Goodbye ParentPaperwork, hello EdSmart

The company is extremely excited to announce its relaunch under the new name, brand and mission – EdSmart.

Having expanded into eight countries and been implemented in 400-plus schools, the full potential of the original ParentPaperwork label has been reached. EdSmart is now the new place for ParentPaperwork and encompasses the huge milestones achieved in a short amount of time while strongly positioning this global edtech company for its future.

“It’s been a big and satisfying journey since we first developed an online platform that helps take schools paperless by digitising the forms and correspondence they exchanged with parents,” says Fiona Boyd, CEO of EdSmart. “But we’ve developed into so much more than just a piece of software for parent forms – we’re a complete and integratable administration solution that helps schools run smarter.”

Many schools currently think of their major software needs falling under two banners – that of the student management system (SIS or MIS) and the learning management system (LMS). However, there is a third category of software – a school organisation system – that replaces traditional burdens shouldered by administrators in schools, automating and streamlining the daily tasks of school life. That system is EdSmart.

“It made sense to have a new look & feel to reflect our development into a refined, personalised, easy and efficient method of routing workflows, collecting data and managing the administration between schools and of all their stakeholders,” continues Fiona Boyd.

While this brand change signals a major leap forward for the company, current users of the EdSmart platform under the ParentPaperwork name will not have to alter anything – all logins remain the same and will automatically reroute to EdSmart, the new place for ParentPaperwork. Current users are just reminded: wherever they see the EdSmart name and logo, this now represents what was once ParentPaperwork.

EdSmart has created a cloud-based School Organisation System (SOS) that is unlike any other other school administration system on the market. Why? Because it functions by integrating with all school databases and transfers data between systems. Data interoperability is the key that increases the potential of the EdSmart platform and makes it so powerful.

“It has been statistically proven that student improvement is linked to teacher-student contact time and parent engagement,” says Fiona Boyd. “The education arena, as a whole, has tighter budgets year on year, which makes delivering student improvement targets exponentially difficult.”

“The long-term solution is to embrace software that genuinely supports valuable teaching and reduces non-teaching staff time,” she concludes. “We feel that EdSmart meets that need.”

For more information about EdSmart, please email [email protected]

New EdSmart logos are accessible here.

 

Announcing the ParentPaperwork Activity Care Module

ParentPaperwork has cemented a reputation as the world’s most powerful and comprehensive online forms platform for K-12 schools… and it just got even better for student care. 

We’re taking the work out of taking care of your students. 

We are very pleased to announce the availability of a series of significant updates to ParentPaperwork’s paperless school system, which we are calling the Activity Care Module.

The Activity Care Module is like having another pair of hands in your school office, or with you when you’re out in the field on an excursion.

From the event planning form to the educational needs assessment form, risk assessment form, cost analysis form, parent/student permission forms – and now the Activity Care Module – we’ve completely closed the loop in terms of the forms administration of any school activity.

The Activity Care Module is an essential tool from the start to end of an activity, as well as in the event of an emergency.

New Activity Care information in the Student record

We’ve added a dedicated section in the Student record to store health and care information about your students – emergency contacts, medical conditions, immunisations, allergies – whatever information you consider critical.

As we do already for your existing data, ParentPaperwork can automatically bring this information in from your student management system, and you can use these as fields in your online forms.

Student Care Information available in an easy offline and online format

ParentPaperwork can import your students’ photos, highlight at-risk students and ensure you have the right information available, at the right time and in the right place.

When the occasion comes for an excursion or field trip, you can download a comprehensive record for each child.

Track Activity Attendance

We know that marshalling groups of students off-campus can be like herding monkeys, yet it’s important you record which students are present without having to fumble for a pencil and clipboard.ParentPaperwork lets you record attendance for each student for each activity via a dedicated mobile-friendly page – you could literally be standing at the bus door checking off students using your phone.

ParentPaperwork lets you record attendance for each student, for each activity, via a dedicated mobile-friendly page. You can literally be standing at the bus door checking off students using your phone.

Parents Review Care Information via your Parent Portal

Schools already love our integrations with their parent portal, whether it’s via Schoolbox, SEQTA or a bespoke portal. Now parents have access to review their child’s health and care information as well.

Automated pre-activity Reminder Emails

ParentPaperwork will automatically send reminders just before an activity, with links to the full information in ParentPaperwork, plus the dedicated mobile-friendly page to mark attendance.

Slip Notes

We know there is all manner of information associated with planning an excursion, field trip or, indeed, any activity for your students. So we’ve added a new Notes function to your Slips. Each staff member can record their Notes in a convenient timeline, available to all the staff associated with the Slip.

