Customer Story

How a school app acts as an all-in-one communication platform

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To inspire the best in their students and community, Flinders knew they needed to be a school with efficient, professional and reliable communication. They landed on a plan to declutter their messaging and craft an app that would act as the school’s sole voice.

The challenge

Like many schools, Flinders Christian Community College had been communicating with its community via multiple channels. Not only was this challenging in terms of upkeep from the team, but it created the risk of messages getting lost and ignored.

“When we started to investigate a communication app, we lovingly called the whole project Project Pandora,” shares Monica Wulff, Head of Marketing and Enrolments at Flinders. “The reason why is there are so many channels and avenues that parents and families get and receive information from the school. From websites, emails, text messages, newsletters, printed material, and everything, and we really wanted to find something that can bring it all together for them.”

That’s where a school app stepped in, allowing Flinders to push out notifications to reach all families at once, ensuring important and time-sensitive messages reach all intended parents.

Launching the app

Monica and the team at Flinders launched their new school app with realistic expectations, understanding that people take time to adjust to change.

“In the first couple of months, we allowed our families to just get used to the app; get into the whole thing,” explains Monica. “We just tracked how many families installed it. We wanted to get to at least 80-90% and then eventually all the way to 100%. At the moment, we’ve got all our families, about 98%, installed!”

The Flinders College app launched with a comprehensive plan that ensured adoption within the college from administration, IT, and the teaching staff. They knew that to get their wider community onboard, they would first need their internal teams onboard.

“It doesn’t help if you launch an app and one department is just sending out emails the whole time because that’s counterproductive. We closed off the channels like emails, newsletters, and print, and we focused on Flinders Connect,” shares Monica. “I’ll say allow yourself a good six months. Monitor it, and track all the users; don’t just think they’re using it, make sure that they’re using it.”

Using the app

Now that Flinders Connect app is up and established, the school can confirm it has reached its goals. “It definitely is a central place to communicate for all our families and students, whether they’re on the parent app or the student app,” Monica explains. “All the information that we now flow out to our families is via the Flinders Connect app. It will just be in an emergency that we actually send a text.”

Internally speaking, the team at Flinders has found the app’s CMS simple and easy to manage, with various admins set up with different user levels. “Everybody’s got their functions and things they can do,” says Monica. “It’s easy to track information that’s gone out, easy to edit. When you’re sending out a thousand plus emails and you have to send them and you go ‘whoops, something went wrong’; you never have that with Flinders Connect because you can just go in, update, and edit the information.”

“I think in this day and age people expect an app; they expect not just to go to a website and do everything like that, they want an app that’s personalised for them and their family.”

Despite having a good idea of what they were after, Flinders relied on Digistorm to ensure they got the best out of their technology. They explain the process as Marketing and IT working alongside Digistorm, looking at the features and benefits already built into the app then adapting it for Flinders Connect.

On the onboarding process

It can be a stressful event to bring a new piece of technology into your school, especially one which will serve as a fundamental part of your communication program and change the way families interact with your school. To make the transition as easy as possible, Digistorm has a dedicated onboarding process.

“Onboarding and training have always been great coming from Digistorm,” confirms Monica. “They give you options. They’ll do one-on-one sessions, whether it’s face-to-face or online via Zoom, but then also leave you with marketing material, videos, and tutorials that you can do at your own pace afterwards.”

Our team helps schools get established with all the training they need, sharing a step-by-step app-build workshop so that teams feel confident they can succeed. All Digistorm clients also have access to ongoing support training to make sure they get the most out of their tools.

“If you’re considering an app, I would really recommend it,” shares Monica. “I think in this day and age people expect an app; they expect not just to go to a website and do everything like that, they want an app that’s personalised for them and their family.”

Wrapping up

Flinders Christian Community College recognised that they needed a more streamlined communication method to give parents easier access to important information. By introducing a school app, Flinders improved their overall communication and gave families a more positive experience with their school.

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