Blog Archive - Registration Gateway

Cherokee County SD (GA) School online registration system opens next week

Cherokee Tribune and Ledger News

Staff report, Apr 13, 2018

To read the full article where it was originally published, click here.

The Cherokee County School District’s online system for registering new students opens to parents on April 16th, 2018.

The same paperless system that CCSD used in March to register kindergarteners for the 2018-19 school year will be open for all students who will be entering the school district for the first time. Parents can log in from home to the New Student Gateway via CCSD’s website at www.cherokeek12.net.

“Our new online registration system has been a great success in its first month, with thousands of kindergarteners already signed up and ready to go for the first day of school,” Superintendent Brian Hightower said. “This new system not only is easier for parents to use, it also significantly improves our staff efficiency, increases the accuracy of important information and decreases our paper waste. We’re excited about this next phase, and looking forward to opening the system to all returning CCSD families this summer to replace that dreaded stack of paper ‘first-day forms.’”

The process takes about 15 to 20 minutes, and faster for siblings after entering information for the initial student. Parents enter identification information, such as emergency contact names and numbers, into the secure system, and can then upload legally required documents for enrollment.

After entering information online, parents will schedule an appointment to bring their legally required documents to the school for verification to complete enrollment. If a parent is unable to upload the records from home, they can be scanned and uploaded by school staff during this appointment.

The gateway will remain open all year, and parents who missed the window for online kindergarten registration in March can register their children using the system. The final phase of the new registration system will go live in July for returning CCSD students’ families to use in place of completing paper “first-day forms.”

For more, visit bit.ly/CCSDgateway.

Cherokee Schools (GA) Expand Online Student Registration

April 16, 2018
By David Ibata, For the AJC
Read the full article where it was originally published by clicking here.

The Cherokee County School District’s New Student Gateway online registration system is now available to parents of students attending Cherokee schools for the first time, officials announced.

The gateway was offered to parents of incoming kindergarteners for the 2018-19 school year in March. The final phase of the system is to go live in July for all returning students to use in place of the traditional, paper, “first-day forms,” officials said. Information: http://bit.ly/CCSDgateway

The online registration process can be done from home, takes about 15 to 20 minutes for the first student and goes even faster for each subsequent sibling, officials said. Parents enter identification information, such as emergency contact names and numbers, into a secure system and can upload legally required documents for enrollment.

Parents then are instructed to schedule an appointment to bring the documents to school for verification. The gateway also is available to parents who missed the March window for registering kindergarteners.

“This new system not only is easier for parents to use, it also significantly improves our staff efficiency, increases the accuracy of important information and decreases our paper waste,” said Cherokee schools Superintendent Brian V. Hightower.

#PublicSchoolsWeek All Year Long

This past March, Twitter imploded with the hashtag #PublicSchoolsWeek, drawing attention to our nation’s public schools. The hashtag was part of the “I Love Public Schools” campaign, an ongoing effort to highlight why public schools are essential to develop the future generations that will maintain our country’s status as a world leader. The campaign works to re-frame the current national dialogue around public education to highlight the critical role public schools play as the bedrock of our civic society and their work to prepare students to be successful, contributing members of their local, national and global communities.

The campaign was launched by AASA, The School Superintendents Association, following the organization’s 2017 Legislative Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C. where hundreds of superintendents—America’s foremost thought leaders in public education—discussed critical issues facing our schools. During the meeting, AASA’s Governing Board drafted, finalized and adopted the official resolution in support of the campaign.

While the true intention of the campaign is to protect education funding from budget cuts and tax reform that includes tax credits which direct funding away from public schools, this campaign additionally created a platform for Americans to join together and express their strong feelings toward public education. Public schools truly deserve the recognition; 9 out of 10 American kids attends public school, and in many communities the school district is also the largest employer. We joined in the celebration of teachers, principals, superintendents, school board members, parents and everyone who plays a critical role in helping students succeed, because we’re proud to call them all colleagues.

Now that #PublicSchoolsWeek has ended, will its impression fade as it leaves our Twitter feeds? We think not. Some people believe the processes we automate, such aSchool Choice Lottery and Online Registration only last a week, too. Your registrars and administrators would echo us in saying that the process is ever ongoing, throughout the entire school year. There’s too much to appreciate about our public schools for a single week to encompass. Our mission is to celebrate and assist the public school districts we work with every single day, and we hope you will join us.

The campaign website, www.lovepubliceducation.org, includes details on how anyone associated with advocating for the strength of public education can get involved. As the campaign unfolds over the year, this website will be your go-to source for information, resources and more.

