Empowering a network of schools, parents and students.
The Catholic Education Services - Diocese of Cairns (CNS) oversees a network of 29 Catholic schools and colleges, serving over 11,000 students. Their schools span across an incredibly far-reaching region (encompassing 377,000 km2), extending from Thursday Island in the north to Tully in the south and Dimbulah in the west.Alison Forster, School Information Systems Manager at CNS, shares the network's EdSmart story.
How has EdSmart met the needs of the network?
EdSmart has been serving the Diocese of Cairns since early 2017, and has been used in a variety of applications in order to meet the needs of all schools in the network, including our boarding schools and those in remote locations.
We now use EdSmart to manage parental communications for excursions, incursions, media consent processes and much more. The system has supported the Diocese's priorities, improving parent engagement and streamlining digital processes to encourage consistency and accuracy across the board.
"We encourage our schools, who are organising overseas trips, to use EdSmart from the beginning so they can collate who's got a passport, who's got immunisations, when deposits and fees are paid, all of the really important stuff. You've got the whole tour, you've got your paperwork or your documentation for tour readily accessible and all generated by sending a Parent Slip."
How have parents and staff reacted to EdSmart?
Since deploying EdSmart, we've seen a substantial increase in parent engagement, bettering the way that our schools communicate with parent communities. Our administrators are supported by the system's accurate data insights and response tracking.
The response from parents has been great - they just get it. I have parents telling me how much they love [EdSmart] and how easy it is to use with everything in one place.
As for staff in the schools, I was met with a wave of excitement when first rolling out the system.When we first launched it, I ran drop-in sessions or information sessions, and people wanted to get on-board with it more quickly than I could keep up with!
What are the key benefits you've seen using EdSmart?
We welcomed the deployment of EdSmart in place of cumbersome paper-based systems, which made school staff feel snowed-under and were difficult to manage.
One of our schools had been using a quadruplicate carbon copy book to hand out detention notices. When a student got a detention after school, they would write it in this handmade carbon copy book – one slip would go to this person, one would go to the year coordinator, one would go to the teacher, one would go home, one would go to the office!
With EdSmart, the school has set up a digital Parent Slip for detention, which can be easily actioned by an educator or administrator with required details (e.g. selected students, reason for detention, etc). A copy is then sent to all relevant stakeholders (e.g. parents of the student and staff).
EdSmart has been used to transform the way schools in the Cairns Diocese operate, and has created consistency across a diverse and widespread group of schools.
"Our parents love the immediacy of EdSmart and we now average between 95% and 97% response rate within a week of sending out a notice. " Burnside Primary, South Australia