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Q&A With a Visual Systems Specialists: Why Schedules Are The Educator's Best Friend

Tue Dec 6 2016
By: Mike P

The end of the year is an incredibly busy time for educators across the nation. With the months of December and January marking the halfway point of the school year for many districts across the US, our sales team frequently meets with District Administrators and Guidance Counselors during the winter seasons to help educators prepare to enter into the second half of the academic calendar with their best foot forward. I recently caught up with Jessica, a veteran member of our sales team, to see what educational product most educators are calling about right now.

How long have you worked here at Magnatag?
There are always the few products that are popular regardless of the time of year, but recently I’ve received a number of quotes for our 9-Period Master-Class Schedules. December is one of those months that we see an uptick in school spending, as the end of the year is just around the corner and educators are looking to go into the new year fully prepared; so I can’t say I’m all that surprised by the popularity of the system.

Can you tell me how people are using the scheduling system?
It’s a scheduling system built for schools: There’s two segments of nine spaces, with each space representing one of the nine periods in a given school day, giving educators the ability to align their block into a nine period schedule—or they can change it up. I’ve spoken to some schools that run a multi-day schedule block, with some classes only taking place every other day; in those instances, the schedule will reflect the differing courses that are being taught throughout the day. But you also have the ability to just track courses that are being taught in a specific classroom; it’s [the set-up] really up for interpretation. I think that figuring out how to use the board to best suit your needs really depends on the number of teacher’s and classes you want to keep track of.

Who—in the education department—is primarily interested in these schedules?
It’s usually the principal directly, or someone closely related to the administrative or guidance departments. It’s really built for anyone that is involved with the day-to-day scheduling of schools.

What is the alternative solution for educators? What were they doing before Magnatag?
A lot of people start out with some kind of spreadsheet. Whether it be excel or Microsoft project, many people find that tracking with these solutions just isn’t very practical. People gravitate towards our schedules in particular because of the visibility they present: administrators like to be able to look right up at the wall and see what’s going on, and when you’re dealing with educators in particular, having a hands-on tool is a huge bonus for a department. Our customers often remind us that it can be difficult to maintain a spreadsheet and alter it as needed when it is located on some remote server. People want to have the ability to look at a schedule and make alterations on the spot—which makes a huge difference when it comes to getting things done—whereas having to dig through a server is rather cumbersome.

What kinds of feedback do you hear about the schedules in particular?
People are really fond of the versatility of the schedules; that’s something I’m always being told. Even though we advertise the boards for scheduling classes specifically, there’s really nothing preventing it from being used for other purposes. After all, the only thing that is printed on the board is the grid-lines. This really comes in handy to educators when it comes time to reexamine their curriculum. Maybe it’s a new class that’s being taught, or perhaps their scheduling format is being altered; the ability to alter the schedule as you see fit is something our customers love.

Customers also really like that the boards come with all the magnets needed to operate them; it makes it much easier to set up and use right from the start. There’s an importance to the functionality of all our products that really seems to resonate with our customers. Having the ability to know where everyone is and what they are doing during a given period goes a long way for many administrators. There’s an added sense of accountability in knowing exactly where people are located in the building—should an emergency arise.
If you'd like to create a Master-Class Schedule for your district or department, visit our website or call one of our Visual Systems Specialists at 1-800-624-4154

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