What was the biggest challenge before you used Orah at your school?
The most important part of of boarding for us is the care of the boys whose parents trust us to look after their sons. In order to do this, being able to give them our time and attention is critical. As accountability and record keeping has become more important and the use of emails has exploded, the biggest challenge that we faced was being able to administer boarding effectively while still having time to spend face-to-face with the students in order to genuinely care for them.
With almost 600 boarders here at Joeys, keeping track of where boys are is not a small job and we found that email traffic for student movements was becoming a nightmare and taking us away from being present with the students. We needed something that would streamline all movements of students in a manner that ensured correct permissions were sought and that accurate records were kept. Among other things - this is what we found in Orah.
What was the process of getting started with Orah like?
Excellent. We did a trial with one year group without any cost. It was a full product experience and allowed us to really see how things worked. The support provided was more than enough and we were continually being offered further support if we needed it. Overall, a very smooth process.
What has the success/support team at Orah been like to work with?
Really good. The support portal which is staffed throughout the world has ensured that when there is a problem, there is someone there to help.
For those who work in boarding, you know that the times when problems occur are usually after close of business and when everyone is asleep. This has not been an issue for us in our experience - the response to get help has always been quick - no matter the time of day.
What was it like to get the rest of your team up and running with Orah?
Overall - fairly smooth. Many boarding staff find change difficult and hence, if the product wasn't good and user-friendly then it would have no chance of surviving. The reality is that because it is intuitive, staff have found it easy and have been willing to give it a go. After a few uses - staff are sold!
The introduction of the smart phone apps has also assisted staff in buying into the product. For them it is convenient and easy.
Has there been a particular Orah feature that has helped you the most?
Live rolls with disappearing names. This may sound strange, however, when you are regularly doing rolls for groups of 200 boys at time, having a list where names disappear as you tick them present (and therefore the list of those absent is all that is left) is very useful.
There is no doubt that the student leave elements of the product have also saved us a heap of time.
What would you say to other schools looking to implement Orah at their school?
A product such as this is a must. Record keeping for schools is now critical. Being able to quickly look back and see who was at the College on a particular night in history is something that we need to have on hand. Knowing which staff member was on duty and who checked a boy in is all information that can requested. Paper stored "somewhere" in a drawer is not really good enough anymore. For the safety of the students, staff and the school, this is a product that is absolutely worth investing in!
What made you choose Orah over the other options out there?
To be honest, we were going to try two options but after using Orah and the experience we had being so positive, we stuck with it.
Is there any final thoughts or words you would like to share?
Having been with Orah for just over two years, I have witnessed it grow and develop a lot in such a short time. More features are continually being added that are very useful and are continually adding to our experience with the product. It is exciting to think where it could be in another 2 years!