Rangi Ruru's increasing momentum with EdSmart
An independent school for girls in Christchurch, Aotearoa New Zealand, Rangi Ruru offers personalised, holistic education from Years 7 to 13. The school has both day and boarding students and, in 2023, counted 703 pupils in its community.
Rangi Ruru Girls’ School has been an EdSmart partner since 2019 when they adopted the full suite of EdSmart’s School Organisation System capabilities – carte blanche for digitally transforming their administrative process. But they still eased into the implementation, making sure daily use came from an active buy-in from staff, rather than imposition.
For instance, upon launch, the school’s PE and sports departments were the platform’s biggest users, taking advantage of EdSmart’s seamless forms functionality for activities such as overnight stay permissions and sporting events. However, today, the integration of EdSmart into the school’s DNA has seen the platform extend into day-to-day operations right across all areas and all departments.
As Jude Connochie, Rangi Ruru’s Database Manager and EdSmart Champion, admits, no form goes home on paper anymore: “We can use EdSmart for anything.”
School staff say 'yes' to new approvals process
Jude Connochie reports that approval processes are now in place for every form at Rangi Ruru. This has many advantages, one of which is keeping the school’s Assistant Principals informed of everything – and at a glance rather than poring through pages of paperwork or having to track down other busy staff.
Jude believes the development of this approvals process has been seminal in helping organise the school calendar, ensuring there are no overlapping events or staff shortages.
The fact that EdSmart’s data regularly syncs with Rangi Ruru’s other EdTech platforms is another practical yet game-changing feature of the School Organisation System for keeping all data accurate and up-to-date; knowing that the information can be relied on.
In Rangi Ruru’s case, EdSmart has been set up to regularly export lists at the conclusion of an event or activity to capture the necessary data.
Jude admits that EdSmart’s Workflows feature has proven very powerful for organising a number of administrative processes at Rangi Ruru, ultimately saving staff significant amounts of time and making their school life considerably less stressful. Prior to EdSmart, quotidian but important tasks, such as approving leave requests, often involved triple-handling before being formally approved — and that’s if the leave was still available by then.
“It would have been a piece of paper that I would have filled in,” Jude explains. “Then, it would go to my manager who would say ‘Yes, that’s okay’, then it would go to payroll. And then, of course, at that point, there might not have been leave available, but my manager wouldn’t have known that, and then, after all that, it would go to the senior management team.”
Nowadays, Jude says those manual steps in the lifecycle of the form have been replaced by EdSmart’s automation resulting in reduced paperwork, less effort and confusion, and far faster approvals: “It’s so powerful. It’s a much better way.”
In Jude’s words, this approvals process has saved the school “lots of paper…[and]…lots of stress” through its digitisation. It’s also made tracking parent responses easier. There’s no more chasing up responses manually or reprinting forms because of EdSmart’s ability to be configured to send automated reminder notices.
Learning more and getting bolder with EdSmart
As a graduate of the EdSmart Academy, Jude’s not afraid to get creative with her EdSmart usage. One of her initiatives has been the establishment of a ‘Group’ as an approver of forms so, in the event of an individual approver being absent, another staff member can give the required approval and avoid any unnecessary administrative delays.
Another initiative from Jude, prompted by the sports department, has been setting up configurations for monitoring items that go out on loan with students over holidays. This has made it much easier to keep track of the school’s equipment and avoid preventable losses.
“I’ve made it so that it will be very generic, not isolated to one item we are loaning out to people,” she explains. “And, when we’re loaning equipment out, a text box is going to come up to explain it. The other thing that I thought I’d add into it was if there was going to be a charge for students to hire things.”
“Using the configurations part of EdSmart forms is fantastic, and we’ve used it on a number of occasions for a number of things.”
More and more gold-medal 'EdSmart Champions'
Usage of EdSmart has been voluntary at Rangi Ruru, but Jude is pleased to report that adoption of the platform is now widespread: “No one’s been forced to use it, and people have shown genuine interest in learning how to use EdSmart.”
To cope with the demand, Jude conducts EdSmart onboarding sessions for new teachers, while running regular information sessions for existing staff. This L&D process has ensured Rangi Ruru’s teachers become increasingly self-sufficient with the technology. As Jude puts it, the buy-in from staff means that everyone is sharing the experience of “learning new things about EdSmart’s capabilities all the time”.
For the EdSmart team, it’s been truly satisfying to witness this evolution of Rangi Ruru from EdSmart ‘Newbies’ in 2019 to ‘Champions’ in 2023. It’s also cemented EdSmart’s co- Founders’ belief that the automation of seemingly simple tasks can have a profound effect across an entire school community. Once converted to the EdSmart experience, users never turn back, as the Rangi Ruru example proves.