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Case Study: Chairo Christian School

The multi-campus Chairo Christian School needed a better way to manage the growing number of forms and paperwork that were chewing up so much of the school’s time and resources.

  • The school sought a secure digital solution that complied with Australia’s privacy laws and offered all the functionality it needed
  • They wanted a tool that enabled faster interaction between the school’s several campuses and more streamlined processes
  • The school now has a versatile, user-friendly solution that can integrate with MS Power Automate for advanced workflows and automation

With more than 1,700 students across multiple campuses in southeastern Victoria, Chairo Christian School was drowning in paper.

It was an issue the school’s Information Systems Coordinator, Trevor Ciminelli, knew they had to address.

The amount of paper was just insane.

“The amount of paper was just insane – we’ve got so many paper forms and over time they just grow and people don’t really reassess them,” Trevor laments.

“And also the school’s grown massively in the last five or six years – we’ve taken over two campuses – we went from three to five – and that comes with students and parents.

“And our Pakenham campus is in a growth corridor, so that’s exploding.”

Finding a way out of the paperwork avalanche

After talking to Snapforms, Trevor discovered that he could connect the online forms with the school’s own admin system, saving the school’s staff valuable time and resources.

“The integration with Snapforms means we can potentially hook up an API with our admin system – link to a form, select a student from a drop-down and it automatically fills out that form with that student’s information, which would be a huge thing for us in the future,” Trevor explains.

With Snapforms, I can make a digital form in five minutes.

“A lot of schools are in this situation where they’ve got a lot of paper forms with no way forward.

“Sure there are companies that will deliver a solution for five or ten thousand dollars, but the schools will go, No, the paper process is much easier to justify.

“But now with Snapforms, I can make a digital form in five minutes – and even if we’re time-poor, Snapforms will do it for us.”

What was the business challenge?

Trevor also needed a solution that could neutralise the tyranny of distance between the various campuses.

Linking those forms that can just travel back and forth instantly is great.

“It offers a lot of value for schools – it’s solved problems. We’ve got paper approval forms that take five days to travel between campuses – it’s just too long.

“But with Snapforms, as soon as I press go – if we set up the workflows – everyone gets emails immediately to approve and you can have it back in five minutes.

“Our campuses are probably across a 200-kilometre radius – we’re so spread apart, so linking those forms that can just travel back and forth instantly is great.”

And then there’s the privacy conundrum.

As Trevor discovered, there aren’t many online form providers based in Australia and overseas-based providers can charge a hefty premium for a solution that complies with Australian privacy laws.

Your data is actually hosted in Australia.

“With a company like DocuSign, they want to charge you more or you need a big expensive plan,” says Trevor.

“And it just gives you peace of mind actually having the provider in Australia.

“You can tell the parents that your data is actually hosted in Australia, whereas in some countries they’re arguing that they own the data that’s in their country even when it’s not from their country.”

How was the solution implemented?

Trevor and his team are using Snapforms to gradually roll out more and more online forms to replace the paper versions.

The online solution has even helped the school navigate the difficult journey through COVID. Engaging with students’ parents and carers is a necessary part of a school’s operations, as is being able to provide contactless or COVID-safe interactions.

There was no manual data entry required.

“We did a laptop handout night which required parents to sign the laptop agreement form,” Trevor explains.

“One of our campuses did the whole laptop night online – the parents watched the webinar, they clicked the link, they read the tick boxes, the parents signed, the students signed – if they wanted a copy they entered their email, they got an email.

“As soon as they pressed submit that actually emailed our admin team and put it in the respective folder so there was no manual data entry required.

“Before that, they had to scan literally 300 paper forms which takes days.”

All the form signing was done on the phones.

“Our other campus did a hybrid solution where they had the online form. And being Covid-safe, instead of pens and paper the parents just scanned a QR code on the way in on their phones, sat down so they could still be part of the event, but all the form signing was done on the phones.

“Everyone thought that was so easy – otherwise you’ve got hundreds of pieces of paper flying around and people want copies – but with Snapforms you can just do what you want.”

The school has even used Snapforms to streamline its annual end-of-year breakfast bowl event.

“Our person in charge of all the admin on campus used Snapforms for our end-of-year breakfast bowl.

“She made a form, included menu options and so on and just emailed us all the form.

“You fill in your email address, select what food you want, press submit and get a reference for what you ordered on your phone.

“Then she just handed that form straight to the restaurant – she didn’t have to pass around pieces of paper or anything else.

“She really loved that – and having graphic design and photography as a hobby she said you can make it look really pretty – but with Microsoft or Google forms they’re very data-driven and don’t look the greatest.”

Integrating with Microsoft Power Automate

Trevor himself is currently working on a subject selection form for a process that, again, was paper-based.

I’m excited about the integration and automatic uploads with MS Power Automate.

“Say if I – a student – want to change subjects. I’m in maths but I want to go to English.

“I fill in the form online and as soon as I press ok it emails each teacher – the maths teacher confirms they’re happy for this student to leave, the English teacher confirms they’re happy for me to come over, and as soon as that’s done it goes to the head of the campus and they approve everything – and as soon as they press ok it emails the campus admin so they can act on it.

“Which is why I’m excited about the automatic uploads and integration with MS Power Automate – where you just email someone saying the student’s changed subject and that’s it.”

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