EdSmart Success Story: St Monica's College, Cairns
By Emma Westwood
Writer | Editor | Content & Digital Strategist
Smart integration of technology in a modern school hits the sweet spot with EdSmart and St Monica's College in Cairns, Australia.
Driving a tech revolution at your school might feel like an uphill battle but introducing the right technology – at the right time and for the right function – can make a world of difference to how your school operates. Schools that hit on that technology sweet spot never look back.
St Monica’s College in Cairns, part of the Diocese of Cairns, is one of those schools.
With a student population of almost 700 young women, St Monica’s boasts a strong track record of inspiring academic achievement. In 2020, the school had the most women in Cairns receiving the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority Award (QCAA) for Academic Excellence.
For a school of this calibre, second best will never be good enough (with anything!).
Making the everyday easier
As well as pursuing academic success, St Monica’s is a bold adventurer in integrating EdSmart’s School Organisation System (SOS) into their day-to-day operations.
Edna Galvin, Principal of St Monica’s College, says the EdSmart digitally automated platform has provided a vast array of benefits across her school’s community – from streamlining the exchange of information and consents between the school and the school community to freeing teachers and administrators from cumbersome manual tasks.
She happily testifies to the positive impact on the quality of learning at her school that EdSmart provides. By automating tasks previously lumped on staff, the St Monica's team has more time to dedicate to students and ensure they get the most from their education, as reflected in the school's academic achievements.
"It's critical to embrace using easy applications that make everyone’s job a lot easier,” she begins. “EdSmart has been a great aid to learning by improving information flow and time management across our entire organisation. It has been excellent for all Parent Slips – particularly when it comes to organising excursions, camps or retreats for the students."
St Monica’s College has embraced EdSmart’s capacity and capitalised on the system’s ease of use by expanding its reach into many different areas of the school. Specifically, the COVID pandemic provided further impetus for everyone to get up-to-speed with EdSmart and use the technology to maintain cohesion and communication channels right across their school community.
As Edna admits, “EdSmart has been a lifesaver for a lot of people because we use it on a whole heap of things now. Our assistant principal in charge of administration, Glenn Carpenter, is very good at encouraging everybody to use it. He has been a driving force in promoting its use.”
“We now use EdSmart for many organisational elements such as our weekly calendar, locking in dates for future events, professional development requests, booking venues and compliance documentation. It was of great assistance during COVID because everyone knew what was happening in the college, so since then, we have extended its use even more – it is the way our weekly college events are booked and then sent out to staff; excursions, risk assessments; camps; permission slips from parents and carers; broadcasts to families; advertising events – it is a most useful platform.
Edna and the St Monica’s community have also been impressed by EdSmart’s contribution to the school’s efficiencies.
"The platform has given us the ability to improve our workflow by linking forms and guides to users through the whole process. Collating documents, and being able to send information to both students and parents easily, has also been of enormous assistance.”
“EdSmart allows staff to competently deal with all the required paperwork and compliance now required of schools – particularly in the ongoing COVID environment – when organising activities without creating extra work."
St Monica’s College + EdSmart: A partnership, not a takeover
Edna Galvin and her team of educators at St Monica’s are dedicated to maintaining a balance between technology and ensuring that an essential human touch remains to support students.
“At the end of the day, teaching is an incredibly personal thing: robots will never replace teachers. We've certainly found out during the learning from home period that students really missed the human element of teaching. EdSmart has given back time to school staff to spend with students and maximise that human element where it matters."
“But technology must help make processes in schools proceed smoothly,” she concludes. “Technology’s role is absolutely critical and, obviously, the easier it is to use, the more you'll get buy-in from the people who will use it.”