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

Oakleigh Grammar: a case study

Oakleigh Grammar in Melbourne, Australia, was one of the first schools in the world to adopt ParentPaperwork’s online platform at the initial startup phase. Their faith in ParentPaperwork – and the subsequent benefits they’ve experienced by taking on the ParentPaperwork system – have got them singing our praises.

We spoke to Soula Mitsopoulos, Head of Senior School’s PA/VASS Administrator at Oakleigh Grammar, to discover exactly why they’re our number one fans.

Which aspect of ParentPaperwork prompted you to give the system a try?
It was the opportunity for immediate responses, and the ability to export all the required details into a convenient spreadsheet.

What are some of the best things that have happened since implementing ParentPaperwork at your school?
The increase in efficiency in collecting responses and information has been really notable. Also, that we are able to work with the ParentPaperwork team to improve our requirements, as well as get ideas to streamline the processes, means a lot to us.

What was the process of introducing ParentPaperwork into your current school management systems like?
We’re not a huge school (just over 600 students from ELC to Year 12) so the slips are prepared, sent out and the responses monitored by our admin staff. This meant that the internal introduction process was straight-forward. We wrote out to school families explaining how the new process would work prior to implementation.

We haven’t really had any problems using Parent Paperwork to speak of, to be honest. The transition was quite smooth.

How have parents and staff reacted to ParentPaperwork?
The teachers really appreciate not having to collect and chase up returned paper slips. And parents appreciate being able to respond online as soon as they get the notices/slips. Not having to rely on their children – particularly in the case of the younger ones – to remember to hand in a paper slip is a big thing.

What are the key benefits you have experienced? Have there been any unexpected benefits that you didn’t anticipate?
Definitely the reduction in staff time photocopying and in paper use, as well as the timeliness of receiving responses. The ability for our admin staff to answer parent questions regarding their responses without having to chase whomever was receiving paper replies is huge – also the ability to see at a glance who has responded, who has opened their email but not responded and who hasn’t even opened their email to know exactly who needs to be followed up.

What sort of savings are you seeing as a result of using ParentPaperwork? 
We’ve experienced savings in paper use, staff time in photocopying, teaching staff’s time collating returned slips and chasing up those not returned… They’re the main savings we’ve noted.

How important are environmental considerations to your school? How have you seen ParentPaperwork contributing to your school’s environmental goals?
Environmental considerations are very important to our school. ParentPaperwork is helping us to reduce our environmental footprint in the reduction of waste.

What would you say to other schools considering implementing ParentPaperwork into their school? Any handy tips?
I would say they definitely should do it! Parent Paperwork is easy to use, both in setting up and sending the slips then collecting, collating and reporting the information…

We’ve been using ParentPaperwork for over 12 months, and the excellent support and prompt service we get from the team at ParentPaperwork has made the whole process easy. We know we can rely on the system.

Feel free to visit Oakleigh Grammar online at oakleighgrammar.vic.edu.au

Click here for more information on ParentPaperwork.