Earlier this month, we announced that West Des Moines Schools is reviewing a proposal to move new family registration to a centralized district registrar (posted at http://wp.me/p1JF02-aL)
What is the status of this proposal?
What happened at the focus group meetings about this topic?
In mid-December, we held 4 focus group sessions that were open to any district staff member. The purpose of the focus groups was to provide additional details on the proposal and then collect questions/feedback.
Right now, we are still reviewing the questions/feedback to determine what issues need to be addressed before the proposal can go on to the next step.
Information discussed at the December focus groups meetings………
- Prior to this year: Certified enrollment was handled separately from Infinite Campus. Certfied enrollment is the process where students are counted and the district is thereby paid according by the state according to our enrollment.
- This year: Certified enrollment was automatically taken from our Infinite Campus/Student Information System.
- In the coming years, the state of Iowa is looking to use SIF technology to allow them to pull student records at any point in time, directly from our system.
What does this mean to our enrollment/registration process?
There will be a higher level of accountability for making sure that our enrollments are correct in Infinite Campus. Our district currently has 120 individuals who have access to edit/modify student enrollment information. With this many individuals, it is extremely hard to maintain accurate records. In addition, our current method is causing families with multiple children to register at multiple schools, sometimes filling out the same exact paperwork multiple times.
What is the proposal to address this problem?
In discussions with the Department of Education, Infinite Campus, and other areas school districts, it was recommended to shift all student enrollment tasks to a centralized District Registrar. This would be a hourly employee that works the full calendar year, housed at the Learning Resource Center, with the primary job role of assisting new families with school registration. In addition, the Registrar would also ensure that all student enrollment fields are marked properly to ensure accurate records.
What tasks/roles would the Registrar do?
Based on other district registrars, he/she would….
- Handle all student enrollments (in and out)
- Data entry related to state reports
- Family demographics/updates
- Data entry for all new families
- Verify family address information
- Handle parent infinite campus accounts
What tasks/roles, might the Registrar do? (items that are still being discussed)
- Handle student records requests?
- Send reminders to parents for demographic info updates?
- Send reminders for fees?
- Determine school placement? (most likely would have to work with the schools to determine placement issues)
What tasks will the Registrar NOT DO?
- Will not record medical info
- Will not schedule into homeroom/course
- Will not provide schedules to families
- Will not be contact for non-english families
- Will not be preschool registrar
- Will not handle open enrollment approval
- Will not work at school based registrations
Could you give us some scenarios of what the process might look like for a new family?
During school year, a family visits school in person…..
- Office provides a standardized district enrollment packet.
- Family fills out initial student page – if they submit it to the school office, then the school can add the student to Campus
- Remaining packet is mailed to District Registrar for data entry.
During school year, family calls to the school…
- School office can either… invite the family to the school and follow the previous process or refer them to the District Registrar.
During school year or summer, family visits the central office…
- The receptionist calls the District Registrar to the front desk to meet the family. Take them to a more private location to provide registrar packet and assist them with completing it.
- Registrar notifies school, works out placement.
- Registrar adds student and family info to Campus
If we proceed with centralizing enrollment through a District Registrar, how might the transition take place?
- The first task would be for the District Registrar to standardize all the school based registration forms into one uniform packet.
- Second task would be work out any changes in the process with service areas such Welcome Center, Nutrition, Transportation, etc.
- Once we ready to proceed, we envision that the transition would occur on school at a time, with the entire transition taking up to a full year if needed.
What feedback/questions were obtained from District Registrar Focus Groups
1st focus group……….
- Concern about lag time… the information needs to be added to Campus right away as teachers and staff need this information right away.
- Arrangements for transportation can’t occur until information is in Campus
- Parents who don’t want their child to attend their home school – how will this be handled?
- How will changes to student enrollment codes be handled during the school year?
- What is the relationship between the Welcome Center and the District Registrar?
- How will Free/Reduced Lunch applications be handled?
- Will the Registrar handle money? Who’s in charge of accepting money?
- What about families with multiple building families.. how are they impacted by the roll out?
- Kindergarten needs birth certificates and other documentation.. how is this handled?
- Can we really handle the workload with just one person, especially in August?
- When change of address occurs, how will buildings/transportation be notified?
- How will address verification be done, so that we know that they do, in fact, live where they say they live.
- Who is the backup when the registrar is sick or on vacation?
- During the school year, can secretaries make changes to Campus? What fields?
From 2nd focus group……….
- We need to standardize the enrollment forms first before we start rolling this out.
- Can we really handle the workload, especially during the start of the school year?
- Will the registrar be bi-lingual? How do we accommodate non-english speaking familes?
- What is the relationship between the Welcome Center and the District Registrar?
- The phones aren’t answered at Valley during the summer – and this is causing issues for parents/families.
- School voicemail messages aren’t being changed during the summer – and they need to be. Phone lines need to be directed to someone who will answer the phone!
- Shouldn’t we be verifying where they live instead of just putting them right into a classroom?
- How are verifications and documentation related to immunizations handled? How about birth certificates?
- Who starts the cum folder? Does the Registrar?
- Make the forms online, to make them more accessible to everyone
- Could we please eliminate the usage of fax machines and stick with email and scanned documents?
- Could we consider grade level rollout vs building rollout?
- What would the registrar work hours be? Would they need flex work schedules due to workload?
- Does the district registrar go out to the buildings during peak times?
- Can we estimate what the peak time volumes will be, so we can better understand how overwhelmed the registrar might be?
3rd focus group feedback………………
- What about kindergarten registration, the forms are different?
- Will the open enrollment process change?
- How will international students be handled?
- Who will handle Campus edits, what about DO NOT CONTACT requests?
- How will kindergarten cap outs be handled?
- What forms will be included in the registration packet?
- Who collects the birth certificate/immunizations?
- Will the registrar collect fees?
4th focus group feedback……………..
- Exactly how much information needs to be done for preschool enrollments?
- Do we roll Pre-K to K? why? Why not?
- Our school currently handles A LOT of parent calls for getting campus accounts unlocked.. I’m not sure the registrar can handle all of that..
- Does the position have to be called the Registrar? We already have a registrar at Valley, isn’t this confusing? Can’t the job title be something else?
- Do building secretaries still register pre-k students that attend pre-k in their schools?
Now that you have this feedback… what’s the next step?
During the month of Jan, we are still taking feedback, questions, and suggestions from staff, parents, and community. We’ll be sorting through the questions and feedback to determine what issues need to be addressed before further exploration.
Can I still provide feedback regarding this?
Yes, 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, firstname.lastname@example.org directly.