Founded in 1948, St Andrew’s International School welcomes students aged 2.5 to 19 years to its 35-acre campus in Nassau. It offers the IB Primary Years and Diploma Programmes, as well as its own Middle Years Diploma, which includes Pearson Edexcel International GCSEs and Cambridge iGCSEs.
A Home for the Whole Curriculum
Before implementing ManageBac, St Andrew’s International School had struggled with juggling multiple, disconnected systems – necessitating time-consuming work-arounds behind the scenes. “It was organised chaos,” recalls Chad Strachan, the school’s Director of IT. “Coming onto ManageBac, we were looking for a holistic system”.
Having initially adopted ManageBac to organise their CAS programme, the school later began using the platform for IB DP Unit Planning – making use of the Google Docs integration to upload tasks and assignments. After seeing how ManageBac was able to structure and categorise the curriculum, and increase visibility between subjects, the way forward was clear: “We just need to use this all across the board, we can’t just use it for one programme.”
Now the whole school curriculum, including IB PYP and International GCSE courses, is managed through the same platform: “It’s been great knowing that you guys can adjust to that mix of programmes – just seeing how it’s laid out” says Chad. “ManageBac has done tremendously with that.”
Bringing the whole school curriculum into ManageBac has brought a range of advantages to the school – from smoother transitions between years to unexpected bonuses, like the ability to roll out and track Service Learning for the Middle School. “It’s been all smiles, love, everything,” he adds. “It’s made my life much easier, and for teachers as well.”
ManageBac has automated many key activities for St Andrew’s International School, allowing Chad to replace manual, spreadsheet-based tasks with more efficient processes. “The major advantage is that behind the scenes, it’s a click of a button,” he explains.
ManageBac’s Attendance Module has made a big difference to the whole school community by offering real-time visibility: “Attendance is crazy good,” says Chad. “We can tell what classes they’re in; if they’re late, parents, instead of calling the nurse, can write an attendance excusal, which has been phenomenal – parents love that.” Teachers now regularly receive advance warning of a student absence, rather than finding out on the day, saving time and effort across the board. “All of that process has been really good for me, I’m able to do a lot more in other areas,” he adds.
Meanwhile, ManageBac has transformed reporting for Grades 6–12 into “a seamless process” – removing the need to create complex spreadsheets or write bespoke programmes, manually adjust grading scales, or navigate email bouncebacks.“It was always a tedious process,” Chad remembers. “Now, I don’t really have to stay behind anymore – it’s just been a blessing!”
Syncing Systems with FariaOne
While ManageBac takes care of teaching and learning, two further Faria systems handle other key processes for St Andrew’s International School – OpenApply for admissions and SchoolsBuddy for school-to-home activities. “I love that with FariaOne, you have great integrations,” says Chad.
“We never had an admissions programme – everything was done by hand, so that was always a challenging process,” Chad recalls. “Unfortunately, there was a lot of human error, as far as inputting addresses, names, different things like that, so that always was a challenge when we sent out emails to parents – we’d get a lot of bouncebacks, that was a nightmare for several years. Coming onto OpenApply, our admissions programme has skyrocketed as far as ease of use, with parents being able to fill out forms online. The tracking of the system is excellent; we know where people are through their journey of being enrolled in the school. That’s been fantastic – our Admissions Director is loving it.”
Meanwhile, SchoolsBuddy has revolutionised the school’s approach to Parent-Teacher Conferences. “It has been amazing once again,” says Chad. “We used to use Google Forms, but you can only do so much. Parents show up all the time now, so that’s been great for teachers as well.” The school also plans to use SchoolsBuddy to manage other activities, such as school trips and sports fixtures, in the future.
“We’ve definitely moved forward and enhanced the school”, adds Chad. “And parents definitely can see where their money’s going with regards to our software systems now, it’s been great to present them with this.”
Support & Development – “it’s been amazing”
Chad identifies customer support as having been crucial to the success of rolling out the FariaOne system at St Andrew’s International School, noting that this is what sets Faria Education Group apart from other providers. “Not only is the software great, but your customer support has been the best I’ve ever experienced in all my years at St Andrew’s, with any company,” he says. “I feel like I have a virtual tech team in the cloud with me.”
“You guys go above and beyond so I definitely appreciate that,” explains Chad. “Also what I like is you guys are continually innovating, so even though the system’s great, you have a portal where you can go, and I tell teachers all the time ‘hey, that’s a great idea, go into the portal and vote on it’ or suggest another idea, so you’re continually making things better.”
As a Technology Leader, having access to future product development plans is also helpful: “I like the roadmap, you always can see what’s coming up, that’s exciting. I love that process. With other software we use, it’s ‘set and forget’ – if there are updates, it’s just bug fixes, nothing really to enhance the programme.”
Strategic Technology Planning
When asked whether he has any advice to share with other Technology Directors, Chad says: “Look at all the systems and all the different things that you do, and how you can integrate them in a seamless way, and the reasons why you would want to implement these things to make your school better or enhanced in all these areas.”
“ManageBac has definitely done that for us, right out of the box, especially with all their bundle integrations,” he continues. “It makes it much easier to have an admissions process that flows right into your LMS, then in turn you have your Parent-Teacher Conferences, your activities – the whole suite just makes sense. There’s no need to buy all these different solutions that don’t integrate together.”
“You also want software that has an amazing support team, which ManageBac has,” Chad concludes. “You just set up a call and you guys are right on it, so that’s a key thing too.”