Move new family registration to a District Registrar?

For many years, our schools have handled the student registration process at each school.  New families with multiple children were asked to travel to each school to fill out the same paperwork.  In addition, we’ve had situations where one school changes or overrides the information in our student records system that was entered by a previous school.   In order to be more customer friendly to new families and to help ensure that our student records are more accurate, we are discussing the following…

Centralizing the enrollment process through a district registrar.

Q1.  What would the District Registrar do?
A1. The District Registrar’s will be responsible for…

  • enrolling all new students/families
  • handling demographic updates/changes for all existing students/families
  • ensure proper marking of all student enrollment codes

Q2. How do other school districts handle this?  Do they have district registrars also?
A2.Yes, in fact most districts have already centralized their registration process to ensure accurate records.  Centralizing the enrollment process is recommended by both the Department of Education and Infinite Campus.

Q3.  What would the process look like if  a new family wanted to register for school?

Here’s a few scenarios…

1) New family calls during the summer to inquire about enrolling at our schools
The call is directed to the District Registrar who will personally assist the family with the registration process, regardless of the ages of the children.  All information/forms submitted by the family will be directed to the District Registrar, who will handle the entering of student/family information into Infinite Campus.

2) What if the new family calls during the school year?
This would be handled the same as the previous answer – the district registrar would assist the family with the enrollment process.

3) What if the family shows up at the school during school registration?
Each school office will have a copy of the standard enrollment forms – and they could provide the forms to the parents since they are already at the school.  The school office would accept the forms and would enter only the minimal student information needed in Infinite Campus.  The remaining information would be sent in the mail to the District Registrar who would finish the data entry.

Q4.  If this was to happen… when would it start?
We would transition over a 12 to 18 month period by working with each individual school.  Transitioning over time will allow to adjust to issues and concerns as they arise.

Q5. How would this change the role of the school office staff?
School office staff will still have the ability to enroll new students, but will not have to worry about handling all of the data entry.

Q6. Would existing families need to interact with the District Registrar?
Yes,  if an existing household needed any of the following, they would contact the district registrar..

a. If you need a Campus Account, or need a password reset on your existing parent account

b. If you need to make a change to your family information including address, phone, or relationships.

Q7.  How can I provide feedback regarding this?

If you are a parent/community member, we encourage you to either submit your questions or feedback using the comment field below, or you may contact Brian Abeling, abelingb@wdmcs.org directly.

If you are a staff member of WDM Schools, we also encourage you to either respond with comment field below or contact Brian Abeling via email.  For building office staff, administrators, other individuals that are directly related to the registration process, we will be holding focus groups during mid-December to collect specific questions and feedback.

14 thoughts on “Move new family registration to a District Registrar?

  1. wdmtech Post author

    We acknowledge that there are still many factors to consider. This is why we are asking for your feedback.

    Here’s a few of the specific questions we’ve already received…

    1) Will the District Registrar verify the families address? (as that’s currently being done by the school office)

    2) What about families that don’t speak English, how will we assist them?

    3) Can one person handle the amount of work? is that a concern?

    Please… add your comments and questions to the list…

    Reply
    1. Brian Abeling Post author

      More comments and suggetions sent it…

      4) Being that this is such a delicate area, I think we are just asking for trouble with so many “fingers in the pie.” I think it is a very good idea and would make for a much smoother registration process for our families.

      5)I agree that consistency is key and having one specific person to handle enrollments would be a benefit.

      6)I am hoping we can centralize ALL registrations in WDM ASAP. As you may know, Urbandale has registration for all schools in one place – one piece of paper, one conversation with one administrator, and you are out.

      7) This makes a lot of sense to me. You will have to face the problem of unifying the paperwork. Right now different schools require different forms. I think it is much more user-friendly for parents to only have to fill out forms once instead of at each school.

      8 ) I think it makes sense and sounds efficient. It is such a pain in my side to visit three separate schools only to give almost identical information at each site.

      9) I see so many variations in how schools mark things and have just come to accept that this is the way we do it, kind of a “good enough” scenario. It would reflect so much better on our district to have an “excellent” scenario where records are accurate and one person specializes in all the aspects of registration. I also feel for parents who come in and have to fill out so many forms when they have students at different buildings.

      10) Perhaps it would be good for district people to visit other districts’ registrars to see how they do things…course maybe you’d thought of this already.

      11) Would this impact preschool registration?

      Reply
  2. Michelle Johnson

    Where would the district registrar be located? And is this to be one person or several? What about open-enrollment?

