Insights from Sentral – 7 Reasons why it will improve student performance

7 Reasons why Insights will improve your school’s student performance

  1. Eliminate the need for wading through high volumes of data captured in spreadsheets, mark books and high-stakes assessments. Dashboards and data explorers can diagnose gaps in student learning for you, and provide adaptive and predictive ‘next steps’.
  2. Gain a fuller picture of each student’s performance without having to navigate complex charts. The dashboards provided in the Insights module are designed to clearly and easily communicate the learning story with the use of infographics, for Principals, executive and teaching staff.        
  3. Understand how each student is performing in comparison to peers with key statistics like mean, median, mode and standard deviation.
  4. Identify who is struggling and who is excelling with the ability to monitor your students learning achievements in real time with live monitoring of adaptive assessments. Observe them as they work at their own pace and see if your students are demonstrating surface or deep understanding of the topic. This allows you to decide whether to act as learning happens to re-teach a skill or clarify a misconception.
  5. Set up an assessment in minutes and immediately grade student work using your smartphone, tablet or computer. Everyone knows that learning styles differ and we now have a module that also caters to the artists, performers and pen-and-paper writers. This module lets you define all aspects of richer tasks to be assessed, providing an extra layer of flexibility.
  6. Assess your student’s work in whatever format works for you. Use marks or rubrics, enter written or record aural feedback, or even take smartphone photos of student work and attach them to the grade.
  7. Access the diagnostic dashboard for an immediate overview of your students and answer important questions like ‘what core skills challenge most students’. This will assist your planning for future learning.

If you are interested in learning more about Insights and how it can help your school, call us for a demonstration.

Phone (02) 9029 3993

Notifications to parents made easy

There are many instances when parents need to be informed or updated with information from their childs school. Maybe the bus is returning late from an excursion, a child is absent, the school is closed due to a freak weather event or a lockdown is in progress and parents need to be informed.

In this digital age, everyone expects real-time communications. However, managing real-time notifications can be cumbersome and costly. If you’re relying on email, these can be easily missed or siphoned into the junk folder.

Sentral’s Messaging module offers bulk text and email capability, that can be managed both on and off-site from a computer or tablet device. Templates and cohort filtering make it easy to send out information quickly to the whole school, a targeted group or individuals so staff can get back to their most pressing tasks quickly.

Some key features and benefits include:

✔  Messaging is linked into the Attendance module to facilitate a semi-automated daily text message personalised for parents with children absent from school.

✔  Messaging leverages sporting and excursion groups from the Activities module to send permissions notes and reminders via bulk email.

✔  Reduce parent ‘notice fatigue’ by targeting messages to relevant groups and individuals. Distribution groups can be made on the fly or saved for future use.

✔  Two-way text messaging allows parents to provide absence reasons and schools that take a dedicated SMS messaging number can receive unsolicited messages (eg not just replies to messages sent but new messages) from parents advising of absences or other important information.

✔  Student reports can be emailed to parents, providing them an PDF copy they can reprint on demand. This eliminates costly printing and postage and saves considerable staff administration time as well.

If you are interested in learning more about how Sentral can help with your schools administration and student management tasks, call us for a demonstration.

Phone (02) 9029 3993

Streamline reporting to parents and get back to teaching

Reporting student progress to parents is something all teachers and schools want to do well, though the time and effort involved in the process of generating individual student reports is stressful and exhausting. It can also be very expensive if reports are still printed on paper and posted to parents. The combined administrative effort of printing, collating, envelope stuffing and posting reports is an often invisible but very time consuming task.

Good software can help to streamline the processes involved, reduce inefficiencies, and eliminate some of the hard labour involved in a manual reporting cycle. Teachers still need to spend time reflecting on data and classroom observations to then write meaningful feedback for parents and students. However good software can automate some things and create timesaving workflows for others.

Sentral offers a solution that takes some of the effort, time and cost out of academic report writing and distribution. The system is highly configurable to cater for your school curriculum, preferences for the types of information included in the report, and the way it’s presented to parents. Some key features and benefits include:

✔ Intuitive workflow to define all curriculum and reporting requirements using inbuilt scales or define your own. Workflows can also be set for assigning sections of the report to be completed by specific staff and setting due dates for completion.

✔ Automated data transfer from Markbook, Continuum Tracker, Activities, and Attendance eliminates double data entry and historical views of student reports provides ready reference to inform reflection on progress.

✔ The comment wizard is smart enough to insert the individual childs name, add the correct gender references like his/her and check punctuation issues like sentence case and full stops.  It also provides comment starters, curriculum content statements and access to shared or personal comment banks to help teachers to provide meaningful feedback regarding students progress.

✔ Supervisors can see the progress their staff are making towards completing reports and approval for publishing gates can be established. Summary print views also help to reduce paper use when supervisors prefer to edit and mark up comments for staff to rectify.

✔ You choose how to distribute reports to parents. Reports can be printed on paper as individual reports, or bath printed as class or cohort groups, year groups or whole school. All reports can be PDF archived. Schools can also publish reports to PDF’s for distribution via email through our Messaging module or distributed to the Student and Parent Portal where Parents and students will always have access to their current and past reports.

While the term 2 reporting session is beginning to fade into memory, the end of year reports are not that far away. If your schools reporting is harder than it needs to be, call us for a demonstration.

Phone (02) 9029 3993



Managing Student Medication in Schools

School staff tell us that managing, administering and dispensing prescribed medications for students in their care requires staff training and a forensic level of administration and attention to detail. There’s no room for error when it comes to being responsible for ensuring that a child receives their medication while at school.

