What's New | Orah Supervise April 2024
On-Demand Webinar with Kurt Meyer and Tiago Penteado

In this on-demand webinar, Kurt shows us the latest Orah updates and how you can use them to manage attendance & reduce absenteeism.
Attendance is crucial to academic achievement and social-emotional well-being at school. In this on-demand webinar, Kurt shows us the latest Orah updates and how you can use them to manage attendance & reduce absenteeism.

Recently, Orah held a conference with 50+ school leaders in Auckland, New Zealand focused on reducing absenteeism. We hosted a panel of school leaders, a local MP and a wellbeing expert who are close to the issues facing schools when it comes to reducing absenteeism. Off the back of this event, here are 5 steps you can take today to reduce absenteeism.

Now, we're excited to bring you a first-hand look at the many ways schools are using Orah to manage full spectrum of attendance–from identifying at-risk students, automating communications with parents as incidents unfold & of course, marking the roll.

Orah has been serving some of the world’s top schools for over 10 years, let Kurt (Co-Founder of Orah & Head of Product) walk you through some of Orah’s most recent product developments and learn how you can leverage Orah to manage attendance & reduce absenteeism.

In this webinar, you’ll discover:

  • The link between wellbeing and class attendance, and why schools need to identify at-risk students early.
  • Why it’s important to involve families early on, and how personalized communication automations can help.
  • Some new Orah features that make personalized, automated communication with families much more attainable and effective.


Kurt Meyer: My name's Kurt. I'm one of the co founders of Orah and I lead the product team here. And we've got Tiago, who's our Head of Marketing, and then Paul as well, who's my co founder.

Okay, I think we can get started. As Tiago mentioned, if you have any questions, just feel free to put them in the Q&A section n, and I can respond to those either through the call or at the end.

All right. So Orah is a student life platform for anyone who doesn't know, and we mainly work with independent schools and international schools around the world and the main thing that we do is we help schools meet and exceed their duty of care by providing them smart and user friendly software.

So within student life, there's three core areas of focus that we help schools with. So that's attendance, student care, and communications. And we help them answer some of these fundamental questions when you're looking after students. Like, where are they? How are they? And how do we communicate with them?

And so today I want to focus on our attendance tracking product. I'll cover a few new additions that we've added, but really just focusing on the theme of managing attendance and how we can use some of these features to reduce absenteeism within schools.

So to set the stage a little bit I just wanted to highlight a few high level statistics that shows why attendance is important. So one interesting trend post COVID is that absenteeism has actually increased, almost doubled across U. S. schools. Compared to before the pandemic and also research shows that students between the grades of 8 and 12 are 7 times more likely to drop out if they miss 15 or more days in the school year or 3 days per month which is generally defined as chronic absenteeism. About 10 percent absence rate.

And also students who attend regularly are seven times more likely to achieve proficiency in core subjects such as math and reading versus students who have irregular attendance. So there's definitely a relationship between student engagement and success and attendance. So that's, yeah, I'm sure a lot of people on this call understand that relationship.

So I just want to cover some of the root causes of absenteeism. So I've taken this from a website called Attendance Works. But there's a lot of different resources out there that dive into what causes absenteeism, but I thought this was quite a good one. So the four main categories that they have are barriers, aversion, disengagement, and misconceptions.

So just to highlight a few examples, so barriers could be, illnesses home situation, poor transportation, just things that are actually preventing them from getting into school. Aversion they could be struggling academically, they don't feel welcomed at school they have anxiety.

Disengagement, they could just be bored or, not have meaningful relationships with their teachers and school. And misconceptions. So this is more on the school side. Not understanding, the data that matters most when tracking absences. So for example, unexcused absences have the same impact.

I excused absences have the same impact as unexcused absences. So tracking them as the same thing, which is a student missing school. And also losing track of that data and underestimating the amount of absences a student actually has.

So yeah, there's a few misconceptions there and that's, this is probably the category that we can help most with the attendance product in Orah. But I'll also touch in one of our other products that can highlight it. Potential issues around aversion and disengagement.

So some of the pains with the existing tools out there that we typically come across is that they're generally clunky, hard to use tools. There's a lack of insights around student attendance and the data that you need to actually affect change. There's a lot of manual data entry between multiple systems.

