Assigning a Project Lead
The Project Lead will be your school’s first point of contact with Arbor, and will be expected to attend weekly progress meetings with your Arbor Project Manager, so it’s important to have a good idea of who this person within your school will be prior to starting your onboarding.
The Project Lead should have a good knowledge of the day-to-day running of your school and will be able to communicate project requirements confidently with the rest of the Arbor Champions. Typically, a school’s Arbor Project Lead will be the Data Manager, Business Manager, or a dedicated member of the SLT.
Find more about the responsibilities of the Project Lead as well as other key project roles and responsibilities here.
Considering How You’ll Communicate With Your Key Stakeholders
Communication is a key aspect of running a successful onboarding project, with the potential to make or break the early success of a schools Arbor implementation.
A good Project Lead will be able to communicate effectively not only with their Arbor Project Manager, but also with their key Arbor Champions and the wider school team - ranging from scoping out their schools needs requirements and objectives, to coordinating training dates based on staff availability.
Success stories of good project communication from bygone Arbor onboarding projects have included elements such as weekly/bi-weekly internal staff meetings to discuss progress, notice boards to share key dates/milestones, allowing access to the Arbor Implementation Workbook for your Arbor Champions, and even the creation of specific Arbor email accounts to allow for staff queries to come into one central location (for example ‘Arbor@secondaryschool.org.uk’).
Considering Your Project Objectives
Moving to Arbor should be something that ultimately benefits your school, and whilst it can seem like a lot is changing with the way you manage your data day-to-day (see more about managing change here), it’s important to understand exactly what you’d like those benefits to be.
Quite often, schools will move to Arbor having been used to using a server-based MIS for a great number of years. Arbor’s cloud-based functionality automatically allows schools to work in a slightly different way, as staff are now able to access the MIS from anywhere that has an internet connection. Therefore, the benefits of a cloud-based system may be something that you wish to take into account when thinking about your objectives.
Moving to Arbor can also be a period of wholesale change, and many schools opt to take somewhat of a fresh start. For example, your objectives might revolve around improving how you manage your Assessments, or what your Behaviour policy looks like.
Considering these elements when deciding on what you’d like to improve within your school can go a long way towards deciding what your long-term objectives will be - and having an idea of what your objectives are prior to your onboarding beginning will give us an advantage when deciding on the scope of your project.
Considering What Dates You’ll Have Available to Take Your Pre-Purchased Training
Training is a key element of your Arbor onboarding, and finding the time to allow your key members of staff to attend training sessions is going to be vital to ensure that your schools early adoption of Arbor is as smooth as possible.
We are aware, though, that schools, more often than not, are extremely stretched for time and resource, and that finding time for staff to attend training sessions is easier said than done.
Typically, Arbor training sessions will be 2-3.5 hours long, and on average, a school may have 10-15 training sessions to use. Because of this, you may want to start to consider what dates you have available. For example, do you have any inset days coming up where a block of training can be taken? Or is a Wednesday or Thursday afternoon a good time for you and your school to take training?
Considering the above and discussing with the rest of your Arbor Champions about when you’re able to take your training will go a long way to ensuring a quick start to your Arbor onboarding.
Getting a Headstart on Your Data Cleansing
As mentioned earlier, schools have quite often been using their current MIS system for a good number of years, and because of this, data cleansing practices can sometimes have fallen by the wayside.
As a minimum, it’s going to be really important to make sure that every member of staff has their work email address logged on their profile, as this will act as their username for Arbor. Arbor is also permission-based, with a user’s level of access deriving from their Arbor Business Role. Read more about the migration of Business Roles here to help you decide on what data needs cleansing.
You may also find our article on migration FAQ's for more information.
Compile a List of Your Third-Party Applications
It’s likely that your school will have a range of third-party applications, ranging from behaviour systems to cashless catering to everything in-between. It’s also likely that you may have lost track of which applications you actually have and use.
Therefore, it’ll be a good idea to compile a list of all of your third-party applications ahead of starting your onboarding project, ready to fill out the ‘Systems Audit’ that is included within your Implementation Workbook and discussed further with your Arbor Project Manager once your onboarding begins.