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 support@parentpaperwork.com

An easier way to select Student Lists for Slips and Broadcasts

The current Student List selector has been a little problematic for schools with many Student Lists, so we have added a ‘typeahead’ box at the top of the box displaying available Lists on the left side. Simply start typing the name of the List you are looking for and the available options will automatically filter to reflect the text you enter.

It’s a easy way to quickly locate the Student List you need amongst dozens or hundreds.

Obviously it’s important to have your students organised in way that makes sense for your school, and then be able to select those via the Student Lists when you wish to send out a Slip or Broadcast.

Some of our larger ParentPaperwork schools over time have amassed a great many Student Lists. Others are maintaining a large number just day to day because we are not just pulling Year Levels, Home Rooms lists from their student database, but subject classes, co-curricular and others. The new typeahead feature makes finding and selecting Lists super simple.

The same works in reverse, if you have selected a large group of Student Lists you can locate one to remove from the Slip/Broadcast by typing the name of the desired list into the box at the top of the right hand column of selected Lists.

 

Archive ParentPaperwork Student Lists

Student Lists are a great way to organise groups of Students to whom you will be sending Parent Slips. The Lists could be the students’ home rooms, the swimming team, the brass band – whatever you like. A Student can be assigned to any one or more of the Student Lists, and you can maintain as many Lists as you like. If we have a live connection to your student management database then ParentPaperwork can be reading any student groupings you might have in the database as well.

We have introduced the ability to archive Student Lists that you are not actively using, but which you wish to maintain for future reference or use.

When viewing the list of Student Lists select one or more by clicking the corresponding checkbox, then click the Action drop and select Move Selected to Archive. The Lists will no longer display by default in the ‘Current’ view, but you see them anytime by selecting Archive from the dropdown in the search bar and clicking the Search button.

 

6 simple reasons to invest in digital data management

tower of playing cards falling

Non-educational businesses commonly have larger swathes of staff dedicated to the disciplined management of records and data. It’s rarely an option for overtaxed schools with other priorities. But it’s becoming too important to put off.

Schools are in a position to lead in this area. Student data represents a uniquely sensitive batch of data-sets. Protecting and defending this information, not to mention using it to optimally enhance student experience, is central to the modern educational mission.

Here are some simple, but critical, benefits of modernising your data management:

1) Security

While digital systems aren’t immune from risk, they’re considerably more reliable than physical document distribution, where human error is given and risk of information going rogue is high. The security provided through a fit-for-purpose data management system protects personal and organisational liabilities. That trust translates into better relationships with staff and parents.

2) Lower overheads

A modest initial investment pays for itself quickly when you add up the staff and production time involved in paper-based data management. Reduce duplication of effort and output, collect and distribute more information in less time, and no don’t pay for paper, photocopying or other unnecessary costs.

Read more: How much does paper cost your school?

3) Redundancies & fail safes

If your system for capturing, holding and retrieving data is robust with distributed access, you’ll have built in buffer if something goes awry. No single individual becomes a single point of failure if they’re not available, and electronic triggers can protect you against a range of likely (or unlikely) scenarios.

4) Productivity

Quicker and more trustworthy access to information boosts workflow productivity. Productivity has a flow on effect, opening up more opportunities to improve other common processes. Getting to the end goal speedily gets notices – staff and parents both will appreciate not waiting around to complete a task or validate that a task has been completed.

shoe slipping on banana peel

5) Permissions

Getting a smart, digital information management system in place means you can create different layers and levels of access to suit your organisational needs. This means more can get done, work can scale while still minimising risk, and you can empower your people without compromising standards or safeguards.

6) Piece of mind

At any given moment, can you isolate a piece of key information about a student, and guarantee that information is timely and accurate?  You can’t afford to answer no.

For businesses, good digital record maintenance is an opportunity. For schools, it’s that and more. It’s a chance to work smarter and get more out of information on hand. But it’s also a chance to put distance between educators and overly manual processes, and return to human-to-human conversations.

New feature: Student record updates just got smarter

Paperwork files

The more we work with schools around the world, the more we hear a common thread. Schools need an easy, reliable way for parents to update student records with critical content like medical or personal information.

For sometime ParentPaperwork has had Student Attributes – user-defined fields that can be configured to maintain information about a student.

Now, these can also be used on a Form sent home to parents, creating a powerful tool that allows schools to continuously update the information held on file about a student ( in turn lowering risk and saving time).

The important stuff just got easier

Male teacher working on computer

The obvious use for this feature is the annual student record update process, which we know many schools undertake.

Usually a complete student record is printed out, often half a dozen pages or more, and sent home to parents via school bag or sent through the mail.

Parents are asked to manually mark any changes, and then staff (often casuals hired for the purpose) work through the returned printouts and transcribe updates into the student management system.

It’s an incredibly labour intensive and expensive process, not to mention very prone to human error.

Now with ParentPaperwork, a school can import any number of data elements to the Student records, put them on a Template, then send the Slip to parents. The parents then update the information, and the school can export either all the data, or only the components that have changed.

It’s an elegant, simple and robust way of updating student record information.

Here’s how it works

Importing Student Attributes

There is an Import option for Student Attributes (Click Profile Name > Import Data). Upload is via CSV, the file must contain the Student Id and any number of columns.

After upload the columns can be mapped to Attributes.

Add Student Attribute fields to Form Templates

This feature allows a User to add Student Attributes to Form Templates, to let a Parent update one or more Attributes when they submit a Parent Slip. When in Form Template Design, the User sees a list of their Student Attribute fields along with the standard Form fields. They can drag/drop the fields as usual, the edit options are limited to just the label for the field. All Student Attribute fields are ‘Required’.

Student Attribute fields are shaded pale yellow on the list of available fields for the Parent section of the Template.

Parents see the Attribute fields on their Slips like the normal fields. The fields are pre-filled with the existing Attribute values. Changes to Attribute values as part of a Slip submission are logged.

Parent submit Slip with Student Attributes

Parents see the Attribute fields on their Slips like the normal fields. The fields are pre-filled with the existing Attribute values. Changes to Attribute values as part of an Slip submission are logged.

Export Student Attribute Changes

As previously, the normal ‘Export List’ option on the View Slip page will contain any Student Attributes designated to be included in Exports. Note this will NOT include Attributes that are on the Template but not marked for inclusion in the export.

There are two new options on the ‘Preview/Print’ menu:

  • Export Only Student Attributes on Slip – exports all Student Attributes and values used on the Form Template irrespective of whether designated for export.
  • Export Only Student Attributes Updated on Slip – as above but only delta values are exported, if a value did not change when the Parent submitted the Form, the value does not export.

We’re excited about this new update and look forward to our growing customer community enjoying its benefits.

If you like this new feature, consider sharing it with colleagues below.

Photos: Erich Ferdinand, Unstock