ParentPaperwork integrates with TryBooking for school ticketing

TryBooking is an Australian-owned and operated event ticketing, registrations and fundraising platform. With over 3,000 schools already benefiting from TryBooking’s functionality, it made perfect sense for ParentPaperwork to integrate with the TryBooking platform to help smooth out the event ticketing experience for schools.

You can find out about using ParentPapework with TryBooking by clicking here and heading to our Knowledge Base. But the important things to remember are:

  1. You can include a TryBooking purchase as part of a ParentPaperwork Parent Slip.
  2. You can require parents to complete a TryBooking payment before they can submit their Parent Slip.
  3. You can see, at a glance, who has made their payment and returned their Parent Slip for consolidated reporting.

Trybooking

Given TryBooking’s popularity among schools, you may already know their story but, if not, we sat down briefly with CEO, Jeff McAlister, and he filled us in on the background behind TryBooking and why it’s such a good fit with ParentPaperwork.

 ParentPaperwork: How did TryBooking come about as a business and how does it differ from the dominant players in the ticketing arena?

Jeff McAlister: “The founders, Grant and Delma Dunoon, were both active in their school community and volunteering for their children’s sporting clubs when they started realising how difficult it was to find volunteers to run events, handle cash and manually complete every task. School offices were being inundated with envelopes filled with money, lists to track sales, and it was tough work. After a lot of research around the challenges presented, they built TryBooking as the solution to help volunteers and school departments run more efficiently and for a very affordable price.”

“Ten years later, TryBooking is still Australian owned and operated and is the largest self-service ticketing platform in Australia with over 60,000 event organisers running over 15,000 events per week. The platform is simple, powerful and the pricing hasn’t changed. Unlike many other large technology companies, we provide dedicated local support via phone, email and social media. The local team is very experienced and understands the challenges that schools face.”

“We also differ from other players in that we host all our data in Australia. There’s no third-party marketing and we don’t have tiered pricing that limits your features. Our focus has also been on affordability, making sure that everyone benefits from lower pricing, which helps to support the community.”

 Why is TryBooking being embraced by schools? What does it offer schools in particular?

“We have supported the school community since day one, working with schools to achieve their goals and planning new features around the feedback that we receive. With that in mind, I think that our local support, affordable pricing and experience is the major difference between us and other players. We are also focused on privacy, and make it as easy as possible for parents, students and the community to book tickets without hassles of accounts and passwords.”

“The system is also very flexible – schools can use TryBooking for concerts with seating plans, sports registrations, open days, alumni events, dinners with table plans, end-of-year functions, fundraising and so much more. As we grow, we’re always adding more features, such as widgets for their websites, the TryBooking Scanning App and more. We want schools to succeed and we make sure our features are always the most useful and relevant for them.”

How has the TryBooking relationship developed with schools as the business has grown? Are schools now using TryBooking differently than initially expected?

“TryBooking first started with the aim of solving administration issues faced by schools and, 10 years later, we are still passionate about helping schools run events and engaging their wider community. We run training sessions with school teams and make sure we aren’t just teaching the new features but listening to what different departments, principals, parents, finance managers and bursars want from the platform. It is important for us to understand complex issues like financial controls, data privacy, collaboration and school events with multiple stakeholders.”

“Most schools use TryBooking for its core functionality of registrations, payments, tickets and bookings but we do see lots of schools using TryBooking to run some very creative fundraisers and drives.”

How do you see the relationship between TryBooking and ParentPaperwork working?

“There are lots of great technology products for schools and the more we work together the better. Integrating and finding ways to make processes easier for staff and volunteers is important for us and ParentPaperwork, so we see this as a good fit. We hope that schools using ParentPaperwork will benefit from the integration and reduce the amount of communication needed to chase payments for events.”

If you have any advice for schools using TryBooking, what would it be?

“The platform is very powerful and can be used in a huge number of ways. You can create whatever you want from a general admission event right through to a large seated concert hall. Once you know what types of events or registrations you are using, we suggest creating templates to ensure that all your branding and information is consistent across departments. Also, we encourage you to pick up the phone and get help when you need it. We are here to help.”

Find out more about using ParentPaperwork with TryBooking

Schools doing great things – Carmel College

Photo: aerial view of Carmel College, with Lake Pupuke in the foreground, and the Hauraki Gulf and Rangitoto Island in the background.