    Reply
    1. Brian Abeling Post author

      Great questions.. Since families need to register through out the school year, it’s likely that the position would be at the LRC. The position would also work with the Data Support Specialist as the enrollment data relates to state reporting. Of course, when new families walk in, we would need to send the District Registrar down to the front desk to meet, greet, and assist the families.

      Our assumption right now is that this is just one person, as comparable districts are handling this need with one single, hourly employee. For open enrollment, that would likely remain as it is currently handled.

      Reply
  3. Rebekah Duchesneau

    I think it’s a terrific idea to centralize this kind of process! I can just imagine how much relief this will be to the school offices. Certainly it would be a good idea to get a feel from other districts on how they handle their enrollment process & what their process was when they made their transition.

    Reply
  4. Joy Zuber

    I think that the Welcome Center should also relocate to the LRC to assist non-English speaking families through the registration process. It is very difficult to send a non-English speaking person to Valley for assistance. Everything would run much smoother this way.

    Reply
  5. Barb Domek

    I love the idea of parents only having to complete one set of paperwork, however this only applies to parents who are registering more than one child. If the parent is only registering one child then we have added a step to the process as most want to visit the school as well as register at the same time. Many times, our new families just show up at school without calling first. If we go to centralized registration, would we send them away? My other concern is that there will possibly be only one person handling all the new enrollees at the start of the school year. I think this fall, Crossroads had a least 50 new families register. My job share partner and I put in “many” extra hours due to the number of students that are capped to other schools and then having to track down our “no shows” before we can call back our cap out students. One person would have been kept “very, very busy” handling registration and cap outs alone for our current school year for Crossroads, Crestview and Western Hills. Our registration of new families would actually run pretty smoothly if it weren’t for dealing with cap outs.
    Overall, I am in favor of centralized registration. I think that someone focusing solely on registration and enrollment will do a better job of gathering the paperwork and making sure the data is entered correctly. I agree with Joy about the Welcome Center moving to the LRC as well since it is such an integral part of registering our ESL families.

    Reply
  6. Danielle Pierott

    I think consolidation and standardization is wonderful. We moved into the district from out of state 2 days before school started this past August and that certainly would have been helpful. Could you please be sure to include transportation with in this unified process? Arranging the bus was the MOST difficult part of the process as we had to fill out a form for each child, which was all repeatative, send it to a different office and wait for the transportation office to register my already registered students. Given that they were registered students and buses already traveled up and down my street (we didn’t even need a new stop) it makes no sense that they couldn’t take the bus for a week waiting for this process. thank you

    Reply
  7. Mayra Tapia

    Will this only be offered to new families…what about families that are not new and have different students in different schools. Like in my case I have a student at Valley, one at Stillwell and 2 at Fairmeadows….It would be great to do registration for all my kids on one day in one location vs going from place to place and on different dates and times. I have to ask for a day off at work to get all this done. So it would be great if you could do the centralized registration for all families and not just new families. Thanks! It would be even better if you could do it all online!!!

    Reply
    1. Brian Abeling Post author

      We certainly agree about moving it all on-line… we’ve been investigating options for doing this, and we’re hoping to start moving some of the process online within the next year. Regarding having registration at one location at one time, that has also been reviewed – but for now, we looking to start with new family registration first, work out the issues/challenges, and then move towards existing registration concerns. In the end, there’s still likely to be a visit, at least to the secondary schools, to receive your childs schedule. Howwever, we are certainly hoping to streamline the paperwork/forms…

      Brian

      Reply
  8. Tracy

    I think centralizing is good for keeping records accurate. Here are some additional quirks to consider:
    1. What about children who have health concerns. We usually fill out paperwork for the school nurse at each school. How will that be filed? I can imagine that each nurse has a different filing system so that she/he can record office visits, meds dispursement, etc.

    2. What about all the unique paperwork for each school? Specifically, PTA focused forms. There will need to be a process for this as well so that parents can get access (or at least have awareness) that there are special forms unique at each school that will help them to get connected with the community there.

    3. Don’t forget some sort of check-box on the electronic screen for things like the Volunteer Waiver and Driver information. If all that paperwork is housed centrally, building personnel will need to be able to electronically verify that driving form/insurance form is on file. Some schools require you fill out at beginning of the year and then allow for additional people to fill out form as drivers for field trips, etc are needed. Just another component to think about when setting up the process (figuring out who is responsible for collecting what forms, etc).

    Reply
    1. Brian Abeling Post author

      Thanks for your comments – there are certainly lots of issues to work through, which is why we are planning a somewhat slow transition to the centralized process.

      Reply

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