Schools are often late to taking advantage of new technologies, so today still do much of their business over paper forms. One pain point in particular – for school administrators, teachers and parents alike – is handling permission forms for activities and field trips. A young startup called Script aims to help. Schools can use Script’s app to manage the entire trip planning process, from the forms themselves, to collecting signatures, payments and reporting.
White comes from an edtech background, having previously worked as the I.T. director for a multi-campus charter school for several years, and as I.T. technician for Pinellas County schools. Cahill, meanwhile, worked as a senior software engineer in healthcare and finance, at WellCare and Chase, respectively.
The idea for the company was inspired by White’s own experience in the school system. He says he once saw a teacher break down because she was overwhelmed by the amount of paperwork and the administrative burden involved with trying to facilitate an activity for her students. He knew there had to be a better way.
“Our heart is to empower teachers and educators to teach more and manage less,” says White.
Teachers are not the only ones who could benefit from Script. As any parent could tell you, permission slips are a nightmare on their side, too. Forms are often lost or forgotten about, leading to last-minute hassles. Plus, parents have to send back cash to the school with kids as young as five, which is also a concern.
The solution Script has created lets parents digitally sign all permission slips with their finger via an app, and then pay for the activity – like a field trip or even after-school club, for example – right from their phone.
Once schools sign up, they can choose to integrate with Clever to pull in student information and the school roster into the system. Then, teachers use the app to create a new activity which gets sent to the school administrator for approval.
After getting the alert, the admin reviews the details and approves the activity which pushes it live to the appropriate parents.
Parents read the details, select their child, and then sign the form in-app with their finger and pay. The payment processing is handled by PayPal’s Braintree, and there’s a processing fee involved with that which varies on a school-by-school basis.
Currently, parents are alerted about new forms to sign via email, but Script is launching a system for sending out alerts via text and push notifications in about a month and a half, says White.
The company has signed up 14 schools across Florida so far, who are charged $1,950 on an annual basis. While there is an opportunity to trial the software, there’s no free tier available.
“We want people who innovate and will champion the product – that’s where the annual fee comes in,” White explains. “We want to weed out the people who aren’t actually going to implement the product,” he adds.
Script currently has several deals in the works, and is expecting to have 60 schools signed up by the end of the school year.
The software is being adopted by schools of all sizes, from one with just 140 students to another with over 1,200. However, private schools and charter schools make up much of the customer base due to the lack of red tape involved.
Over the course of the year, the company plans to double its four-person team to eight, expand beyond Florida, and enhance the system to support other forms, including both internal forms as well as anything else that’s sent out to parents. Script is also developing workflow solutions for school’s internal processes, which may be available as an additional charge.
The company is backed by $250K in seed funding raised last summer from area investors Ark Applications and PAR Inc. (Script’s biz dev head is involved with Ark, we should note.) It’s hoping to raise again in a few months.
Script is not the first company to address the challenges with school’s paper forms, and in particular, those for activities and field trips.
Others companies have also launched solutions in this space, like Permission Click, ParentPaperwork, CareMonkey, ActivityAssist, and others. But none have really cornered the market. In addition, the well-funded Remind could present a challenge for any companies engaged in this market, as it’s expanded beyond messaging into areas like school rosters, voice calls, logging and reporting. (Its ‘activities‘ feature, however, disappeared from its website).