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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

 

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 support@parentpaperwork.com

Parents can now ‘sign’ ParentPaperwork’s online forms

Today we are pleased to launch a new feature for our Parent Slips, enabling you to capture a signature from parents when they submit their online forms.

The vast majority of ParentPaperwork schools do not require a parent to physically sign a form. Ever increasingly there is less and less need to actually sign something. In some countries signatures for credit card payments have been discontinued, and with the advent of online transactions and interactions a ‘consent’ or ‘authorisation’ is deemed to have been given through the action of selecting certain options on a web page and submitting the page.

However, we recognise that there is not one common standard, and with schools in seven countries using ParentPaperwork we have now added the capacity to capture a signature from parents.

The signature feature is configurable for each Parent Slip you create, so you can choose to use it for some and not others. You will see the Require Graphic Signature option below the parent fields section. Select Yes if you wish to require parents to provide a signature.

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When the parent clicks through to their form a signature box will be visible. On a computer or laptop they can sign their name using their mouse.

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On a mobile device such as a phone or tablet with a touchscreen they sign their name using their figure.

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Once they have signed and submitted the form you will see the signature when you view the form.

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Send newsletters and alerts to parents with ParentPaperwork

A great many schools have asked us if they can use ParentPaperwork to send newsletters and other information to parents, via email and SMS.

We are pleased to announce availability of the new Parent Broadcast feature, included as part of everyone’s ParentPaperwork annual subscription.

The Broadcast feature lets you send emails and/or SMS text messages to parents without needing a response back. You create the Broadcast in a similar fashion as sending an online form to parents, but there is no need for them to respond. Broadcast is great for distributing your school’s newsletter, or sending alerts or updates to groups of parents.

Many schools now distribute their newsletters via email, or perhaps a mobile app. Both methods have their drawbacks.

If you are using email, then you are probably copying and pasting dozens of addresses into your email program. Or maybe you are using MailChimp, or Constant Contact, or one of the other email newsletter systems – which means importing your parent list each time. And if you want to send an SMS you’ll have to use yet another system.

But what about the mobile apps some schools use? The big problem is you will never have every parent download, install and set up the app. Some parents won’t own smart phones. Others simply won’t want the bother of another app on their phone. So you will never be able to be confident your messages are reaching everyone.

The Broadcast system in ParentPaperwork is different. You can  send a message to the parents on one or more Student Lists, via either email or SMS or both. No fuss, quick and easy. You can immediately communicate with EVERY PARENT in the school, providing you have at least either an email address or mobile phone number on file.

If you wish to make use of SMS notifications you need to ask us to turn this feature on for you. Please email support@parentpaperwork.com and we’ll flick the switch.

You can check whether SMS notifications are enabled by clicking on your User Name at the top right (after logging into ParentPaperwork). Then click Settings, and Configuration.

 

Four major benefits for your school to eliminate the paper chase in 2015

Schools are often seen as conservative in their adoption of new process and ideas, but if there is one habit that schools around the world need to kick in 2015 it’s their significant paper consumption.

Even with all the modern ICT tools deployed in schools today staff and students will still use paper for some tasks, but there are significant savings in both time and cost available to schools that transition their paper-based processes to online tools.

For example each year 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 – and there are clear advantages in considering electronic alternatives.

Here are four major benefits for your school to eliminate the paper chase in 2015 as part of the Workload Challenge

Saving money:

Apart from the obvious expense of purchasing paper plus photocopier and printer consumables, most of the time schools don’t realize the hidden costs associated with staff administrators and teachers managing paper trails.

Transitioning paper forms to an online system makes a great deal of sense.

Document retention policies often require schools to archive their paper forms for a considerable number of years – we’ve heard of some schools whose legal advisors have told them to keep their paper forms indefinitely. Over time storage can become a real cost burden, to ensure the paper forms are held securely and safely.

Not only are online forms quicker to fill out and easier to read, staff will can keep them on record without having to worry about damaged or lost forms – with the ParentPaperwork system the data remains available at the click of a mouse for as long as the school decides.

And of course any cost savings can be redirected into teaching time and resources.

Saving time:

Sending out paper forms such as permission slips is extremely time consuming for administrators and teachers. Creating, approving and copying the forms can involve hundreds of pieces of paper and many hours of work. Then there’s all the stress and hassle that follows when students forget or are late to bring back their forms,  causing headaches for the teachers, principals and administrators.

The last thing teachers need is to waste time standing in front of a photocopier, stuff forms into students’ school bags and chasing parents.

ParentPaperwork lets teachers send out their forms with a click of a button. The forms are delivered directly to parents via email, and are tracked and delivery errors noted, so school staff have  confidence forms have reached the parents. Parents are even automatically sent reminders if they are overdue submitting their forms.