And that leads to inaccurate or often lagging data and ultimately that results in an ineffective intervention and following up students who are showing absence or late behavior.

What if you could reduce absenteeism, but without having to overhaul? Your existing systems. So I just want to focus on a few features that you can get started with Orah that doesn't necessarily mean you have to replace your existing system and I've got this short video that we've created to promote these features.

So just go ahead and play that. Let me know if the audio doesn't come through. Tiago

Voiceover: in the fast-paced world of education, keeping track of student attendance is a challenge. Spending hours trolling through emails and voice messages to record absences is a drain. I never have the data I need to improve student attendance.

Usually it's too late to make a difference by the time we find out there's a pattern. I wish there was an easier way to say that my child isn't going to be at school today. Introducing Orah's Absence Tracker. Simplify absences, from excuses to insights in one system. Absence Tracker seamlessly integrates with your student information system, so you don't have to change the way you work.

Within minutes. Absence Tracker will uncover powerful insights using your existing attendance data. Now you can make informed decisions and start making a difference. Act faster by setting up automatic alerts to the right people when students are late or absent. With Absence Tracker, parents can easily submit absences through a secured public link.

No more phone calls or emails. Just a few clicks. And the absence is sent to your SIS. Say goodbye to attendance headaches and hello to simple absence management with Orah's Absence Tracker. Try Absence Tracker today and make attendance tracking easier for everyone.

Kurt Meyer: Cool. So that was just a quick promotion video. Hopefully that outlined some of the key areas that we can help with. And I'm just going to walk through those in a bit more detail. So the first point is integrating with your existing SIS. To get started, you would enable one of our integrations to sync attendance data. And we work with a lot of the main systems out there. Some of them are more developed than others, so it really depends on which system that you're running. But typically Blackbaud Veracross and TASS. work outside of the box and anything other than that we would have to yeah, work with you to enable.

So that's the first step is integrating your SIS with Orah. And once you've done that, we can generate a dashboard that provides you insights around attendance. And I'm just going to walk through the live version of that. So this is plugged into an SIS and we're generating, I'll just go for a longer time frame, we're generating insights using your existing data.

And the key data point that we focus on is the attendance rate. Because we know generally an attendance rate below 90%

Qualifies as chronic absenteeism, and there's, a higher chance of students. not achieving academic success, or even dropping out. So that attendance rate is quite an important data point to keep track of. So we give you an attendance rate overview for different periods of time, as well as a trend, how your school is trending over a timeline.

And you can also filter this data to different student groups. So it could be class groups, it could be year levels, and Demographic label groups and things like that. So you can set up those filters. We'll give you a view of a heat map of what your attendance looks like over time. So you can see if there's any hot spots for any particular classes or year levels.

And that could inform some intervention for, maybe there's a year level that needs more support or a particular class that is showing a low attendance rate, which you might want to date. a little deeper into. And then we give you a list of students who have high numbers of unexcused, late, or excused absences.

So that can be a good conversation starter, and just, these students might be the ones that you decide to focus on, because if you can get them on track, then your overall attendance rate would improve.

You can also bring up these records as well to see. Which classes the students have been absent for in case there's another trend in there.

You can also see the most common excused absences, so that could also provide some insight in why students are excused from class. And you can also filter on a per student level to get a list of students that match a certain criteria. So if you wanted anyone who had a attendance rate less than 90%, then you can quite quickly generate that list.

And that would be a good starting point for which students you might want to focus your attention on.

So this is some quick insights that you can get, as soon as you start using Oran once you've enabled the integration. And that gives you a view of that, the key data points that you need to keep track of.

So that's the dashboard. The other piece is automated alerts and workflows for a more effective follow up for students who are showing absent or late behavior. So I'll just walk through how those features work as well. So firstly on the dashboard, you can set up alerts based on different criteria.

So you could say students who have, a total of three unexcused absences in the last month, about 10%. You can generate a alert to parents. You can base it on relationships. So it could just be the guardian or, you the mom or the dad. You can send an alert to staff members that can be specific staff members.

