We often talk about our mission here at School Stream: to enable schools to become leaders in school communication. But what that does that actually mean for you – the Principals and Business Managers at the coal face? We spoke to Principal Greg Cross to see how School Stream works for the school community at Bathurst South Public School.
Greg Cross has been the principal at Bathurst South Public School for the past eight years and is an experienced Principal with 15 years of experience across the region. The school has 245 students in ten classes. In addition to teaching staff, there are two Assistant Principals, two full-time Administrative staff and three School Learning Support Officers.
On communicating with parents prior to School Stream:
‘We used “everyday technology”: Facebook, a website, and a weekly newsletter that was sent out to parents and uploaded on to the school website. If a message was urgent, I used to make an announcement on local radio and hope parents were listening. If an excursion was late back, we put a chalkboard at the front gate. I didn’t have a mechanism to give specific information about everyday school activities that I was sure would capture all parents in an instant.’
What motivated the change to School Stream?
‘A couple of years ago we had to postpone the athletics carnival four mornings in a row due to wet weather. We made the announcement on the radio, but the phones were still running hot with parents asking if the carnival would go ahead. I thought: “there has to be a better way to communicate what’s happening to our parents instantly”. A colleague up the road was using School Stream and he spoke highly of the support team and how easy the app is to use. I can honestly say I made a very wise decision and wouldn’t dream of using anything else.’
On the Benefits of using School Stream:
‘School Stream is very easy to self-learn and my office staff used the webinar to teach themselves. The app control panel is so easy to use. It’s saved us a lot of time in administration and allowed us to connect with our community. It’s unparalleled at the moment because of the nature of the app. Another benefit is that it’s so easy for parents to report any absences using the template. Our explained attendance rate has jumped through the roof and it’s been a significant benefit to our school that I didn’t think of when signing up to the app. It’s just so immediate with the technology.’
On Overall Experience of using School Stream:
‘What I love even more is that I can always ring a telephone number for support and I get someone straight away. The help and assistance is first rate. I’ve never been put on hold and the support staff know what they are talking about.’
How have parents embraced School Stream?
‘When we first started the process of implementing the app, we put the instructions on how to download it in our newsletter and on our Facebook page, and the traction from our school community was very quick. We now know we’ve got instant engagement. School Stream is a quick and easy way of communicating. The feedback has all been very positive’.
Advice to other principals:
‘I was reluctant initially, as I wasn’t sure at first how School Stream would work. Quite often when new things come into schools there is always a lot to learn and you wonder what difference it is actually going to make in the end. But it’s not more work. It’s time-saving. Have a look at School Stream. It’s very easy to use. You’ll be more than pleasantly surprised and wonder why you didn’t do it earlier.’
A big thank you to Greg Cross for taking the time to share his insights. See how School Stream can work for you by taking the School Communication Quiz here.