ParentPaperwork – Helping Schools Save Billions Of Pieces Of Paper

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ParentPaperwork is on a journey to help schools save billions of pieces of paper globally by moving their existing paper-based forms to an online system.

Each year around the world tens of millions of parents sign hundreds of millions of paper forms on behalf of their children or relatives. It’s a labour intensive, unreliable and inefficient process.

Most schools still rely on a paper-based form to capture parent permissions for activities like excursions and sports activities. Yet for busy parents, especially those with more than one child, this leads to literally dozens of pieces of paper that must be signed and returned to school every year.

A school with 2,000 students could be using 80,000 pieces of paper a year just to send forms home to parents – that’s around ten trees a year that need to be sacrificed just so parents can give permission for their children to attend a sports carnival or other school activity!

The team at Melbourne-based ParentPaperwork are determined to both help schools and parents communicate more efficiently, and to make a real difference to the environment.

ParentPaperwork is an online platform to automate paper forms in education, dramatically reducing cost and improving liability management.  The system manages excursion forms, field trip forms, permission slips and many other forms parents need to complete for their children and send back to school.

ParentPaperwork is simple to use. There is no set up required by parents. The forms are customisable so ParentPaperwork can adapt to a school’s specific requirements.

ParentPaperwork can connect directly to a school’s management database, ensuring the school can communicate with their whole parent body.

Schools can log in at any time to track the submitted responses. With a single exported spreadsheet ParentPaperwork saves a school having to carry literally ring binders of paper forms whenever they take students off campus.

Fiona Boyd and David Eedle founded ParentPaperwork after counting the dozens of forms they had signed for their three children over the course of a few months. They started consulting a number of schools in their local area last year and uncovered just how much teacher time and school resources are needed to manage the many paper forms sent out by schools each year.

ParentPaperwork recently won a StartUp Victoria Pitch Competition with the judges praising the innovation and potential of the business.

ParentPaperwork is looking to recruit school customers around the world for their online forms system. Schools can sign up for a Free 30 Day Trial at www.ParentPaperwork.com

ParentPaperwork in the Press: Quick, Easy and Super Green: Aussie Startup Pioneers Electronic School Forms

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Anthill Magazine has a story about ParentPaperwork, highlighting amongst other benefits how moving your school’s paper forms online is a big help to the environment.

Each year around the world tens of millions of parents sign hundreds of millions of paper forms on behalf of their children. That will always be a labour intensive, unreliable and inefficient process. A school with 2,000 pupils might use as much as 80,000 pieces of paper a year – that’s around ten trees that need to be sacrificed just so parents can give permission for their children to do a school activity. ParentPaperwork is an online platform to automate paper forms in education, dramatically reducing costs, improving liability management and saving trees.”

Read the full story

ParentPaperwork’s data now stored in Australia

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We are pleased to announce that as of today all of ParentPaperwork’s data is stored in Australia.

ParentPaperwork is hosted by one of the leading cloud web hosting companies, Microsoft Azure. Microsoft operates a bunch of data centres around the world, but up until now did not have facilities available based in Australia.

We chose Azure hosting for many reasons, they are one of the major cloud hosting companies in the world along with Amazon and Google, and provide a fantastic range of services and options, along with a high degree of availability and reliability. As they are global, we are able to provide a great ParentPaperwork experience to schools located everywhere. They also give us the ability to scale up our online services at the click of a button to cope with spikes in traffic and demand.

Microsoft has a comprehensive approach to data security and publishes a white paper detailing security, privacy and compliance for the Azure hosting service but the lack of an Azure facility in Australia has been an obstacle to some schools in Australia, education departments are becoming more cautious about schools using online services where student data might be held outside of Australia, and thus potentially outside the jurisdiction of Australian privacy legislation.

Earlier in 2014 Microsoft announced that they would open data facilities for Azure in Australia, and we’ve been waiting with baited breath for them to come available. And finally they have!

