Just in time for the busy summer class and camp registration season, CSMA announced a new online registration system that would “provide a more user-friendly experience for CSMA students, as well as streamline internal processes for CSMA staff. ” We’re proud to welcome Community School of Music and Arts to ASAP!

Founded in 1968, CSMA is Northern California’s largest non-profit provider of arts education programs, and one of only ten such schools its size nationwide. Annually, CSMA directly serves over 20,000 students a year through visual arts and music classes, lessons, camps and community events. Their in-school programs alone reach 10,000+ students in over 30 schools across Silicon Valley.

For many years, CSMA had operated under a homegrown system for registration and data management but that solution had finally reached its last useful update. It was time to upgrade to a system that could handle all of its needs—from Family Accounts to real-time Reporting. Without question, CSMA is a unique client; however, so many community schools face this same decision point in managing their administrative technology that we’ve added what we hope is useful detail and insight into user feedback that prompted such a transition and the benefits gained.

Case Study: Powering Arts Education in Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley parents barely cover with a laugh when they say that opening day of summer school or camp registration is the most stressful morning of the year. Coveted classes like CSMA’s “Digital Music Creations” can fill up within minutes once registration opens. What happens if you can’t get the kids into camp those critical two weeks when the sitter will be gone? The stakes are high, and the technical expectations among that crowd for software that’s quick, smart and simple are high too.

The old signup process CSMA used, though online, could not function in real time to track the volatile status of class enrollments and availability on registration day, so it became a strain on the staff, as well, to monitor activity and manually close registration to classes as they filled.

Adding to parents’ frustration, there was no way to register multiple family members in one transaction; a parent had to log in individually using each family member’s ID number, complete the registration, and start over again — from login all the way through to checkout payments — for each family member. Their custom, in-house solution had become cumbersome, unresponsive and poorly matched to their super-scheduled families.

From staff, the clamor was for more agile reporting. All student, class and financial data fed into Filemaker Pro, which is a good relationship database but neither quick nor versatile in its reporting functions. Pulling the data back out for accounting and analysis was the challenge.

CSMA was also intrigued by what they’d seen of our latest module for Private Lessons, which streamlines the entire workflow from a student’s initial inquiry into the CSMA program through the steps of audition/interview, instructor assignments and scheduling. The existing CSMA process was completely manual — mail, phone and in-person, so the time savings in automating could be so significant it might pay for the new system itself.

The Convenience of Family Accounts

CSMA is one of the ten largest community schools of its kind in the nation. They understood the scale of the update and chose to focus first on improving the registration experience for their students. They publicly announced the switch to ASAP well in advance of the registration dates, promising a much more family-friendly and efficient experience.

CSMA’s new online registration system will provide a
more user-friendly experience for CSMA students, as well as
streamline internal processes for CSMA staff.

The benefits of CSMA’s new online registration system include:

1. The ability to set up and manage one registration account per family,
with multiple students in the account.

2. The ability to browse classes, add to shopping cart for multiple
students, and pay for all with one transaction.

3. Instant access to registration – no waiting for a registration ID.

A Smooth Launch

On February 1, the Summer Session registration period opened, powered by ASAP. “Smooth launch!!!!” wrote the director from home that afternoon. She was busy pulling a variety of enrollment and financial reports to see how the live reporting performed. “I was so excited to see how much easier it’s going to be to get data than in our old system!”

Private Lessons for continuing students will roll out next, in time for Fall enrollments. The full implementation of After School Programs, Community Events and other features will follow. Be sure to check back as we update details and let us know if you’d like to see a demo of an ASAP Community Arts solution.