Charms Office Assistant
This past November, Chad Criswell, author of Music Ed Magic as well as all NAfME technology columns, mentioned Charms Office Assistant at the Iowa Music Educators Association Professional Development Conference. Another fellow music educator, Mark Hodge, mentioned that he was representing Charms Office at NAfME Northwest last week. While I was at TMEA, I visited the Charms Office vendor area (Texas is Charm's home state), and just today I received an e-mail from a Charms representative.
Like the Magic 8 Ball, all signs seem to point to writing an article about Charms.
Charms Office Assistant bills itself as “The premiere management, communication, assessment, and financial system used by successful programs everywhere.” After a tour of some of Charm's features, I would say this is true. You can use Charms to track student information, organize music and uniform libraries, keep track of finances for your group (fundraising and purchases), for communications of all kind (student/parent via e-mail, phone, and text), to submit recorded assignments (think SmartMusic without the assessment), and a detailed calendar. Many features are available on their mobile web app, although the entire program is web-based. You can accomplish all of these things using a variety of programs–or you can get it all under one roof.
The program costs $300 per year, or $795 for three years. The Charms users I have met swear by the program, and wouldn't consider using anything else.
If you are a teacher looking for a program that can do everything that a music secretary would do in the “old days” (do any programs still have music secretaries?), take a look at Charms Office Assistant. They will be happy to respond to any question you have, and once you join their services, they promise “Insane Tech Support.”