Have you ever wondered about life in a small, regional and remote school? Well, this is your lucky week. School Stream is thrilled to present our case study on a dynamic remote and regional school in Far North Queensland: Abergowrie State School. With a total of 13 students and a small staff, we think you are going to be really interested in how School Stream has lessened the communication load for their teaching principal and how effectively they have solved the age-old problems presented by paper permission slips. A big thank you to Principal Laura-Beth and Business Manager Michele Coventry for taking the time out from their very busy days to share their insights.
Are you a small school interested in streamlining your communication with parents? Get in touch to learn more about how we support small schools, or keep reading for our feature on Abergowrie State School.
Fast facts: Abergowrie State School
Location: Abergowrie State School is located in the Shire of Hinchinbrook in Far North Queensland. Abergowrie is just over an hours’ drive north of Townsville and three hours south of Cairns.
Staff: Two teachers (including a Teaching Principal), two teacher aides and one administrator.
Abergowrie State School is committed to establishing a positive culture of high expectations for learning and life. Complementing their curriculum is a wide range of activities including cooking, life skills, cross country, science excursions and more. They are an actively sustainable school and are very proud to be a Reef Guardian School. This is one dynamic, engaged and warm-hearted school.
What prompted you to introduce a mobile school communication app for Abergowrie State School?
“Our communication with parents was heavily based on phone calls and text messaging. This set-up led to a lot of doubling-up responses to parents’ questions and queries and therefore was poor on time-management. A lot of that fell to our teaching principal to manage. Now, it falls back to me as the Business Manager and has taken that load from Laura-Beth (The Principal).”
“Using School Stream has created a platform where more detailed information can be broadcast to all parents, while still allowing for messaging responses, and you can see when parents have read the message. The other thing that is really lovely is that parents feel like it’s very personalised because they can message back if they need more information.”
How has School Stream helped support yourself as the Business Manager and Laura-Beth as a Teaching Principal?
“We used to hand out paper permission forms to students. This posed a few problems: students forgetting to give them to their parents, students forgetting to hand them back once signed, parents not remembering to sign them until the last minute and then somehow trying to physically get them back to school. School Stream has really resolved all of these issues and created a streamlined approach to permission form delivery to parents, and parents being able to sign and submit at any time, from anywhere.”
“The real time submission of permission forms has made the whole procedure much more time efficient.”
“There is less chasing up parents, I can just post a reminder notice, and check that all parents have seen it. We have also reduced our paper usage in this area, and as a school actively engaged in sustainable learning programs, this is very important to us.”
“Using the schedule feature on notices really helps to keep things organised and tackle each parent communication as it arises instead of waiting until the next week to do it.”
“Engagement with parents has improved as we can provide them with more details about school and P&C projects more easily. Being able to deliver notices to a select audience of parents has also proven to be very valuable.”
How did you decide School Stream would be the app best suited to Abergowrie State School?
“School Stream actually contacted us. They explained how School Stream works and offered us an appealing package. We don’t have an IT Manager, but we can assess the situation that we have and go from there. We are pretty comfortable with our decision!”
Does being a remote or small school pose any specific challenges to parent communication? Things like the distances students travel to come to school or patchy internet coverage?
“No, I don’t think so. As far as the app is concerned, it’s very reliable and being a remote school doesn’t have a bearing on that. “
Once again, a big thank you to Michele for taking the time to share her experiences with us and we wish everyone at Abergowrie State School the best for the rest of the school year.
Are you ready to learn more about how School Stream can help your school? Let’s get started.