go on field trips may need to be placed in another class for the day. When all this is done on paper, the probability of mistakes is high. When field trip requests are managed through workflow software, however, no steps are omitted, and missing information or errors can be flagged automatically for correction.

Relevant Personnel Can Be Involved Automatically
Field trips don’t only involve the school personnel who are going on the field trip. In some districts, field trip requests must include notification of the school nurse so that any relevant emergency or health information about participating students can be supplied. When field trip requests are done on paper, it can be easy for this vital step to slip through the cracks, potentially causing last-minute problems. But when field trip requests are processed with workflow software, the procedure can be designed so that it cannot go forward until all prerequisite steps have been taken. Workflow software can also notify affected personnel that a field trip is coming up, and their input, approval, or information will be required.

Some School Field Trips May Involve Several Interlocking Processes
All-day field trips have to include things other than just arrangements with transportation and the people at the other end. Teachers may need to plan on sack lunches or stopping somewhere for meals, and bathroom breaks must be scheduled when the field trip destination is far away.
With workflow software orchestrating field trip requests, teachers can input relevant information, like the length of the trip upfront. Then, this information can be used to trigger sub-processes. For example, if an overnight field trip is planned, sub-processes for assigning parent chaperones and booking lodging can be automatically implemented.

Post-Field Trip Processes
Many schools and districts require a post-field trip report from the coordinating teacher, even if it is just to say that everything went as expected and there were no problems or emergencies. This can be worked into the field trip request process, automatically notifying the coordinating teacher that he or she needs to complete a post-field trip report. Once the last step in a field trip request process has been completed, information can be electronically archived. It may be used later, should a similar field trip be planned next year, for example.

Reducing Paper Reduces Errors and Stress
Field trips offer students a new setting in which to take in information, and they can be memorable for teachers, students, and parent chaperones. But planning field trips aren’t for the faint-hearted. Field trip requests made with workflow software like ProcessMaker are customized, electronic, and automated, relieving teachers and administrators of much of the paper burden that used to be involved with field trips.
ProcessMaker is available in the cloud, so school systems don’t have to worry about on-site servers, and it has an intuitive interface that allows non-programmers to create custom electronic forms and workflows, complete with approval steps and automatic notifications to all affected personnel. If you’d like to try it out for yourself, you can sign up for a free trial of the ProcessMaker Enterprise Edition, or download the Community Edition for free. Why make field trip requests any more complicated than they have to be?

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