Sentral’s Health module assists schools with almost every aspect of the management and administration of prescribed medicines. The Health module will take care of all records and details of dispensed medications, giving your trained staff the confidence that things are as they should be when they are dispensing medication.

Policies governing prescribed medications in schools vary from state to state, and no doubt between schools. We’ve reviewed a number of policies to see how well the Health module checks out against some key requirements.

✔ Can easily identify what students require medication

✔ Can record parent/guardian permission

✔ Can record storage & dosage requirements

✔ Can record warnings & expiry dates

✔ Can record administration days and times

✔ Can access this information off-site (excursions etc)

✔ Inbuilt notification system

If you are interested in learning more about how Sentral can help you better manage your school, call us for a demonstration.

Phone (02) 9029 3993

Moving away from paper-based school management systems

Two years ago, Port Broughton Area School was spending a lot of time and effort on daily administrative processes. Teachers and administration staff were in need of a more automated and integrated solution. Paper-based roll marking was becoming cumbersome, as was manually typing out daily email notices. There was agreement that producing reports in spreadsheets and word documents needed to become a thing of the past.

What the school needed was a comprehensive management system, to simplify administration and attendance tasks and make student information readily available. The system needed to be suitable for an R-12 school, and of course, fit into their budget.

The school decided to implement Sentral, starting with daily attendance. Staff quickly adapted to the new online system; even those who were initially resistant are now the biggest supporters.

Two years on, the school is using Sentral for roll marking (morning and period-by-period), daily notices, reports, interviews, behaviour management, parent communication (letters, emails, SMS and parent portal), room bookings, and much more.

“Sentral have been fantastic to work with, the help desk is quick to respond and it is a very user friendly product.  We certainly wouldn’t want to imagine running our school without Sentral’’, Joelene Wilden, Deputy Principal at Port Broughton Area School.

If you are interested in learning more about how Sentral can help you better manage your school, call us for a demonstration.

Phone (02) 9029 3993

Sentral Education founders nominated as Technology Entreprenuers by The Pearcy Foundation

Sentral Education founders Geoff Byers and Peta Byers nominated as Technology Entreprenuers by The Pearcy Foundation.

The Pearcey Foundation is a non-profit organisation founded in 1998 in memory of a great Australian ICT pioneer Dr Trevor Pearcey who pioneered the first digital computer in Australia, believed to be the fourth operational stored program electronic computer ever constructed.

CSIRAC was built between 1947-1949 and is the oldest surviving computer of its type in the world and currently is on display in Melbourne Museum. The Foundation operates broadly across the Australian Information Communication Technologies (ICT) sector, celebrating achievements through national and state awards and being involved in debate and public policy on critical national issues.

Peta and Geoff Byers were nominated (as one of nine companies) as Technology Entrepreneurs recognising “taking a risk”, “making a difference” and “being an inspiration”.

Improving Student Behaviour

For any school to provide the best possible learning environment for all students, the thorny issue of managing and improving student day-to-day behaviour needs to be addressed. All inappropriate behaviour adversely affects other student’s chances of having a positive learning experience.

The introduction of a quality school information system (SIS) will provide a range of options, which can allow schools to produce a structured and safe learning environment.

An obvious benefit of a SIS is the early detection of certain behaviour trends e.g. always being in sick-bay at a particular day and time every week – a possible indication of underlying issues such as challenging student-student or student-teacher relations or just non-interest in a particular subject etc.
Adding to the identification of these types of trends would be any relevant information supplied via school-parent communication channels in an effort to encourage improvements in behaviour.
These are just some of the myriad of ways that schools can attempt to address the challenge of developing a positive learning culture.
The above is a personal viewpoint from …

Stan Wawrzyniak
Director of Operations
Sentral Education

Schools & Data Management

Data, data, data, everywhere you look! Schools and their ability to gather incredible amounts of data around the students in their care is simply mind-boggling.

The important first question then arises of “which parts of this data should be communicated with students, parents, school staff and overarching governing bodies such as Education Departments or even government agencies?” However, the following question of “Which School Information System (SIS) will be vehicle of choice to address pressing administrative challenges” is often the first item that schools research.

These two questions are at the forefront of today’s schools and the educators working within them. All school leaders are acutely aware that the administrative overload is impacting negatively on quality teaching time and thus decreasing opportunities for improving student learning outcomes.

At the same time however, these same school leaders have come to the realization that access to all this collected data and having an ability to interpret it in appropriate ways provides a golden opportunity to better gauge student learning changes over any time period. This in turn can provide staff with early warning signals that certain students need additional and/or targeted support NOW. The other side of the coin is also true, i.e. students showing improvements are more easily identified and rewarded via a corresponding school based positive reinforcement.

Education departments as well as other government agencies have also long recognized that access to clean, unambiguous data provides a fantastic pathway to be able to build quality strategic plans based on reports furnished by schools. Schools can now more easily provide these much needed reports with the use of a quality SIS.

Another important component with the above identification and resulting handling of this student data is the ability to bring parents, other family members and carers into the communication channel. All of the students’ extended family can now be allowed to feel and experience important school events and instances via ‘just-in-time’ two-way communication.

The future face of education may be unknown to many, but one part of it is already here. That part is to easily gather all data and be able to share it with relevant bodies. A quality SIS which is very agile and can keep evolving as the education ‘landscape’ changes is the vehicle everyone needs.

The above is a personal viewpoint from …
Stan Wawrzyniak
Director of Operations
Sentral Education