With an average of 1,000 new students in each of the last five years, the Desert Sands Unified School District in California builds a new elementary school every year and a middle school every three. And it stocks them with millions of dollars in equipment and supplies: from the standards, like desks and books, to the latest in educational technology in an effort to improve the instructional experience for students.
Keeping track of inventory in a fast-growing and decentralized K-12 school district is no easy task, but the challenge of protecting and managing assets has become an important priority in districts nationwide, because they are being held to higher accountability standards both for the use of financial resources and for student outcomes.
“In any school site, we are very concerned about assets, where they are located, and how many we have,” says Dr. George Araya, director of educational technology and information systems for the 28,000-student district. “Principals need to have control of assets to ensure the money we have spent is providing better instruction for students.”
Products like Destiny Asset Manager? from Follett Software Company have helped Desert Sands improve accountability and increase asset availability through centralized educational esource management. The pilot implementation of Destiny Asset Manager has greatly reduced the amount of time and effort required to manage assets at the school in which it is being used. District-wide implementation is planned as the project progresses. The wireless scanner technology has cut the time needed to enter incoming assets by 90 percent, and the userfriendly, browser-based software provides a real time picture of the assets and where they are located.
The system can track all of a district’s fixed and portable assets, including software licenses, maintenance equipment, computer hardware and laptops, assistive technology aids, video and sound systems, digital cameras, sports and musical equipment, buses, curriculum kits and fixed assets that require maintenance.
Destiny Asset Manager provides comprehensive information about each asset, from purchase to retirement, including purchase cost, serial number, age and condition. By keeping track of the location and movement of assets, Destiny helps districts reduce lost and stolen inventory. It also makes it easy to schedule repairs to reduce the amount of time that equipment is out of service.
Having seen the gains in efficiency that Destiny Asset Manager has provided Desert Sands, Araya eagerly awaits what he expects to be the software’s most powerful benefit: data to help principals correlate the use of educational technology assets with student outcomes. Did students in a classroom that consistently used laptops in the first half of the school year perform better than students in a classroom that did not? Did teachers make good use of the projectors purchased last year? This information can help guide decisions about spending for new assets and replacing those that are idle or ineffective.
“We know assets are a very important part of instruction, but we want to be able to match information from the instructional side of the house with information about the presence of assets,” Araya says. “When we look at project funding, we are able to make decisions not just about the assets but how the assets are affecting instruction.”
As school districts increasingly focus on data to make decisions, Destiny Asset Manager is an important tool.
“We don’t just say we’re going to buy a laptop for every teacher, because if a teacher never uses it, we should buy other things,” Araya says. “We want to make important decisions based on facts, and this is one more source of data that we never considered before because we didn’t have it online and readily available.” For more information, call 800-323-3397 or visit www.fsc.follett.com.