Each staff member can record their Notes in a convenient timeline, available to all of the staff associated with the Slip.

Control Staff access to Student Care information

A student’s health and care information often contains highly personal and, sometimes, very sensitive information. We have added a new set of permissions so you can control which staff can edit and view this information.

Student Record Audit Log

Privacy, security and accountability are key to ParentPaperwork’s paperless online forms platform, and so we now give School Administrators access to a complete and detailed audit log of not just the changes and updates for a Student’s information but also which staff have viewed the information.

Free to Current Customers

And here’s the best news of all…

The Activity Care Module is free to all existing customers. Plus, it’s free to new customers who sign up before the end of 2017.

Contact us now to stop herding the monkeys. Enable ParentPaperwork’s Activity Care Module in your school today.

ParentPaperwork nominated for Best National Digital Solution in World Summit Awards

ParentPaperwork has been nominated as Best National Digital Solution for Australia in the international World Summit Awards, selecting digital innovation with impact on society.

With this nomination, ParentPaperwork qualifies for evaluation by the WSA Online Jury 2017 among a further 391 international nominations.

The World Summit Award continues to showcase the full gamut of digital innovation – from Mexico to New Zealand, from Qatar to Germany. In the WSA nominees 2017, we can see the richness, diversity, future and innovation of digital solutions on a global scale, and evidence of how digital technology can improve society on each corner of the world.

These nominees have been selected carefully by the WSA National Experts from more than 178 UN member states, who nominate up to eight projects for each country – one for every WSA category. From this point forward, nominees will be evaluated based on seven fundamentals criteria: Content, Functionality, Design, Technology, Innovation, Impact and Global/UN value.

Given the processes to evaluate and accept a nominee, a nomination to the WSA is already an award in itself – the qualification to compete and compare on an international level, as well as being the best practice in digital solutions nationally.

About the WSA
The World Summit Award is a global initiative within the framework of the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). WSA is the only ICT event worldwide that reaches the mobile community in over 180 countries. WSA highlights digital content improving society and focuses on local content with global relevance.

Visit the WSA at www.worldsummitawards.org, or on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #WSA17

Media Contact World Summit Award:
Manuela Wagner
Network Development & Communications, World Summit Awards
[email protected]
+43.660.630408.7

wsa_logo_2017_national_nominee

Parent stress over permission slips goes off the charts

We’ve always known that permission slips are a constant bugbear for both parents and schools – after all, that’s why we created a business directly addressing that problem. But even we were amazed when satirical page Cottesloe Barbie decided to roast parent permission forms and received a reaction that went through the roof.

As the anonymous Editor in Chief of Cottesloe Barbie tells us, “That particular post has just risen in the last day (14th September 2017) to be the number one post we’ve ever had, with a reach of 112K, 1.8K reactions, 462 shares and over 500 comments.”

So what’s all the fuss about? Read below and you’ll see why Cottesloe Barbie hit the nail on the head with their hilarious depiction of parental permission grievances. And, if you’re laughing because it’s so true, tell your school about ParentPaperwork as soon as possible so we can make such frustrations a thing of your past.

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MEDIA RELEASE: ParentPaperwork at CommunicAsia 2017

Leading Australian education technology company ParentPaperwork is excited to be exhibiting at CommunicAsia 2017, the 28th International Communications and Information Technology Exhibition Conference in Singapore 23 to 25 May.

Every parent, teacher and administrator in every school in the world knows the pain of paper forms. Permission slips, lunch orders, surveys, consents, detention notices – K-12 schools, kinders and ELC’s use paper forms for hundreds of activities and tasks every year – the average school sends 30 or more paper forms home for each student in a year.

Paper forms are an enormous cost and labour drain for schools whose budgets are already stretched to breaking, plus a huge cost to the environment. Paper, copying, distribution, the endless inevitable chasing of non-returned forms and the collating and reporting of thousands upon thousands of pieces of information are all a waste of staff time and money.

ParentPaperwork is easily the most comprehensive, fully featured, administration data capture, management and reporting platform for K-12 schools, kinders and ELC’s in the world. ParentPaperwork replaces all the paper forms and moves them to a secure cloud-based online platform, with every form for every student available at the click of your mouse.

Hundreds of schools in eight countries now use ParentPaperwork to send online forms to their parents, and capture and report the responses – and see huge savings in time and money and improvements in liability management as a result.

