Managing a school isn’t an easy job. Whether you’re running a public or private school or an in-person or virtual school, there’s a lot that goes into keeping students, teachers, administrators, and parents all on the same page.
Thankfully, there are some pretty powerful school management software tools out there to help you keep it all together. These systems are designed to help you juggle all the necessary elements of running a successful school, from administrative tasks to teaching methods to student and parent involvement. Best of all, most of these software programs work for a physical school, a virtual school, or a hybrid of both.
In this review, I’ve sifted through the dozens of options on the market to bring you the top 5 school management software tools available now (click here to learn about our entire Editorial Process & Methodology for product reviews).
Zoho Creator's School Management System is a comprehensive solution designed to streamline and integrate various school management processes. This software offers a unified platform to manage student, teacher, and parent details, academic planning, and communication. With features like customizable dashboards, email/SMS notifications, and mobile accessibility, students, teachers, and parents are always in sync.
This comprehensive app, offered by tech company Zoho, is an excellent all-around option to meet just about any school’s needs. The School Management app is simple, streamlined, and highly customizable.
A template from the powerful Zoho Creator, the School Management app is a great fit for both digital and in-person education settings. It includes a number of helpful features to make your experience more positive, whether you’re an administrator, teacher, student, or parent.
- Internet-based and regularly updated, so it runs seamlessly from your browser.
- Available for mobile use for added convenience.
- Excellent organizational options for administrators, including:
- Academic calendars and planners
- Grade level timetables
- Access to faculty and student details in one integrated platform.
- Consolidated teacher portals that allows educators to:
- Assign work
- Post grades and generate reports
- Take attendance
- Plan lessons, field trips, and extracurriculars
- Stay in touch with students and parents.
- User-friendly interface that lets students and parents:
- Access announcements, grades, and progress reports
- Complete and turn in assignments
- Participate in teacher evaluations
- Stay in touch with teachers and administrators.
- One of the most economical competitive software tools available (see Pricing section below).
- Because Zoho Creator’s School Management app is internet-based, some features might be limited when using the software offline.
- If your area has consistently patchy network access, some students or faculty members may have difficulty using the app.
Zoho Creator offers potential users a 14-day free trial, so you can see if the software meets your school’s needs.
Beyond that, Zoho offers three affordable subscription options:
- Standard membership, at $8/month
- Professional subscription, at $20/month
- Enterprise subscription, at $25/month
It’s worth noting that your subscription will also provide you with access to additional apps from the Zoho suite, making it a worthwhile investment for school management and beyond.
Another good option for keeping your school organized is Gradelink, a school management software that’s been around since 2001.
Gradelink is straightforward to use and includes many convenient features, making it our runner-up to Zoho Creator for best overall.
- Internet-based, so the software runs smoothly from your browser.
- Integrated platform for teachers that includes lesson plans, schedules, and gradebooks in one easy-to-use location.
- Compatible with Google Classroom, for a built-in classroom structure.
- Includes opportunities for personalized school-based training and troubleshooting at no additional cost.
- Like Zoho Creator, Gradelink is internet-based, so a poor connection might limit access to some features.
- Many users have also reported trouble with Gradelink’s grade calculations, noting occasional glitches that result in incorrect percentages.
- Gradelink is a pricier investment, making it infeasible for schools with a tight budget.
Gradelink offers users a free trial, so you can take it for a test drive before taking the plunge.
Following that, this software starts at $109/month, with the cost increasing depending on the number of students your school serves.
This learning management software earns our top spot for schools that are completely virtual, as it is mostly geared toward making online interactions run smoothly.
- Cashless pay options make for hassle-free transactions for paid coaches and tutors.
- Paperless admission allows parents or students to easily register for courses.
- Integrated platform for quick access to courses, grades, schedules, and other important details.
- Data analysis options available for administrators and instructors to monitor student progress.
- Parents can register multiple students under one streamlined account.
- MyClassCampus is a great fit for virtual schools that offer paid courses, but may not be well-tailored to a more traditional school structure.
- Some features of MyClassCampus are not compatible with a physical or hybrid school structure, as it is more aligned with virtual instruction.
- MyClassCampus is a bit more complicated to use and requires a longer learning curve than its more intuitive competitors.
MyClassCampus offers a number of customizable plans, including a Basic and Advanced subscription and add-ons for features like a website builder, attendance tracker, and GPS Integration.
Pricing is based on your school’s specific needs, though the most basic option starts at $29/month.
- Comprehensive features cover everything from enrollment to attendance to behavior support.
- Integrated learning hub helps administrators, teachers, and students stay on track with assignments, grades, report cards, and announcements.
- Includes options for managing new hires, including applicant tracking, employee records, and candidate assessment to help you find the right person for the job.
- Includes an option for a data as a service (DaaS) platform for K-12 students, providing key analytics for stakeholders.
- Strong focus on digital security and authentication.
- The complexity of PowerSchool might require more training for staff to use with confidence.
- Some applications in PowerSchool require several steps to navigate, which can be time-consuming for younger students.
- Due to its focus on security, PowerSchool frequently logs users out and expires sessions, which can be inconvenient.
PowerSchool does not offer a free trial, but interested customers can request a demo to see the software in action before purchasing.
The price varies based on your school’s size and needs, but the average cost for a basic school management plan is about $30/month.
Alma is a school management software that keeps things simple by offering straightforward, useful applications perfect for smaller schools.
- At-a-glance graphics illustrate daily tasks like attendance, behavior incidents, and student population data to administrators.
- Cloud-based software runs smoothly from your browser.
- Integrated gradebook and student portal to help teachers, students, and families communicate easily.
- Google Classroom compatibility for added convenience.
- Potential add-ons for everything from Cafeteria Management to Financial Management.
- Alma may not be well-suited to large virtual academies, as most of its features are focused more on smaller K-12 school setups.
- Some users have reported glitches in the mobile app, which can be problematic for families trying to access student reports and data from their phones.
Alma’s school management software is priced by the vendor based on your unique needs, so potential customers need to contact the company to get a quote.
Plans are offered under Alma Foundations, Alma Core, and Alma Essentials, based on the type of learning support you need. The price then depends on the number of features and systems you’d like to include.
When you’re running a school, keeping things organized is a must.
School management software is essential for making your school a success, whether you work in a traditional K-12 setting or a virtual academy with pupils from all over the world.
These systems help you keep track of all the moving parts, from student attendance and progress, to staff engagement and hiring, to class scheduling, event planning, and parental involvement.
No matter your budget, school size, course offerings, or student population, there’s a school management software tool to fit your needs.
Whether you prefer an economical, all-around choice like Zoho Creator’s School Management app, or a different option, these tools are well worth pursuing.
After all, when all of the organizational factors are taken care of, we can focus on what really matters: helping educators teach effectively so that students can learn.
Do you have experience running a virtual or physical school? Have any tips to share with us on school management software? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!