“School Ski trip - noooooooooo!”
As a school principal or staff member, these three words likely instil an equal sense of terror and excitement.
There is no doubting that taking a group to the snow is a rewarding and exciting experience.
A ski trip presents a fantastic opportunity for students to experience the thrill of flying down the slopes. Connecting with the outdoors, overcoming fears and mastering a new skill are excellent development opportunities.
However, the logistics of planning a school trip can make them a daunting prospect to arrange. The heightened risks of winter sports coupled with accommodation requirements, travel and other permissions may make them seem out of reach.
With effective and reliable parent communication - your students will be mastering their parallel turns in no-time. It’s all about having the very best tools to plan a school trip at your disposal.
Here’s an expert guide on how to make light work of planning a school ski trip, or ANY school trip for that matter.
1. Communicate details early and often
No matter what kind of trip your arranging, it’s important to have a place for key details. Somewhere that anyone interested or involved can refer to. Dates, locations and costs are usually the big ones! And don’t forget permission forms.
Once you’ve got some of the basic info for your trip sorted, you’ll want to communicate to parents who might be interested in their child attending.
To ensure everyone can find all the relevant information about the trip in one place, you can setup an event in SkoolBag.
Events allow you to add any content such as videos, images and website links to convey the details of the trip. Parents can easily add events to their personal calendars from events pages.
2. Allow parents to subscribe to updates
The best way to keep everyone informed on the latest news and details of the trip is to have a dedicated communication channel.
SkoolBag enables exactly this, ensuring your messages will go directly to parents mobiles via notifications, emails or both.
To do this is to set a “Content Group”. Content groups are sections of your SkoolBag App to which users can subscribe. Your users can opt-in or out of a group at any time.
Groups means that your communication, such as notifications or emails, will only go to the relevant parents of students who are attending (or interested in attending).
Different events and groups require different levels of privacy. It’s up to you to decide whether your groups are set to “Open” where anyone can subscribe, or “Closed” where users need a password or have their request to join accepted before they can view updates.
Once you’ve setup the group, you can use Quick Compose to tell all parents to join the group if they’re interested.
3. Make it easy to submit permissions from anywhere
With Ski Trips, capturing permissions, medical details and taking payment are an essentials but potentially time consuming process.
However, SkoolBag makes this simple with eForms - the easiest way to capture and organise information from parents. SkoolBag comes pre-loaded with some standard forms like absentee and permissions, but you can create and edit forms for just about any use.
eForms integrate into the SkoolBag app so they can be easily submitted by parents at anytime from their mobile. This means you can expect far better response rates than sending PDFs which parents needs to print, sign and return (or paper forms that never make it home!).
Once parents submit a form, all the information is stored in your Admin Console so you can easily access and print as needed.
You can setup multiple eForms and add them to events or groups, then schedule reminders for parents to submit. If you have a PayPal or Stripe account, you can even take payments directly from eForms.
4. Always follow up on the follow-up
Whilst posting updates to the SkoolBag app can be the fastest way to communicate, it’s often good to followup important communications with an email.
SkoolBag lets you manage both communication channels from a single place. You can even send the same message as a notification AND email.
So once your event and forms are setup, make sure you notify and remind parents via email.
5. The big day - set up reminders
Even on the most meticulously planned events and excursions, the adrenaline of the big day can mean it’s easy to forget things. Particularly when getting to the snow normally means an early start!
So it’s a good idea to schedule an update to parents with all the details of where to be and when, so you don’t need to be setting your alarm sending alerts at 5am.
To schedule a push notification to go out on the morning of the trip, simply publish the update to the group. Then schedule the notification to go out at your chosen time on the following screen.
6. Share the excitement from the slopes
Had a great day on the slopes? Sharing updates during your event is a great way to reassure your community that everything is going well and fun is being had by all.
“When parents see through the photos that their children are enjoying themselves on excursion, they are more relaxed about children being away from home. It is also a quick and effective way to get a message out to staff. Using the notification and email facility together means all the bases are covered.” Lyn Fletcher, Deputy Principal Dalby South State School, QLD
Send an update to the group to let them know how it’s going and share some pictures of the students on the slopes. You can even upload videos of your best turns.
7. Let everyone know what time you’ll be back
Hit some traffic on the way home?
Send a message to the group’s parents with your estimated arrival time to ensure everyone’s gets picked up when the bus arrives.
8. Revel in the glory
Once everyone is safely back home make sure you let the community know what a success the trip was for all involved, it will make planning the next one even easier! Share some photos or video from the trip in the next school newsletter, the gallery feature is a great way to upload pictures in a flash. With our new mobile optimised email builder, everything will be beautifully mobile optimised. And that’s it - mission accomplished!
If you have any questions about getting the most out of any the features mentioned for your school, check out our Help Centre. You can also always contact our customer support team, who’d be happy to arrange a training session.
Or if you’re yet to get SkoolBag for your school - contact sales and we’ll have you setup in no-time.