Staff can log into ParentPaperwork at any time to view real time reporting about which parents have responded and submitted their forms. Then all the relevant data can be exported into a single spreadsheet file – no more carrying bundles of paper forms on field trips and excursions.

Saving the environment

There are many great opportunities for schools to adopt environmentally friendly practices, and saving paper is a positive way to contribute to ensuring our kids can look forward to a healthy planet for many decades to come.

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! Using online forms will save those trees and set a positive example to students.

Schools can sign up for a free 30 day trial at www.ParentPaperwork.com

3 Ways to Keeping your Kids Motivated During the Summer Break

There is no doubt that December is one of the busiest months for Parents with the holiday season and end of the year looping. The last day of the terms seemingly creeps up on you when the thought hits… How will I keep my children busy during the summer break? What’s more important how will I make sure they don’t sit around at home watching TV or are on their smart phones playing games all day?

Certainly the summer break can be utilised to learn a new hobby, brushing up on an important subject or creating new experiences that will carry through to your children kicking off Term 1, 2015 on the right foot. Unfortunately some of these solutions are easier said than done with many households limited on time and money during the December/January period.

Here are 3 ways to keep your kids busy with exciting and healthy activities:

Summer Camps– Don’t have as much time as you’d like to spend with your kids with work being busier than ever? Summer camps are a great solution seeing your kids doing activities such as arts, sports and educational based games. They will make new friends, learn from new experiences and go to excursions you may not be able to take them on.

Smart Devices– There is a bunch of great ways to make sure your kids aren’t simply using their smart devices for the latest version of “Angry Birds”. Depending on your child’s age there are a number of free educational based games you can download through the App store that will challenge your children’s memory, knowledge and reading ability. For older kids downloading E-Books through programs such as Kindle will bring a new found motivation for your kids to read the classic greats they might be studying in term 1.

Work Experience– With the current job market being tougher than ever the number 1 factor affecting young graduates the lack of experience. Just because your teenagers are a few years from University doesn’t mean the skills they learn working in retail, hospitality or customer service won’t be relevant in their future careers.  Picking up a casual job or Interning work experience will prepare your kids for the future and may be the x-factor that gets them their dream job many years later.

Have are some links to help you take the next step and keep your kids motivated this summer.

Camp Australia: Running a series of holiday camps across Australia – http://www.campaustralia.com.au/

Auscamp: Outdoor camps and programs- http://www.auscamp.com.au/

Australian Sports Camps: Sports camps across Australia- https://australiansportscamps.com.au/

KidzPhyz: A variety of dance and sports camp across Australia- http://kidzphyz.com.au/

Active8: A variety of programs for kids throughout Summer- http://www.activ8camps.com.au/camps/

Camp Creative: Creative programs for kids in dance, writing, crafts, music, visual arts, voice and much more-http://www.campcreative.com.au/

Apps to download 

Kindle:  Will allow your kids to take interest in classical books while using their smart phone or tablet computer to read them. Kindle can be downloaded through the Apple and Google Play Stores.

Video Science: A growing library of over 80 hands-on Science lessons that are great for home and the classroom. These short videos demonstrate inexpensive and easy to recreate experiments that are designed to inspire and excite kids of all ages.

EarthViewer: Use your fingertips to scroll through Earth history for the last 4.5 billion years.

Khan Academy: Khan Academy’s materials and resources (over 3500 videos) are available to you completely free of charge.

 

 

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.

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 12.54.08 PM

 

New Feature: Send reminders for Slips to Parents; Clone and Delete options moved

Today we have released a great new feature for ParentPaperwork, the ability to trigger additional reminders to parents for Slips they have not yet responded to. Up until now there has only been one automated reminder sent to parents, based on the Due Date for the Slip. If a parent does not respond by the Due Date they are sent an email reminder.

Whilst we are seeing fantastic response rates from parents (in general our analysis shows greater than 50% of parents respond within 24 hours, and many even sooner than that) we all know that some people can require a little ‘hurry up’.

The new feature allows you to schedule a reminder to be sent the next morning for any of your Slips.

After you log in to ParentPaperwork, click through to view your Slip. You will find a new Action drop down menu at the top. There are three options:

  1. Send Reminder
  2. Clone Slip
  3. Delete Slip

send-reminder

The Clone and Delete functions used to be buttons at the bottom of the page, but we decided to move them to this new menu for a couple of reasons: firstly they are not used regularly; secondly the row of buttons at the bottom was quite busy, so we left the buttons we see you using regularly, like Preview, and moved these two.

Clicking the Send Reminder button opens a popup window:

send-reminder-2

If you click the blue Send Reminder button, we will add a new reminder to be emailed to Parents the next morning (the reminders are sent around 7am).

You can only schedule a new reminder for each Slip each day – eg you cannot send more than one reminder for a Slip in a day.