West Orange Public Schools (PowerSchool User)

The West Orange, New Jersey, K-12 Public School District has been educating students since 1895 when the Washington School first opened its doors. Today the system has eleven schools—the newest being Liberty Middle School, which opened December 2005.

Located throughout West Orange, the seven elementary schools, three middle schools and one high school do an outstanding job of educating the 6,200+ student body. Courses in the culinary arts, advertising and graphic arts and technical education are available. Several shifts of late buses afford West Orange students the opportunity to participate in athletics, music, drama and more than 40 extra-curricular clubs.

The Problem

The central registration process at the district office for the West Orange Public Schools was very laborious and paper-intensive. Many forms were completed in triplicate and parents had to rewrite a child’s vital statistics multiple times. Once completed, the registration data was sent on paper via interoffice mail to other school departments, including:

  • Transportation
  • Special Services
  • Basic Skills

At peak registration times, four registrars were needed to handle the workload, and the level of data accuracy in the PowerSchool® student information system (SIS) was much lower than they would have liked.

The Preparation

Registration Gateway from SRC Solutions removes paper from the registration equation, allowing parents to enter all student data directly online. School district registrars can add relevant student data electronically and distribute it among school departments through
automated business rules customized for each student, without the need for paper.

Assessing the Situation

SRC Solutions had an existing relationship with West Orange and approached them with a newly developed solution to their
registration process. Once the district approved the project, the SRC software development team met with West Orange registrars and technology department. Establishing a close relationship between SRC and West Orange was perhaps the most important aspect of the
Registration Gateway deployment. “I’m very pleased with the lines of communication and everyone is comfortable with one another… (SRC) has been more than professional and more than gracious in our dealings and we are getting everything done,” said Steven Kehayes, Director of Technology and Administrative Services for West Orange.

Preparation

SRC and West Orange worked hand-in-hand to re-engineer every form in the registration process to meet the specific needs of that department—at the same time painting a clear picture of the business rules that would automate the entire process. In addition to Registration Gateway, the SRC team installed a digital signature pad and a scanner for capturing documents such as birth certificates and proofs of residency. The system was also equipped with a digital camera to take photos of students at the time of registration.

Reducing Data Entry

Today parents enter the child’s name and other vital information one time only—using web-based forms instead of paper. Through
the Registration Gateway online interface, parents can also review school policies, download affidavits and other necessary documents,
and schedule a registration appointment. When the parent arrives for registration, information is verified online and the school registrar adds the district-supplied data. Supporting documents—immunization records, birth records, proof of residency—are digitally scanned and an electronic parent signature is captured. Registration Gateway then populates all remaining system-generated forms, which later becomes the completed registration packet.

Automating the Process & Eliminating the Paper

Once a child’s registration is complete, email notifications are automatically distributed to internal school departments. The electronic documents are stored as PDFs in a separate electronic collection for each child. The data is then automatically uploaded
to the district’s PowerSchool® SIS in real time. Any missing documentation is flagged by Registration Gateway for follow-up— either through automated email or phone calls to the parent or district employee. Bar code technology is also used to track and enter new documents as they come in.

Training the Staff

Despite the tremendous number of processes that Registration Gateway manages, training needs for West Orange employees were comparatively minimal. SRC spent an hour training the registrars on the software, and another hour on practice runs enrolling a student with Registration Gateway. SRC then facilitated a “train the trainer” system, using school employees to help with ongoing training as SRC deployed Registration Gateway throughout the school district.

“ SRC Solutions has worked with every school and every principal and this has been successful.”
– Steven Kehayes

The Results

West Orange saw immediate improvements in the student enrollment process. Registrars were able to slash the average registration time from an average of 45 minutes to 10 minutes. Drop-down menus dramatically reduced the amount of data being keyed, reducing both time and errors. Data now flows directly to the PowerSchool® SIS without concern for typos, mistakes or missing data. The departments who receive completed enrollments enjoy the benefits of a single dashboard-type view of the student’s data, compared to the previous method of information being spread over several pages of paper. This comprehensive single view also allowed for easy printing, if necessary. Finally, the technology group has slashed the amount of time dedicated to ensuring accurate data to a fraction of the time previously spent. Moving forward, Mr. Kehayes said his plan is to increase staff efficiency and eventually add speed. “The education system requires a tremendous amount of data and documentation. RegistrationGateway allows us to focus less on processing paperwork and more on what matters most—meeting the educational needs of our students. We now have a fast, cost-efficient, secure registration process that allows for easy access to student files.”

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