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Have you ever wanted to be a fly on the wall in another school’s office? Of course you have! Well now is your chance. This week on School Stream, we go behind the scenes at a not-for-profit preschool in NSW, and a small Catholic primary school in Darwin to talk school communication strategies. It’s the first installment of our two-part deep dive looking at how schools of all kinds keep their parent communities engaged – so please stay tuned for part 2 in the coming weeks.

We’re here for all kinds of schools. From preschools all the way through to secondary school, School Stream can help you save time, money and engage your parent community. Watch this short video to see School Stream in action or keep reading to take a sneak peek behind the scenes at two schools.

St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, Darwin City, NT

Number of students: 180

Staff: 32 in total (including the teaching staff, leadership team, administrators and support staff)

St Mary’s Catholic Primary School is a lovely, caring school in central Darwin. They are a school community with strong values and an inclusive culture that promotes an active partnership between home, school, parish and community.

We spoke to Deputy Principal Christine Ferreira about what prompted St Mary’s to introduce an app.

“Last year we completed a communication survey with the parents and the feedback we had was that while we had good communication with parents, it was quite scattered. We were sending things via paper, email, Facebook and the class app and parents were missing things. 

School Stream appealed to us because it’s a one stop shop. It ticked all the boxes. It doesn’t matter what parents were looking for, School Stream could provide everything. We were initially looking for a way that we could do online payments and permission forms.”

What challenges has School Stream helped St Mary’s with?

“It has streamlined our communication and how we engage with parents. We’re able to reach and communicate with all families quickly and easily. We also use it to communicate with staff so we have been able to streamline our communication processes school-wide. The other thing that it really helped with was the school calendar and events. The calendar was on our website, but parents weren’t going there. Our next step is to go cashless.” 

We’re referring to School Stream as our one stop shop. That’s how we communicate it to parents, and the feedback is that they love it.

“Another thing to mention, because we found this really helpful and I think other schools will find this useful too, is that School Stream is integrated with CES which is where our parent data is stored. So parents are automatically approved to use the app and they’re grouped by year level which means we can really target them with relevant information.”

Thank you so much to Christine Ferreira for taking the time to share her experience. 

Taree & District Preschool

Number of families accessing the Centre: 70

Number of staff: 10 in total

Taree & District Preschool is a community, not-for-profit preschool which cares for and nurtures the children from 70 families in the area. We spoke to Josie Corben about how the preschool uses School Stream to keep in touch with their parent community – including a very innovative approach that ensures parents have Covid-safe access to the Day Books each day. 

“We started thinking about an app as we were looking at different ways to lessen our impact on the environment. I like that School Stream is an Australian owned business and you can speak to the same people if you call or email, and you can build a relationship. I have spoken to Brad, Va and Amy and they have all been very helpful. The parents love it. It’s very straightforward to use and easy to navigate.” 

What challenges has School Stream helped Taree & District Preschool with?

“It was priceless when we had the bushfires around here. We had to send out an evacuation notice and it was one hour from sending the alert, to everyone being out (of the centre).”

“Families use it for absenteeism a lot as well. If they’re up at 3am with a sick child, they can just send the message on the spot and it’s done. Because it’s free for families to use, it really helps with compliance.”

“We also like the translation feature. We’ve got some linguistically diverse families, so they can use this feature translate the information going home. We send a newsletter once a term and we use School Stream for the newsletter as well. We send a link on the app and then families have the information to refer to whenever they need it.”

“We used to have parents coming into the centre at the end of the day to collect their children and they could go through the day book to see what has been happening. They can’t do that anymore because of Covid, so now we scan the Day Book from each room and send it out as an alert each day.”

A big thank you to Josie for taking the time from her busy day to share how she uses School Stream so effectively.

We hope you’ve enjoyed these insights into how schools at all levels and in all shapes and sizes use School Stream to achieve their parent engagement goals. Thanks again to everyone who took the time to chat with us. If you would like us to feature your school – please get in touch.

Are you ready to talk school communication? Let’s get started.