Paper Reduction by Smartphones – Our Lady Mt Carmel Sunbury

At Our Lady Mt Carmel Primary School, Sunbury, we wanted to reduce our use of paper to conserve this precious resource and the ecosystems from which the trees are often harvested. In 2012 we joined the ResourceSmart AuSSI Vic framework and received support from CERES, funded by Hume City Council and the CECV through the Catholic Education Placed Teacher at CERES. Working on the CORE module meant that we started to record our use of resources and school biodiversity on SETS, the online Schools Environmental Tracking System. By monitoring our paper usage in SETS, we could see that we used 600 reams in 2011 for a school of 280 students. We developed a plan to reduce our paper usage using the online and smartphone technology.

The first step was to change our printed newsletter to an online electronic version. Current and past newsletters can be accessed by parents from our school website.
Another way that we communicated with parents was through the use of a smartphone app called ‘Tiqbiz’ which sends instant messages directly to a parent’s smartphone, after they have registered for the service. This replaces the need for notes to be printed on paper and for example, it has been used to inform parents of information sessions and the cancellation of the carols night due to rain.
The process for parent – teacher interviews has also made use of and online system. Parents can access a program called ‘Schoolinterviews.com.au’ and select a time to meet with their child’s teacher. This obviously reduces the need for using a paper based system and makes the process more efficient.
In order to achieve these outcomes the school has communicated with parents about the need to be sustainable, by articles in the school electronic newsletter and through the advocacy of senior students talking with their families. This support from the parent community, allowed the phase in of an electronic lunch ordering system.
In October 2012, only five families were still using cash and bags for lunch orders, but since then all Friday lunch orders are submitted online. Parents can select the menu items and pay for their child’s meal via the Internet. This project was initiated by the staff of the tuckshop and in addition to the environmental benefits it has resulted in a time saving. Parents who volunteers to assist with lunch orders no longer need to devote 5 hours to the task as it is now completed in 2 ½ hours. This means that more people are keen to volunteer.
Every child in the senior school uses a laptop, which has resulted in further paper reduction. Published student work is now emailed or ‘air-dropped’ to the teacher and other students, instead of being printed. Homework tasks from the teacher are ‘air-dropped’ to students and when they are completed students email or ‘air-drop’ them back to the teacher’s folder, thus reducing the use of paper.
This paper reduction plan has resulted in a reduction from 600 reams per year to 400 reams per year, or use of 1.42 reams of paper per student per year. This is shown by the graph from SETS.

Interview with Mr Paul Hogan, Principal, Our Lady Mt Carmel, Sunbury

By Our Lady of Mt Carmel Sunbury|2017-11-06T17:19:50+10:00April 26th, 2013|0 Comments
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