Class Sizes, Booklists, and More: Preparing for – and Predicting – 2020-2021 Enrollment

Schools are teaching remotely and giving their students instruction and support while schools are shuttered, but what happens in the fall?

Javier Jurado, founder of TextbookHub, is often talking with administrators at this time of year, prepping book lists and planning for fall. But those conversations are a little different now. Here’s what Javier is hearing:

Q: Javier, our customer schools at TextbookHub are in different states and cities, with different requirements for closure. How are you helping schools right now?

A: ​Typically at this time of year, curriculum managers or department heads are finalizing their book lists for fall and that sets us up for summer to get ebooks and classrooms set up for schools. This year, though, schools are delaying that and we are focused on their immediate transition to remote learning and getting digital textbooks to students at home.

Q: For existing customers, what’s on the minds of schools today?

A: Because we provide digital textbooks and custom integrations with school learning management systems (LMS), our customers already know and use ebooks in the classroom. But the focus now is on how to use them better, using the features that help them connect with students and learning.

Q: What about new customers, what kinds of questions are you getting?

A: Yeah, we have been fielding a lot of calls from schools interested in ebooks for fall. I know so many of these schools and they have been considering digital textbooks, but now this is something everyone wants.

Q: What’s the biggest risk you see?

A: Timelines for selecting books are delayed with most schools – they have their hands full right now. Making a switch to digital for fall is doable over the summer and we want to help schools be ready for in-class or remote teaching when we roll around to fall.

Enrollment is what schools base everything on – what classes they will offer, how many digital textbooks they need per class, the quality of materials for remote learning, and ultimately the budgets they have to continue delivering excellence in education.

We can also be there for schools as enrollment changes – textbooks are refundable for up to 30 days after school starts.

Q: What is the most useful thing you have heard about dealing with this uncertainty and still plan thoughtfully for fall?

A: Planning for the long term can be difficult during times when most of the pieces are not all revealed. Each day brings more and more change and exposure to ways of life that no one could have prepared for. Taking the time as a team to plan what is controllable helps schools keep moving forward with a strategy of hope for things to come. The more we try to focus on the way we used to do things, the more we are hindering our creativity to move forward and unlock new opportunities.

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