EdSmart Case Study: Our Lady of Mt Carmel Catholic Primary School
By Venessa Paech
Venessa is EdSmart's Director of Marketing.
This Queensland school is getting back more time for teaching by using EdSmart to solve their admin needs.
Meet Gillian Henschke, Enrolments Officer and Secretary at Our Lady of Mt Carmel Catholic Primary School in Coorparoo, Brisbane. The Queensland school is part of the Brisbane Catholic Education network, who use EdSmart across their 140 schools.
Tell us a bit about your story. What do you enjoy most about your work?
I've been working at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Primary School since January 2018, so this is my first year at this school and in this role. I'm the enrolments officer and school secretary. I love the energy of the front office, seeing all the comings and goings, teachers, students and parents. I love it when I can make someone’s life easier by helping them out in some way.
How did you find the EdSmart onboarding and set up process?
I was keen to use EdSmart in our school as I'm a parent at another school who uses it, and enjoyed managing parent paperwork this way.
I was able to watch some helpful video tutorials, and the training with the Success team was when everything fell into place. It was invaluable to be able to run through the process online, ask questions and get coaching as we went along. The support provided by EdSmart since we have taken the program on board has been great. The team are always there to monitor things if I need assistance and can easily help me fix things.
Cup of tea and EdSmart - all set up for the day
How has using EdSmart impacted your admin burden?
After setting up the templates and processes we need, things keep getting easier.
When a teacher asks me to organise excursions, for example, the bulk of the work is done for me. I just need to input the specific details for that activity. It's easy to pull reports from responses and trigger reminders to parents or recipients who haven't signed off. We no longer have reams of paper forms being returned to the office half completed and can keep track of everything - which is great!
It's so easy for parents to give permission immediately once they receive the slip in their inbox. As a parent myself (of two very busy children) I love that I can respond immediately and don’t have to worry about a piece of paper not making it back to school. Our teachers can keep track of who has responded, again without having to keep paper copies. Responses have been so much faster and there is very little chasing of parents to complete permissions.
What are some unexpected benefits/outcomes of using EdSmart?
We have been able to use EdSmart for parents and friends functions, which has been terrific. This has greatly reduced the our admin costs. We can keep track of parents who don't open their emails. The ability to add details like live maps in forms has been a great help to parents going to sporting events.
What advice would you give other EdSmart schools – particularly those who are new to digitisation/automation and might feel overwhelmed or intimidated by heading down this road?
Firstly, just do it. Both the parents and teachers will thank you for it. It has made permissions so much easier at this school. As a parent at another school and a staff member at this school I can't see any disadvantages to using EdSmart as a tool to help run school admin.
The most important thing to keep in mind when setting up templates is ‘What information do you want back?’ Ask specific questions that will provide this information. Ensure when the map pops up relating to the address of the venue provided, it is the correct map. It is fast to send out and the response time is super quick and hassle free for the parents. The responsibility is taken off the student to deliver the notes home safely.
In your view what is the biggest problems facing schools today?
I believe the demand on teachers to document everything leaves little time for teaching and this is one of the biggest problems for schools today. Tools like EdSmart are a big help in solving that.
What excites you most about the way schools are innovating/evolving?
Technology encourages all children to learn, even those not inclined. I love to see the excitement in a child’s face when they have achieved a difficult project and can see the end result. Sometimes they're so engrossed they don't realise they are learning. Technology, coding, robotics all allow this to happen, and this is a promising future.