Each state has their own set of laws which require school districts to retain certain student records for set amounts of time. These time constraints can range from 1 to 6 years, to some records that must be kept permanently. For example, in New York, cumulative achievement record equivalent (sometimes known as a Permanent Record Card) for elementary and secondary school must be kept permanently. (To read more about this please check this website).
Some schools across the nation are taking a proactive approach. For example, this article highlights what one school district is doing to become paperless and why.
Among Permanent Record Cards are several other documents that each state requires for schools to retain permanently. This can create several issues, some of which arose in Marion County schools which convinced them that it was time for a change.
One of the biggest issues faced in retaining student records is storage. According to the article, the district is challenged with storing well over 9 million pages of both student and employee records. In addition to the space issue, teachers would have to search the massive file room to locate a student's chart.
In order to combat these challenges, Marion County schools decided to scan their existing records and all new files going forward. Their plan is to be completely digital by 2024. Some of the benefits of scanning their student records include: digitized student files, easier access in locating a file via a searchable database, peace of mind knowing everything is scanned and backed up properly and once scanned, the physical paper charts can be shred.
The idea of going paperless is something that a lot of schools should and will consider in the future. While Marion County had the right idea, the execution could have been much more efficient and cost effective. Shoreline Records Management has been in business 20+ years and has worked with many school districts in the past. If a district in a similar situation to Marion County were to utilize Shoreline’s record management services, the entire project would take, at most, a few months to complete as opposed to the several years outlined by Marion County in their plan. In addition to the time saved by choosing Shoreline, Marion County would have been able to cut the costs of hiring and training a team, expensive scanning equipment and other resources needed to conduct this project.
To learn more about how Shoreline Records Management can assist in your records management project, please check our services.