Carmel College
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Carmel College is an integrated Catholic school for girls from Y7 to Y13 on Auckland’s North Shore in New Zealand, founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1957. As a Mercy school, it is governed by the five core Mercy values of care of the poor and vulnerable, compassion, justice, service, and respect for human dignity.

Carmel is fortune to have great teachers and students who are hardworking and enjoy success academically, as well as in a wide range of co-curricular activities. The Carmel community is proud to be actively involved in the wider community, helping to support services such as De Paul House and Hospice.

Given Carmel College has been an all-star ParentPaperwork user for over a year, we asked the Personal Assistant to the Principal, Deborah Goudie, to take a moment out of her busy schedule to tell us about Carmel and how they are using technology, specifically ParentPaperwork.

ParentPaperwork: You’ve been in your role at Carmel College for five years, Deborah. What have been your fondest memories so far?

Deborah Goudie: “Experiencing the students on mass is something quite special. Throughout the academic year, there are a number of occasions when the whole school assembles, such as for the Dedication Mass at the start of the year. There is a great sense of community and positive energy at these events.”

When and how did you come to hear about ParentPaperwork and what appealed to you about the platform?

“About this time last year, an email was received by the college giving a brief synopsis on how ParentPaperwork worked and advising that David Eedle [CTO of ParentPaperwork] would be visiting Auckland if we would like to meet him. The possible benefits from ParentPaperwork seemed too good to miss out on, so we took him up on his offer.”

Would you say that Carmel College is using ParentPaperwork in any unique way?

“I can’t say that we’re using the system in a unique manner, as such. One of the unexpected spinoffs is that parent email addresses are now kept up-to-date. Feedback from parents and teachers has been positive too.”

From your experience of ParentPaperwork, do you have any advice for other users?

“Depending on the student management system that schools use, it is important to have lists set up in SMS that can be pulled into ParentPaperwork. This reduces double entry.”

“I would also say, if you have a problem, do not hesitate to email ParentPaperwork because response rates are excellent and, even if we don’t get the answer straight away, ParentPaperwork always pulls out all stops to sort the issue as quickly as possible.”

How do you see the future of technology in your school?

“Technology in schools is well-embedded now. The New Zealand Ministry of Education has indicated they will be incorporating digital technologies into the curriculum in the next year from Y1 through to Y13.”

“ParentPaperwork is now how we do business at Carmel College. Other technologies used are based on the Google platform, such as Google Classrooms and Google Forms.”

What would you say are the biggest challenges for educators in terms of technology?

“Internet security, educating students about appropriate use of technology, and guiding them to optimise the benefits from technology.”

If the magic teacher fairy could grant you three wishes, what would they be?

“Wish number one would be not having to send out so much paperwork in the first place. Then I’d like to have people respond when we do send out the paperwork and really need an answer.”

“Also, reducing the bureaucratic workload would be a big one, such as all the reports for various agencies and stakeholders.”

“However, seeing the students grow, almost exponentially with developments in digital technologies is exciting. Students are creating adaptations, applications and their own opportunities – in some cases, writing their career paths.”

www.carmel.school.nz

Schools doing great things – WCCC

Windsor Community Children’s Centre Co-op Ltd (WCCC)
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Windsor Community Children’s Centre Co-op Ltd (WCCC) started life 40 years ago as Swinburne Prahran Community Children’s Centre Co-op – a centre for children of staff and mature-aged students at Prahran TAFE in Melbourne. Across those four decades, they’ve weathered many storms in a turbulent Australian childcare sector but remained community-focused as a parent-managed, not-for-profit service.

Director Rose Kelly took ParentPaperwork on a tour and answered some questions about early childhood education and care, both now and into the future, while Assistant Director of WCCC Deanne Andoniou tells how ParentPaperwork fits into the picture.

ParentPaperwork: As someone fully involved in the childcare sector, what are the biggest changes you believe have occurred in childcare in Australia since the establishment of WCCC 40 years ago?

Rose Kelly: “The most significant change from then until now is probably that the whole landscape of early childhood education and care (ECEC) has evolved from a service that provided a place where parents could leave their children so they could work and/or study to now being recognised for the positive impacts on young children’s lives in terms of brain development, socialisation and learning. The reforms around the sector have also changed a lot for the better as well, especially in terms of educator training and quality services.”

WCCC is viewed as a leader in your sector. What do you think are the strongest issues facing the childcare?

