The integration of internal systems has become pivotal for schools to streamline administrative processes and provide a seamless experience for parents. Somerville House, an all-girls boarding school in Queensland, embarked on a journey to enhance its parent-facing systems by integrating Clipboard (EMS) with TASS (SIS), Schoolbox (LMS), and Digistorm.
This blog highlights the impact of the integration on extracurricular management across all departments, focusing on time-saving for staff, parent satisfaction, and student safety.
Challenges with disjointed parent-facing systems
Before implementing Clipboard, Somerville House faced challenges in extracurricular management due to paper-based processes and disjointed systems that didn't communicate effectively. This posed issues with safeguarding students, tracking their whereabouts, and coordinating co-curricular activities. Peter Yeates, Director of Technology Services, recognised the legislative importance of improved information flow between internal systems.
“Clipboard made a huge difference not only from a technology services perspective but from the sports, music and extracurricular activities (ECAs) that we run. Particularly around the requirements for much more information about where the students are at any point in time in the school, which is legislatively more and more important.”
Solution for Extracurricular Management
The integration of Clipboard with TASS, Schoolbox, and Digistorm brought significant improvements to Somerville House's operations.
“We have made some architectural changes in the backend. We've made sure that we've done the correct things in terms of having the information in TASS to then share with other platforms. By making sure that we adhere to communication rules to the way that TASS has those set up so that we can then share them with Clipboard, for example. Then we've made some modifications to our Digistorm edu app, which is integrated tightly with Clipboard and Schoolbox as well, just to keep everybody all nice and tight together. For example we've put some extra buttons to make it more user-friendly for our parents. They also get the Clipboard notifications about absentees and other changes as well for extracurricular activities - that's a big thing for us.“
The transition from manual methods to Clipboard's streamlined approach reduced administrative tasks and allowed staff to focus on providing quality services.
“It’s got people doing the right job. So HR puts people into the system as new employees, irrespective of their coach type, and then Activity coordinators are dealing with their staff and the activities. They are not doing some of that heavy lifting in spreadsheets or manual bits of paper that got lost, wet or misplaced, means Clipboard definitely reduces double handling.”
Clipboard's integration with parent-facing systems eliminated double handling and reduced the need for manual data entry. Administrative staff could now focus on higher-value tasks, leading to increased efficiency and reduced conflict, such as payroll issues due to missed timesheets by coaches.
The Benefits of Integration on Parent Experience
Clipboard’s real-time communication of notifications to parents about their child’s absence, or ability to pre-log their absence, as well as any venue changes or cancellations, has aided in positive parent experience with co-curricular activity management by Somerville House.
“We want to meet where the parents are because they're the ones that are busy. They're the ones that are taking their girls from place to place and need to know if the venue's changed, or cancelled so they don't have to go at all.”
The integration facilitated accurate tracking of students' participation in extracurricular activities, giving parents clearer visibility of where their girls are at ECAs. Coaches and staff could quickly identify absent students and adapt their plans accordingly, contributing to better student safety and efficient activity management.
“We know much more about where the students are and where they're not. I guess that's the crux of it and the integrations between systems means that you know those coaches can be aware they weren't at school today. So if they're not there right at the start time of the activity, there's a fair likelihood that they're probably not going be there at all. Then the coaches can make that call on the fly about their activity and would follow the processes of communication with parents, marking them absent. This means that coaches can already be starting to be moving in that direction of reorganising the team for the day or, the training, depending on student availability.”
Somerville House School's integration of Clipboard with TASS, Schoolbox, and Digistorm showcases the potential for other educational institutions to enhance parent experience, streamlining operations, and improving student safety. Peter Yeates' insights highlight the positive impact of this integration, making it an invaluable use case for other IT heads and directors at schools looking to optimise their parent-facing systems for better, streamlined outcomes.
“The administrative people, the support people, the payroll, everybody really benefits from Clipboard. It keeps everybody in their right lane. But it also means that everybody's pretty happy with it. In the technology space, sometimes no news is good news.”
“It's always a positive experience, and we just let people know that's how it's been for us.”