The ParentPaperwork suite includes:

  • Broadcasts – One way messages and alerts to parents via SMS and Email
  • Parent Slips – Replace paper forms between existing parents and your school
  • Student Slips – Empower students within the administrative process
  • Absentee Slips – The new generation of student absentee notifications
  • Admin and Enrolment Slips – Free up your staff’s administrative time whilst better ensuring compliance

Recently ParentPaperwork announced the launch of its most important new feature in twelve months – sending online forms to Students. Sports registrations, subject electives selection, school council elections, student surveys; and prefect voting – all can now be handled via ParentPaperwork.

ParentPaperwork integrates with a wide range of other education technology products and is especially proud to partner with leading K-12 software company Schoolbox. The partnership sees ParentPaperwork fully integrated into the Schoolbox parent portal to provide one destination for all of a parent’s interaction with their school. The seamless integration between the two platforms enables parents to view and complete school forms and slips online.

ParentPaperwork’s CEO Ms Fiona Boyd says:

“Traditional paper-based processes are quite simply broken and no longer workable in today’s world, where accountability, risk management and statutory compliance are critical issues for school leaders globally. ParentPaperwork provides your school with a robust, secure system to replace all your paper forms.

ParentPaperwork integrates with a school’s existing software such as their student information database and learning management system to provide a seamless experience for parents.

With the launch of our new forms to Students functionality I can confidently say ParentPaperwork is easily the most comprehensive, fully featured administration data capture, management and reporting platform for K-12 schools in the world.

I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to discuss digitisation with schools in Singapore at CommunicAsia, with the Singapore Government recently embarking on a significant program to make public services more accessible and productive through better use of technology, such as through the digitisation of government records.”

ParentPaperwork will be exhibiting as part of the Victorian Government’s Trade Delegation to CommunicAsia at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore 23 – 25 May 2017.

Parents can now manage their ParentPaperwork forms inside Schoolbox

We are now pleased to advise ParentPaperwork is now integrated with leading Australian learning management system Schoolbox, for parents to view and complete their online forms.

Parent portals are an increasing part of a school’s technology stack, it makes sense to concentrate a parent’s online interaction with their children’s school into a single point of contact. There’s nothing calculated to drive parents up the wall more than telling them they need to register and sign into a plethora of web sites.

This is a major reason why ParentPaperwork is not a ‘destination’ for parents. They might click our online form links, but we don’t require them to create an account or sign in. Instead we see ParentPaperwork as a piece of infrastructure a school can integrate with and deploy into their existing technology stack.

Schools Love Schoolbox

Schools love Schoolbox, and we do too. It’s a fantastic Melbourne-made software-as-a-service LMS, built by a group of talented people who are determined to create the best possible set of tools for K-12 schools.

schoolbox-pp

The integration set up is simple and there is no cost to your school. Parents can click a link in the Schoolbox portal and view a history of previously submitted forms, plus complete new forms. If you have our Admin and Enrolment Forms module they can even create their own new forms.

schoolbox-pp2

A Terrific Triumvirate

Don’t forget, if you also have the Digistorm schoolAPP, ParentPaperwork integrates to that as well. It’s a fantastic triumvirate – ParentPaperwork + Schoolbox + Digistorm schoolApp. Terrific convenience for your parents, reduced workload for school staff.

Parents can now use the Digistorm schoolAPP for Schoolbox to receive and submit online forms

A key goal for us at ParentPaperwork is ensure we are a cooperative part of the education technology landscape, and a signature strategy towards that goal is promoting interoperability between ParentPaperwork and other high quality products.

Many schools in Australia, and increasingly overseas, use the Schoolbox learning management system. And many of them use the terrific Digistorm schoolAPP for Schoolbox.

We are pleased to announce that ParentPaperwork is now fully integrated with the Digistorm schoolAPP.

When a message is sent to parents advising there is a new Slip for them to complete, this is also delivered as an in-app notification to their phone. Then when they open their app they have all their childrens’ ParentPaperwork forms at their finger tips, both previously completed ones, and forms yet to the submitted.

The new Slips can be completed and submitted right there inside the app. The ease of use and convenience is fantastic.

Notifications

When a new Slip is sent  to parents, a notification will show on their phone. They can tap the notification to open the Digistorm app and complete the form.

App Menus

A new menu option is displayed in the Digistorm app.

Tapping this link will open a list of Students with a count of any outstanding Slips for each.

Tapping the name of a Student will open a list of Slips, with incomplete ones at the top (highlighted with a red dot), and completed Slips at the bottom (green dot).

Tapping a Slip name will open the online form from ParentPaperwork directly in the app browser window, so a Slip can be completed and submitted, or viewed if it has already been submitted.