Over the weekend we moved all of the ParentPaperwork databases used to hold Australian customer data into the Azure Melbourne hosting facility, meaning that any student and parent data in ParentPaperwork is now stored in Australia.

 

 

Great press: Startup gets ready to bin paper-based permission slips for schools

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StartUp Smart has published a lovely article today about ParentPaperwork:

Every parent of school-aged children is familiar with the dreaded permission slip.

Melbourne-based startup ParentPaperwork wants to remove those paper-based permission forms from education altogether.

It has developed a platform that allows schools to create an unlimited number of customisable forms and uses a combination of email and secure webpages to capture parents’ responses.

Read the full article.

New Feature: Parents can now download calendar entries from ParentPaperwork online forms

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A frequent request from schools on the ParentPaperwork development roadmap has been downloadable calendar entries for parents, so parents can easily add their childrens’ activities into online calendars.

Today we’ve released our Calendar Entry feature. When adding a new Slip you’ll now be presented with some new fields:

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You’ll notice we’ve added a More/Less toggle, and also moved the Limit Responses option into that area.

You can enter the Date/Time From/To of your activity using the Calendar Entry fields, or just leave them blank for no Calendar Entry at all.

The Dates/Times you select will show on the View page:

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You can check the Calendar Entry by clicking the icon, the calendar file will download and open in your electronic diary.

When parents click through to respond to a Slip, they will also be shown the icon:

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Over time we see this as expanding to enable a school to subscribe to a calendar feed of all their activities for which  ParentPaperwork Slips exist which could be a big time saver, having an easy overview in one place of all activities the students  are participating in.

 

ParentPaperwork gets more personal, plus tracking of problems with emails and non-delivery

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Sometimes the small things matter the most, and most people would agree they would always prefer to be addressed by name. We realised recently that the emails ParentPaperwork sends to parents were not actually personally addressed, so now they are!

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It can be frustrating not being completely sure a parent has received an email. ParentPaperwork already can tell you if a parent has opened an email, now there is also notification for:

  • No email address at all
  • A delivery error was recorded

When you view the list of parent responses for a Slip, there are two new icons.

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The red triangle is a warning that the Parent contact does not have an email address, we’re also displaying this icon in other places where a parent is listed, so it’s clear you might have a problem.

The red envelope icon shows that there was an error recorded when we tried to deliver an email to the parent. You can click the icon to pop up a window containing the actual error message.

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New tutorial videos showing you step by step how to perform many of the common tasks in ParentPaperwork

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Today’s we’ve launched our first tutorial videos, showing you step by step how to perform many of the common tasks in ParentPaperwork. We already have a pretty comprhensive Help and Support section, with many articles containing instructions and answers to frequently asked questions. But we know a picture tells a thousand words, and the new tutorial videos provide a straightforward and visual explanation for a range of topics:

  • Importing Student & Parents
  • Managing Student records
  • Add a new Slip
  • Student Attributes
  • Form Template Design
  • Managing Parent Contacts
  • Managing Workflows for Form Templates
  • Exporting data from a Slip
  • Managing Student Lists
  • Exporting data from Slips by date

The videos are available on the Help pages, accessible from the Help option on the top menu bar after you sign in.

Here’s an example of one of the tutorials, showing you how to Add a New Slip.

Keep Calm. Save Paper (and trees). Use ParentPaperwork

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How many reams of paper does your school use each year copying and distributing paper forms to parents and students? Did you know one ream of paper equals around 6% of a tree? Conservatree estimates that each tree that’s processed into paper yields around 16 reams (500 sheets each) of paper.

Let’s try some math. For a school with 1,000 students let’s guess each student is given 20 paper forms a year, each with two pages. So that’s 1000 x 20 x 2 = 40,000 sheets of paper, which is 80 reams of paper. And five trees. Not withstanding the cost of the paper, the cost of copying the forms (all that toner, photocopying charges), distributing them to students, collecting and chasing the returned forms, collating and reporting the responses…..

That’s why schools turn to ParentPaperwork, our mission in life is to replace paper forms with an online system that’s super convenient for both schools and parents.