“The strongest issue would be affordability for families, especially our most vulnerable.”

Childcare work is still not compensated commensurate with the work involved and the impact on young lives at their earliest point. Do you see a way to make that change meaningfully?

“I believe the only way is for the federal government to subsidise childcare. There is so much national and international research around about the benefits of ECEC. When we improve programs and services that help all children to be healthy, to get a good education and to contribute to our collective prosperity, we all benefit.”

WCCC has a student to childcare worker ratio that is way more favourable for children than government requirements. Why?

“To provide high quality care for children. Research also indicates that smaller numbers of groupings of children is better for them in terms of learning and stress. It also creates a much more enjoyable working environment for the educators.”

It’s impressive how your children get an on-premises cooked lunch everyday and you have a cook who is clearly very much part of the team. How does eating a meal together, or the same meal together, influence the culture at the centre?

“Food is often the cornerstone of many cultures and it creates a very rich community social experience. We get to enjoy good company and eat delicious food.”

What are the key learning values of the centre? What is your teaching approach?

“We want each child to be able to learn and develop in their own way. We want them to be inquisitive and wonder. We want them to engage with others and be inclusive. We do not subscribe to any particular teaching approach. Where we provide play-based learning, it is rich in intention and content.”

What is the highlight of running Windsor CCC?

“The educators. I admire them for their constant dedication and willingness to strive for better outcomes for children, and forever growing their own professional and personal development. Also, the community involvement of our families for running the service – it is a partnership that I really value.”

In celebrating 40 years in the childcare space, what do you think lies ahead?

“That’s an interesting question. I think we will see changes in the sector again, about what society will value in terms of ECEC. I am hoping that stricter reforms will come into play around ECEC being viewed as a profitable business.”

It’s great how you ask children for permission to use their photo, not just parental permission. Maybe you can elaborate a bit on how you help children learn about rights?

“We aspire to Early Childhood Australia Code of Ethics, and we talk a lot to children about their rights and the rights of others. We try to, in all circumstances, give the children their own voice to be heard and respected.”

What’s the best thing about WCCC being around for 40 years?

“That we are serving the community by helping local families and, through all the years, it has maintained a not-for-profit parent-managed service. With demands on people’s times, I am hopeful that we can still be around for another 40 years.”

And speaking to Deanne Andoniou:

What do you specifically use ParentPaperwork for at Windsor CCC?

Deanne Andoniou:To maximise efficiency and responses from families and to offer families a quick and easy method to communicate back with the centre. ParentPaperwork sits in-line with our strong philosophy of sustainability and being conscious of our environmental footprint. We are able to view which families have not opened up an email or responded to an email sent. It means we can touch base with those families individually and offer a friendly reminder / support.”

What do parents think about using it?

“Our parent survey had the highest level of participation (65.9% response rate) in comparison to using a survey software last year. ParentPaperwork was their preferred method of communication from the centre. They find it easy to respond immediately with a click of a button on their smart phones or computers.”

How much time and/or energy would you guess you reclaim by using ParentPaperwork?

“I would say, on average, ParentPaperwork has saved me two hours per broadcast/parent-slip/school-form sent. This is inclusive of follow-up emails and so on.”

Why would a childcare centre want to go down the path of using technologies such as ParentPaperwork?

“To be sustainable and environmentally-conscious. Also, the response time and level of participation from families is significantly greater.”

windsorccc.org.au

ParentPaperwork Case Study – I CAN Network, its mission and its activities

150_james-ong_20160527James Ong is the Director (Central) of the I CAN Network, Australia’s first social enterprise founded by people with Autism, and a ParentPaperwork customer. James recently spoke to ParentPaperwork’s Fiona Boyd and explained the origins of I CAN, its mission and its activities.

What was the reason, genesis story, for the I CAN network?

I met Chris Varney (the Founder of I CAN network) in 2012 while I was in a leadership program in university. Chris disclosed that he was on the Autism Spectrum and I also disclosed privately to him that I was also on the spectrum. Chris had an idea about helping people like ourselves that we kept talking about throughout 2013. We finally opened I CAN Network in September 2013.

We established I CAN Network because in Australia it is difficult to be a person on the Autism Spectrum. Compared with the typical population, people on the Autism Spectrum are less likely to go into tertiary education (81% who finished school do not complete a TAFE certificate or university degree) and to be employed (36% people on the Autism Spectrum are employed).

