Feature District of the Month: McAllen (Texas) ISD

Parents and guardians have never much enjoyed traditional, paper-based student registration and re-enrollment.

But for parents of the 24,000 students at the McAllen (Texas) Independent School District, the process was close to unbearable. Filling out enrollment forms in person meant getting to an administration building, waiting in line and then entering information by hand – all on a sweltering August day in the southern tip of the Lone Star State.

Three years ago, frustration with the legacy process finally reached a boiling point. Parents were sick of filling out paper forms, and district staff was fed up with having to manually enter information into the SIS.

The time to adopt an online student registration and re-enrollment system had arrived.

“Our superintendent turned to the technology department and asked us to find a solution,” district data processing manager Sonia Mata said. “After evaluating multiple vendors, the bid award was granted to SRC Solutions.”

The Pennsylvania company deployed Registration Gateway, the only truly paperless student registration and re-enrollment solution on the market. The system went live in summer 2011.

“The first year, we had some issues that dealt with internal hardware and networking issues,” Mata said. “They weren’t software issues – they didn’t have anything to do with the SRC platform yet these issues were impacting users of the Registration Gateway system as well as other internal systems.

“When we initially launched, we told our parents that, starting July 18, they could log in and register. They did – in huge numbers. That high volume revealed a hardware connection issue that was slowing the data flow inside the McAllen network.  SRC responded immediately and volunteered to work with our network vendor to identify the issue.

SRC proved a valuable partner throughout the process.

Two years later, McAllen’s online registration system is performing flawlessly. Parents are enjoying a streamlined process, and district staff is loving automatic data transfer from registration form to SIS.

“Once I made that initial phone call to SRC, they had several individuals on board immediately,” Mata said. “There was a point in time where the district’s board of trustees was questioning heavily why there were problems with the online registration process. At that point, an SRC vice president actually came to Texas from Pennsylvania to address the board and support the technology department.

“They were the ones who helped us with the hardware problems we were having, even through that wasn’t necessarily their job.”

All around, registration and re-enrollment at McAllen ISD is faster, more efficient and less expensive.

And compared with the traditional, paper-based process, that’s pretty cool.