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Boggabri PS Transforms Home-School Communication

Boggabri Public School Principal, Ben Carter, sits down with Luke Norman, to discuss his experience implementing Hero at his school.

Boggabri PS NSW Transforms Home-School Communication: An Interview with Principal, Ben Carter

Dive into this interview with NSW Principal Ben Carter as he shares his experience implementing Hero as an all-in-one solution at Boggabri Public School.

 

When you were making the decision about what system to put into your school, what made Hero stand out to you?

Access to information, and the reports that we can gather, to help with decision-making processes. The data is clear, concise, and in language that both staff and parents can understand as well.

What benefits have families experienced at Boggabri PS? 

We've already had parents come back and give us feedback on the Hero app. They've said that it's the easiest platform that they've been able to use so far. They like the functionality, such as reporting an absence through the Hero app.  

We have 100% compliance of all families on board with Hero. We decided that this was going to be our main channel and we've rolled everything onto it. Even some of our most disadvantaged families have been able to engage fully and readily with Hero.Boggabri Blog - Parent Engagement Example

We've started rolling out work samples through Hero - in English, with writing samples, and reading samples, with videos of students reading. Parents like that they can see and hear what their children are learning, as well as that feedback directly from teachers - they don't have to wait for the semester reports.

Now, we’re trying to manage parent’s expectations on how often we roll our information and work samples out! They're excited about having a look at what's happening in the classroom.

They like that they don't have to wait for a report. Many of our parents said they didn't read the student reports, and didn't fully understand what was in them.

Now, seeing their child's face, hearing their voice, seeing their writing, with work samples, and annotations on the work sample, that means more to them.

They’re not waiting until the end of Term 2 and Term 4 to actually see where they're at. From that, we've already had parents request meetings to try and work out what more they can do to support at home.

So there are many benefits of using Hero over previous communications around student learning? 

Oh it's massive - even down to the ability to see who has engaged with the post. We're finding now that the information coming back into the school is coming in a lot quicker because parents know that we can check up on them. Not that we do it all the time, but it's made our turnaround for our reports and organising events a lot quicker.

What benefits have you seen in terms of student engagement? 

We're starting to work towards students accessing their own portals to do their own individual learning goals.

The students are keen because their parents are commenting on their work. In most primary schools, workbooks go home at the end of the year. Unless parents come in for open days, they don't see the work, and the students don't get that feedback straight away. So they're starting to thrive on that feedback from home through Hero, to support what they're doing at school.

How have your administration staff taken to Hero?

Our admin staff are really thriving. Their admin time has reduced, particularly in terms of getting absenteeism notes and explanations.Boggabri Blog - Attendance Example

They're also kept more in the loop of what information is going home directly from the classrooms. Before, a note might go home from the classroom and if a copy hadn't been given to the admin staff before it went home, when they were filling phone calls, they were going into the conversation blind.

With Hero, we've set the notifications up so that office staff are aware of what's going out, that they can fill those calls, they can give the right information to families as and when it's needed.


How would you describe the difference pre Hero, vs post implementation of Hero? 

Pre Hero, communication and engagement of families was probably our biggest downfall.

Since we've had Hero, families are more involved. They're coming to events because they're receiving communications about them. We're having more interviews with parents regarding their children - where they are learning, what supports we're putting in place. We’re building more of a home-school relationship.

In terms of our teachers, when I first offered Hero and said what's going to happen, they were doubtful of it. But when we rolled it out at the start of this year, the response from teachers was that we didn't believe that it could do everything that we promised, but it's doing more. So they are keen to jump on, and they are driving the use of the data and engagement.

Hero has saved our APCI hours of work trying to duplicate different assessment results and student monitoring across a number of platforms. It's all rolled into one and she said she's got hours back in a week. It also gives those opportunities for her to have conversations with parents and teachers around what we need to do to drive student outcomes. Which is what it's all about - the kids!

You touched on the fact that your APCI has access to more data than they ever have before. What does it mean for you as a principal to have access to so much information about individuals or cohorts? 

It's the decisions. It's able to back up the decisions that I make. When I have phone calls with parents and they say, for example, there's a bullying concern, I can show the data from what has been happening - I can grab that at an instance when I go into meetings.

I'm not going in blind, trying to work out where we're sitting in terms of setting our school performance plan. We are able to target specific areas that we want to invest in. For example, we've now implemented the Berry Street Education Model school-wide, with all staff being trained from teachers through to SASS staff, which was derived from wellbeing data within Hero.

You are making decisions based on information that's all collated within Hero at a whole-school level. How has that impacted on whole school planning? 

Instead of having to find where the data sits and the information sits, it’s all in Hero. It makes the collection of information, and record-keeping a lot easier.
Boggabri Blog - Data Driven Decisions Example

It's driving the conversations that I'm having with the director at those different levels as well. I can back up what we are saying - the information is there with our small group tuition programs, the information is there with our learning support. We've got it broken down to all of our different learning support categories, and we can target and track these groups a lot easier now. We can track down what referrals are coming through, how often they're coming through, and in what areas to make those small group tuition decisions.

Backing through, to then what external providers we bring into the school. In terms of speech pathologists we've brought into the school. We implemented whole school vision clinic testing because it was identified through the Hero data that we had a number of students reporting blurred vision, and they couldn't see the board. Partnering with other organisations, like Centrecare, we now have two social workers coming out a week to work with students that are experiencing social issues. 

All that information came from Hero. It's updated constantly, and we can see real time data - rather than trying to work in retrospect with information that may be three or four weeks old. 

How do you see Hero facilitating Explicit Teaching for you? 

AU - Personalised Goal Setting & Digital Badges (1)Curriculum goals in Hero are essentially our explicit teaching, our learning intentions. That's going to drive what is in our reports - the reporting process will be a lot easier.

Students are aware of what their learning intention is, what their curriculum goal is, and they have a voice in the process as well of creating goals around that.

We've started a process of two-weekly meetings, around learning goals within both English and Maths to try and have that short, sharp focus of achieving something. Rather than a big protracted goal that takes a term or more to achieve, students are seeing immediate success. When the box is ticked on their Hero profile, they have that celebration there and then, rather than waiting for semester reports. 

It sounds like it's been a successful implementation for Hero for you?

Hero is a one-stop shop, everything's embedded in it. The parent app, the app for teachers - what they can do on their desktop, they can also do on their phone. It makes it a matter of ease, for quick reporting. It's just the versatility and it's intuitive. 

Our implementation has been very successful and I encourage anyone to jump on board, book a demo. It's an absolutely fantastic programme and I can't speak highly enough of it. 

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Considering Hero for Your School? If you're looking for an all-in-one solution,  to simplify home-school communication, boost engagement, and make data-driven decisions like Boggabri Public School, book a demo to learn more about Hero.

 

 

Luke Norman

Luke Norman

Luke is a former NSW School Principal, dedicated to transforming lives through educational excellence and innovation. Now as a Senior Hero Consultant, Luke’s work is guided by the core belief that, through fostering equitable opportunities, every child can unlock their true potential.

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