It could be a dean or an attendance manager. Or you could send it to the assigned staff members. So that could be, a teacher or someone who's actually connected to that student through their through their classes. And you can also send an alert directly to the students. And for parents and students, you can also send the alert via SMS.

So you can set up a bunch of different types of alerts it could be based on an excuse, it could be based on excuse, it could be based on tidiness and that just means you don't have to constantly look at the dashboard to see what's going on. You can have these insights come to you and alert the right people at the right time.

And you also get a history of all the alerts that have been generated. You can search by student and you can filter by the different triggers. And when you bring up that alert, you'll be able to see exactly which records trigger that alert as well.

So this is all based on the data that is coming through USIS. But of course, if you're using ORA for full attendance tracking you'll be, it'll be based on your ORA data as well. So that's setting up the alerts. And the other piece is if you want a more structured and documented follow up process, then you can create a workflow.

So similar to alerts, you can define the criteria which initiates the workflow. So in this case, a student's been absent for two classes. You'd see which classes actually trigger the workflow, as well as which student it relates to. And within the workflow, you can define the follow up steps.

So you could have, say, calling a parent as a step holding a meeting with the student sending out notifications to certain staff members. You can have an approval step as well if someone from the leadership team has to verify that the follow up occurred. And you can leave all the comments in one place.

So you've got a fully documented follow up process. that was triggered automatically.

And so under your workflow section, you have a list of all the follow ups that you need to do and a pipeline of what the progress is on each of those and who, which staff member Needs to initiate the next step. So that gives you a really structured way to follow up on students. So it might be for more serious cases where you definitely want to have an intervention, then you can use the workflow for that.

So that's the The alerts and the workflows piece. The other piece is actually capturing the information from parents when a student is not expected to be in class. Often there's a lag in that information resulting in, inaccurate data or people following up when they're not supposed to.

So streamlining this process saves time for the parent, but also time for the administrators as well. So the way that would work is that you can provide parents a public link. They don't need to create an account to use it. They'll just put in their email address. And we'll send them a one time password to verify that it's them, so I'll just put my one in now.

And as a parent, I'll be able to see my child or children, and I'll be able to select an excuse. So say if it's a full day absence, they're staying home full, it could be today or tomorrow, let's say tomorrow. This form's customizable, so you can add additional fields if needed, and the parent would simply send that through, and from the school side, you can either approve that, or you could sync it back to the SIS immediately so that means you don't have someone one.

Looking through emails or voice messages to figure out who's excused for the day. That just goes straight to the to the right place without any manual data entry.

So that's streamlining the excuse process which covers some of the core features around the attendance product and, what you can get started with. But I also wanted to touch on our wellbeing product, Nurture, which can help you identify trends, Around aversion and early signs that the student might be avoiding class.

So we have a mood check feature under our student care module. And this answers the question, how are my students feeling? So it can highlight students or trends around that, that can impact attendance. So you can set up triggers or criteria to flag students. Students might be feeling anxiety or, lack of social connection or, bullying or not being able to, not fitting in school for whatever reason.

And these things can be early indicators that could lead to, um, drop in attendance rate. So setting something up like this can help you address some of those more, yeah, social, emotional issues that would prevent students from coming into school.

But the data that it all kind of complements each other, it helps build a full picture, because if you see a low attendance rate, that raises a question, what's going on with the student. So knowing the attendance right up front. makes a big difference, but also from the other side, you can look at some of those leading indicators like wellness and that might be able to help flag those issues sooner than later.

Yeah, so that's. All I wanted to cover today in terms of what Orah does to improve attendance. So we work with some of the top schools around the world in over 20 countries. And yeah we work with them closely to try to get the best product possible and to solve some of these challenges.

So if you're interested in using Orah for improving attendance, please do reach out. We'll be, um, we'd love to touch base and show you things. Through what we can do for your particular school so you can either send me an email at kurt@orah.com or we'll send out a email after this webinar with a recording as well.

We can touch base from there also.

Tiago Penteado: Great. Cool. Thanks, Kurt. I've got a few questions in the bit of a good discussion going on in the Q& A. I just thought I'd highlight a few of them. So JJ asked about the Orah App for parents or families. Whether it's possible to submit absences in the app as well as public request links.

