Six things to consider before your Arbor onboarding project begins

Here are six things to consider before your implementation begins, to give you the best start to the project.

Assigning a Project Lead

The Project Lead will be your school’s first point of contact with Arbor and will be expected to attend regular 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 at your school. 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.  

Communication with 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 school's Arbor implementation.

A good Project Lead will be able to communicate effectively not only with their Arbor Project Manager but also with their key school Arbor Champions and the wider school team - ranging from scoping out their school requirements for Arbor to coordinating training dates based on staff availability. 

Success stories of good project communication from bygone Arbor onboarding projects have included:

  • 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 ‘’) 
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 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 moving to Arbor have been using a server-based MIS for a number of years. Arbor’s cloud-based functionality automatically allows schools to work in a different way because staff are able to access the MIS from anywhere that has an internet connection. 

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. 

Training Dates & Staff Availability 

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 school's 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 resources, and that finding time for staff to attend training sessions is easier said than done. 

Typically, Arbor training sessions will be 1-3 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. You can see our onboarding training schedule here.

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.

You can click here to see more information about some of our training offerings.

Getting a Headstart on Data Cleansing

Schools have quite often been using their current MIS system for a good number of years, and because of this, data-cleansing activities 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.

Third-Party Applications

It’s likely that your school will have a range of third-party applications, 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 discuss further with your Arbor Project Manager once your onboarding begins.

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