There is no cost for a school to use the ParentPaperwork integration to the Digistorm schoolApp. Just contact our Support Team to arrange for the connection between ParentPaperwork and Digistorm to be configured.

 

 

 

Interning as a Data Scientist at ParentPaperwork

LinkedIn Photo
Juan Daza

University of Melbourne, Masters of Information Technology student Juan Daza shares his experience interning as a Data Scientist at ParentPaperwork across the Australian summer.

The University of Melbourne currently runs the Tin Alley internship program where students have the opportunity to apply to great companies in Victoria. Tin Alley has been named Australia’s best internship program and I was honored to be a part of this summer’s intake. One of the companies who gave students the opportunity to get hands on experience was ParentPaperwork and I have been working with the team in the role of Data Scientist.

In this blog post, I want to take you through part of my journey and ParentPaperwork’s goal to empower hundreds of schools with tools to make better informed decisions and more importantly, reach a 100% response rate from parents to slips.

I believe that the first step to make informed decisions is to have the facts and information at hand, which is why one of my main tasks was to assist in the development of the real-time analytical dashboard with key metrics for schools to understand their patterns of use and behaviours.

Data visualisation is a powerful tool in any Data Scientist’s tool box, so I set out to explore the data using Python and SQL and through multiple iterations develop simple yet powerful and self-explanatory visualisations.

I found key metrics that would allow schools to understand their current situation and trigger their curiosity. In conjunction with the team at ParentPaperwork I defined the following metrics.

    • Average response rate (AVR): This is defined as the number of parents who respond to the slips sent to them.
    • Average response time (AVT): The average time it takes parents to respond the slips received.
    • Slips returned by due date: The percentage of slips that are returned before the due date.
    • Timely parents: The number of parents that respond before the slip’s due date.
    • Total Number of forms and broadcast sent.I was mindful of the importance of having the right data displayed at the right time which is why I made sure that my data cleansing process was thorough.

In many cases, slips are sent to both parents and only one parent responds which means that if I calculated the response rate based on the available data, then the number would be biased because I would always have one responded slip and one unanswered slip. I had to develop some cleansing techniques to deal with this fact and get a clean and unique dataset from which I could query freely. I tested some powerful Python functions to wrangle ParentPaperwork’s large dataset and to find the correct dataset to achieve what I wanted to do.

I had to take additional considerations whilst analysing other metrics. As an example, while analysing the average response time from our parents I found an interesting fact. My calculations of the arithmetical average response time were of roughly 80 hours. This meant that on average, a parent responded to a slip every 80 hours or around 3 days. This is an amazing turnaround since paper based forms have a turnaround of around two weeks or more.

However, once I drilled down to the data I found some interesting insights. To look further into this, I set out to understand parents behaviour and I analyzed the response rate progression in the first 30 hours. I thought that the best way to do this was to visualise the behavior of this metric within the first hours of having sent it.

Reverse Burndown Chart

Figure 1. Completion Percentage per Time to Complete

We can clearly see how responses behave. At first, there are very timely parents that respond within a couple of hours and as time passes by, slips get more and more responses making the average response rate higher. Eventually it would reach the Global Average Response Rate which is around 75%

After this, I wanted to understand how many responses are received once the slips are sent. I developed a histogram to get an answer to this question.

Histogram

Figure 2. Response Frequency per Time to Respond

As it can be seen from the graph, parent responses have a very long tail, however most responses received occur in the first 30 hours of sending the slips. At the time of writing this article, around 60% of the responses were received during the initial 30 hours.

Taking this into account, I decided to calculate the weighted average based on the amount of responses received in each time slot. Using this method, I found an average of approximately 9 hours which is a very impressive number. Additional considerations such as night hours might be taken into account to adjust the average response time but in this instance, I will not go further into it.

Answers to many more questions were developed by following a thorough process where I drilled down in the data to find useful hints. I created groups of parents and found those who consistently respond late (or don’t respond) and determined based on the time of day what are the response times and response rates overall. All of these features will be rolling out gradually to help schools make better decisions. This comes to show how at ParentPaperwork various techniques are deployed to work towards making it a data driven organisation.

Stay tuned because over the coming months more news about the upcoming Data Analysis module will be released. The new Analytics Dashboard is now available to all ParentPaperwork schools.

ParentPaperwork launches game-changing new online forms feature for students

We have big news for ParentPaperwork schools to kick off 2017! We are pleased to announce the launch of our most important new feature in twelve months – sending online forms to Students.

Hundreds of schools in seven countries now use ParentPaperwork to send online forms to their parents and staff, and capture and report the responses – and they all see huge savings in time and money as a result.

