An interview with Robert Hutton, Junior School Assistant Principal, Kristin School, Auckland, New Zealand. 

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Before Storypark, what were your previous methods of keeping parents up-to-date with their children’s daily activities and progress? 

We used written portfolios, (brief) end-of-day conversations with parents, showing parents work samples, newsletters and parent-teacher interviews.


What were the challenges and barriers you faced using these methods?

  • If we’re able to ‘catch’ parents at the start or end of each day they are often in a rush, and we’re unable to fully share their child’s progress or go through their written portfolio
  • Parents hardly ever add comments to written learning stories
  • The cost and waste of paper resources
  • The amount of time it took
  • The difficulty of keeping written portfolios current.

What made you feel there was a need for Storypark?

We have many international families, so the ability to share with those far away was important. It gives a sense of an instant community and the opportunity to show a pathway of learning.


How easy or difficult was it to implement Storypark at your school? 

Storypark is very user-friendly. It saves a lot of time previously spent creating beautiful backgrounds and headings for learning stories and enables us to celebrate events in realtime, leading to families having a real part in it.


What has been the effect of Storypark for parents?

Our parents have been delighted with Storypark. They like that they receive a notification the minute we upload a new story – they can be anywhere and read a story. They enjoy adding comments, and will often do so within seconds. Everyone involved receives a lot more feedback. They can see exactly what their child is doing on a daily basis. They can now also share more with families overseas.


What has been the effect of Storypark for children?

It gives children a visual reference to talk to their parents about each evening and on weekends. Some children prefer a printed paper version they can pick up any time – we are looking at how to make it more visually available to those children.


What has been the effect of Storypark for your school and practice?

Our teachers are more time-effective and it has cut down on the printing budget.


What has staff feedback been like?

  • We personally like creating new stories, knowing that parents will be able to read them immediately – I find it exciting and motivating to send off a new story
  • We thoroughly enjoy reading the comments from parents
  • Teachers have all been very positive.

What is the future of Storypark at your school?

It is now being rolled out into Years 0, 1 and 2.


What advice do you have for other schools who might be thinking about using Storypark?

  • Hold good professional learning sessions beforehand
  • Start slow – don’t open it to all parents until you’re 100% sure that each teacher feels comfortable with what they are doing.

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