Often we find life difficult due to negative perceptions surrounding the condition in our society. This not only drags people on the Autism Spectrum down but their needs as people are also not catered for (86% students on the Autism Spectrum find school difficult).

I CAN Network was established to not only encourage optimism and skills development in young people on the Autism Spectrum but also to change the perceptions of society to view Autism through a strengths-based lens rather than a deficits-based lens.

What does I CAN do, what is its purpose?

I CAN Network runs mentoring programs in six primary schools, nine secondary schools, two communities and one workplace. Our mentoring programs are aimed to have mentees see their Autism in a more positive light and to develop skills that will allow them to function better in school and society.

We also run a Speakers Agency where people on the Autism Spectrum talk about the strengths and insights of Autism to schools, workplaces, clubs and governments. These presentations are aimed at shifting the perceptions of the public and moving them towards a more positive view of Autism. We also run camps for teens and young adults to give them a positive camp experience as well as to make new friends.

I CAN network has been with ParentPaperwork for a while, how does using the ParentPaperwork platform benefit the work you’re able to do?

We have been using Parent Paperwork to create and send forms for the camps we run. Previously we received paper forms from parents whose children were attending camp.

This was tedious and took ages to compile as I had to physically check that all the fields had been completed and to chase parents to properly fill out the forms.

It was also inconvenient for parents as they had to scan and re-scan paper forms to send to us. We also had to chase up parents who didn’t send the forms back.

With Parent Paperwork, it is way easier for us to create a form online and send it through to parents to complete. As well as that we can track to see who has not completed a form and send out a reminder email in a timely way. It is also so much easier to gather information from Parent Paperwork in an electronic format.

As a new-ish social enterprise, what are the goals you’ve set?

Our vision is “a world that benefits from embracing Autism” and our purpose is “to prove what people with Autism can do”. We aim to change the mindsets of people on the Autism Spectrum and to see their strengths rather than focus too much on their deficits through our school and camp programs. Through our Speakers Agency, we also aim to change the perception of people on the Autism Spectrum in the public mind more generally. And in terms of working in the I CAN Network, we aim to have 50% of people on the Autism Spectrum working on our team .

What do you think are the most noteworthy achievements of I CAN so far?

From the evaluations collected recently, satisfaction towards the mentoring programs has been very strong. 95% of 41 primary school mentees and 81% of 59 secondary school mentees were really happy to be part of an I CAN Network mentoring program.

Interestingly we also found  that there was a strong sense of belonging in both the primary and secondary school mentoring programs, where those on the program were able to be themselves and to talk freely about their interests and problems without being intimidated or ostracised.

What are the things that make your job harder? What are the things that make it easier?

I am currently the Evaluations and Social Impact Manager of the I CAN Network, in addition I am also a PhD student who works in a lab. It is a challenge balancing the two roles but there are also benefits to working this way.  I get the unique advantage of being able to develop skills and knowledge from both areas that I can transfer between my roles.

Fortunately, I have a lot of friends who look out for me and help with the effort required in the I CAN Network, hence lifting a load off my shoulders when needed which helps keep me focussed on my PhD at the key times I need to be.

‘I Can’t’ used to be such a common default phrase in Australian culture when I was growing up (and I’m 50!). I used to really get annoyed at it and at people telling me what I could or could not do. How important do you think it is for young people with ASD (is that the right terminology?) that the words we choose to use, and phrases etc are empowering and not instantly limiting?

I use “young people on the Autism Spectrum” when describing the people we work with. For young people on the Autism Spectrum, it is very important that we empower them and put aside any prejudices of what people on the Autism Spectrum can and cannot do. Young people on the Autism Spectrum can be weighed down by negative comments from the public to the point where it can affect their belief systems and actions.

However, if they receive encouragement and empowered language from people close to them, they start to believe in themselves and defy the stereotypes that they usually have to deal with. Here at the I CAN Network, we give young people on the Autism Spectrum the belief that they can do whatever it is they’re seeking to do and we can then see the positive results that come from the change in their beliefs about themselves.

What can we look forward to from I CAN over the next 12 months?

We aim to expand our mentoring programs to more schools and communities in metropolitan and rural Victoria. We’re also taking up speaking opportunities in other states and we’re also looking at establishing mentoring programs in the other states. You can find more information on how we are progressing at the I CAN Network at ican.network.