We listen carefully to the feedback from our schools – and for some months they’ve been saying how much they love the current modules, but then list all the forms they need to send to students, like sports registrations, subject electives selection, school council elections, student surveys; and prefect voting.

The ParentPaperwork team mused on this feedback for a couple of months and figured out the best way to deliver student form functionality to our schools customers. Over the Australian summer our tech team has worked hard to create this new functionality and we’re very proud to reveal it to you.

A new Module within the ParentPaperwork Suite

Now when you set up a new form, you have the choice of it being completed by either the parent or the student. You can also ask that a read only copy be sent to the other – so send a form to parents with cc to students; or send a form to students with a cc to parents. Everybody gets kept in the information loop – no unnecessary surprises!

We’re very excited about this brilliant new functionality. The ParentPaperwork team is proud to offer it at no charge to all our current full suite subscription customers (those with both Parent Slips and School Forms modules). We will be charging for this feature for newbies in the year ahead, so this is our special gift to you for your input, ideas and savvy!

You can now select students to complete a form

Traditional paper-based processes are quite simply broken and no longer workable in today’s world, where accountability, risk management and statutory compliance are critical issues for school leaders globally. ParentPaperwork provides your school with a robust, secure system to replace all your paper forms.

With the launch of our new Slips to Students functionality we can confidently say ParentPaperwork is easily the most comprehensive, fully featured, administration data capture, management and reporting platform for K-12 schools, kinders and ELC’s in the world. And it’s all built and managed right here in Melbourne, Australia, with customers as far afield as the Czech Republic, Canada and Portugal.

This is just the start of what we’ve planned to be a huge year! The ParentPaperwork team has several major new features slated for 2017 and I can’t wait to tell you all about them over the coming months, especially the forthcoming Metrics and Data Analysis Module!

Helping Australian and New Zealand schools get ready for 2017

If you work in a typical school then you’re about to begin one of the largest and most important behind-the-scenes tasks in your school year.

You’ll be sending out re-enrolment forms, Year Level contact forms and seeking to update medical details for the student body. This is a 5 to 6 week epic journey that includes:

  •  preparing the forms
  •  preparing the data
  •  sending the forms to parents – post, schoolbag, general email
  •  chasing form return
  •  inputting updated data into your student management system
  •  checking for mistakes and inaccuracies
  •  collating the data
  • crossing fingers that it’s all okay

What’s the secret way?

Yet this whole process could be much, much easier. It’s a secret that  ParentPaperwork schools know and have been keeping from you!  Schools who use ParentPaperwork remove the human labour component and let technology do the work for them. Using our platform to distribute your forms and capture and report your data, can reduce the time it takes to complete the re-enrolment process to a matter of days.

The school and parents are the winners here!

We know from the experienced educators on our team, that parents dread receiving the annual student update and re-enrolment forms and greet them mentally as one would the family member who makes a scene at Christmas lunch every year. They’ve got to be attended to but every minute spent filling them out is done through gritted teeth.

On ParentPaperwork your re-enrolment forms can capture:

  •  commitments to policies
  •   contact details
  •   medical updates
  •   global permissions
  •   any other data that you need to capture from parents before the school         year commences.

And something that will really get you excited…

Once you have this information captured ParentPaperwork will pre-fill on future re-enrolment forms. Meaning parents are not filling out the same information, like Medicare numbers and Ambulance details over and over.

We have to ask – what would the value of this elegant re-enrolment solution be to your school community?

Setting up for 2017 – Current Customers

In the meantime, current ParentPaperwork schools are thinking about getting ready for the 2017 school year. Here are some common tasks to consider for later in December or in January:

  • Move students who left at the end of 2016 to a new Student List;
  • Remove students from Year Level and Class Student Lists;
  • Re-import your students and parents to ensure existing students are allocated to the correct Student Lists; and new students and parents records are created;
  • Archive Slips from last year so whilst they are easily accessible, they’re not displayed by default when you are viewing your Parent Slips list;
  • Disable staff who have left the school; add new Staff Users.

Back to School Forms

ParentPaperwork is the perfect solution for all your global or blanket permission forms: photo permissions; policy consents; head lice checks and the forms you wish parents to complete and return before day one, term one 2017.

Once your students and parents for 2017 are organised in ParentPaperwork it is a doddle to set up your Back to School forms and distribute. Then you can sit back and watch as the responses roll in.

We’d be delighted to help you get ready for 2017. If you’d like assistance setting up your students/parents, and/or sending out back to school forms, please email [email protected]