Kurt Meyer: Yeah, absolutely.

Parents have a phone app that they can download. And they can use that to do the exact same thing. We also have SSO capabilities. You have SSO set up for other systems, then that can streamline getting started for parents and staff.

Tiago Penteado: And just on the topic of integration, someone asked as well if the attendance data would flow to a learning management system at the moment or? Are you able to talk to maybe what learning management systems we work with or how people manage that.

Kurt Meyer: Yeah. So we don't currently integrate with any learning management systems.

It's something that we're open to though and would be keen to understand a little bit more about how you'd see that working. So yeah if you're interested, I'll be keen to jump on a call and understand what system you're using and how you saw that coming together.

Paul Organ: They're using Schoolbox and they're asking about if a student is attending a co curricular activity outside of class, wanting that to represent, be represented on Schoolbox.

Kurt Meyer: Okay. That makes sense. Yeah, potentially it really depends on what API capabilities Schoolbox has, as well as how many of our other schools are requesting a similar type of integration. And then that determines yeah, the likeliness of us being able to do something like that.

Tiago Penteado: Actually a good question from Leanne in here as well is how would Orah, how would this work alongside Orah passes?

Is it meant to replace passes or is it more of a last minute absence?

Kurt Meyer: Yeah, so it's actually building on top of passes. Okay. So you can change the name of passes to excuses, but it's essentially the same feature. So it's not meant to replace passes, say in a boarding school, but it's more offering that same type of functionality within the day school if a student's not going to attend class.

Tiago Penteado: And just another one, could you I guess explain a little bit what the process is for getting started on those new attendance products. I guess in particular the attendance dashboard and the absence tracker for people who do want to like, what would the process look like to get that up and running?

Kurt Meyer: Yeah, for sure. If you're using Blackbaud, TASS or Veracross, and if you already have an integration enabled, then it's really as simple as letting us know that you're interested, and we'll turn it on for you, and you can get started straight away. We are working on making it more automated so that you can enable it yourself.

But at the moment, you just have to consider myself or someone from our support team a message and we'll turn it on for you. If you're not on one of those systems, then we would have to build out that integration. So we'd still love to have a chat and just understand more about, what you're trying to achieve.

Because we do have a roadmap of integrations that we've got a plan, but we just want to make sure that we've got the priority right too. Generally, the more schools that ask for particular integration will bring forward on the roadmap. So please do let us know if you're not on one of those two systems, but you do want to use the absence tracker.

Tiago Penteado: Actually, just to close out, there was one that was answered earlier, but I thought it was a good point. So JJ asks, what will the attendance data, speaking of the attendance dashboard, combine school and boarding attendance data? Could you maybe speak a little bit more to what that looks like for boarding schools specifically?

Kurt Meyer: Yeah, so the attendance dashboard is based on any roll checks that are associated with a particular schedule. So at the moment that only applies to classes because they have a class schedule. But we are doing some work, or we have had conversations with other schools who would like to have, similar capabilities for, outside of class attendance.

So there might be like a, a lights out roll that happens the same time every day or like a dining or like a meal that happens the same time every day. And being able to schedule that, that attendance and be able to track the attendance rate for that is something else that we are looking at.

So then that will give you a view of both day and boarding attendance rates. So that's one way, one thing that we're working on. But at the moment, say if you're a boarding school you can also filter down to just your boarding students on that dashboard. So then that gives you a view, at least, of what their attendance is looking like in class.

On the day school side, which is sometimes a blind spot. So yeah we are working to try to bridge that gap. Hopefully that answers your question, but yeah, would love to learn a bit more if that doesn't quite cover what you're after.

Tiago Penteado: That's awesome. I think as last call for any questions, I think that's all that I have in the chat there. Otherwise, yeah, I think that's very good. Thank you very much, Kurt. And thank you everyone else for attending. I'll let you close it out.

Kurt Meyer: Yeah, thanks, Tiago. Yeah, thanks, everyone.

Hope to hear from you. And yeah, we're excited about this product, and we're constantly working with schools to improve it. So if you're interested in getting involved or trialing it, please let us know. And we'd love to hear from you. Thanks, everyone. Thanks, everybody.

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