In the meantime, we came up with a list of new age ways to show your appreciation for your school district:

  1. Diligently Update your Social Media Accounts – Not only is social media a great way to inform parents of scheduling updates and events at the district, it shows your students that you can embrace their lifestyles as much as you want them to embrace the district’s code of conduct.
  2. Adopt the I Love Public Education Message – Use the AASA toolkit to publish a press release, a letter to the parents, a letter to your school board, and post on social media in support of the movement to protect public education funding.
  3. Save Money for the Classroom – We know it’s easier said than done, but find places to cut your own spending and reinvest it in instruction. Nothing could bring a more positive result and attitude to your community. Check out this Clever Savings Case Study for some ideas.
  4. Protect Your Data – Not only is clean, secure data a mandate of FERPA and HIPAA, it is a sign of good faith to your district. Make sure access is permissioned accordingly to your staff, students and guardians. Check out this blog on equipping the district and training staff to protect network security.
  5. Increase Transparency – As much as student data deserves protection, your community is equally owed transparency in regards to district endeavors, conditions, and processes. One such process is placement in schools of choice, where unfair admissions processes are rampant across the country. Read more here about bringing transparency to this process.

Clever Savings Case Study: Proposition 123

The national average of money put towards instruction per student is 60%, according to the latest report from the U.S. Census Bureau. While some states lag behind the average, all but one state reported a budget increase for instruction spending in 2015. But we’ve just received good news for that one state, Arizona – and from them, a lesson in large strides vs. penny-pinching.

Arizona instruction spending is officially on the rise as of 2017 with their first increase in more than a decade. The state’s annual report of education spending shows that last year AZ schools invested 53.8 cents of every dollar in instruction. A great turn of events, but Arizona and other states home to the nation’s largest districts still need to do more, and there’s an alternative to the current mode of thinking that could help.

Arizona made a big move in order to turn their instruction budget around. Proposition 123 allowed the schools to sell large plots of land reserves which added more than $200 million to the instruction budget. Big move opportunities like Proposition 123 make an immediate impact, but seizing these opportunities requires patience. The district must not only wait for the right moment (or voter’s approval in this case) to pounce on the opportunity, they must also wait for the opportunity to come around in the first place. Most likely, every district that could use more money in the classroom isn’t sitting on their own valuable land reserves. While penny-pinching make take longer to add up, it works and it’s possible for nearly every school district regardless of circumstance.

Let us ponder the alternative to “big thinking”. Consider the sum of several small solutions that you can implement immediately. We’re talking postage stamp small. For the largest districts, cutting a year’s cost of 3 postage stamps per student a year could result in hundreds of thousands of savings. For a school district of 50,000 students, the savings amount to $73,500 with the current cost of a stamp at $0.49. Sparing these stamps equates to $1.47 per student. Now add the savings of the paper, printer ink, and envelopes. For more paperless savings calculations, check out this blog.

Paperless methodology is a testament to the phrase “greater than the whole of its parts”, which is why we’ve compared it to the impact made by Proposition 123 for AZ schools. Paperless methodology requires the implementation of several postage stamp-small solutions at one time, amounting to a large chunk of change. Regardless of the budget saved, some schools tout increased efficiency as the most impactful benefit of ditching paper.

Perhaps the biggest saving is really the time saved for staff tasked with processing forms. The amount of time spent on manual data entry, scanning, copying, filing, re-filing, and relocating or recreating lost documents is astounding and redundant. Lest not forget that time is money. Going paperless increases your district’s efficiency tenfold by freeing employees from tedious, albeit necessary tasks such as scanning a field trip permission slip for every 2nd grader, and then tracking them all down one by one a week later. Usually, a school district can implement paperless savings plans without waiting on a board decision – or voter approval, for that matter!

Arizona schools had a win this year with their first instruction budget increase in over a decade. While as a nation we applaud that, AZ schools are still $3,000 per student below the national average pupil expenditure. Finding that kind of money without taking away from another aspect of student life is insanely difficult. So why not start by draining the budget for office materials? 

We leave you with a brief public service announcement: if your school district has over 5,000 students, you have around $20,000 a year you could stand to save on paper and associated materials and labor. If you are one of the few school districts over 50,000 students, you could save hundreds of thousands by going paperless.

Rogers School District (AR) taking registration online – from the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette

Written by Dave Perozek for the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette.

The School District is adopting an electronic student registration system officials say will save parents and school employees significant time when it comes to filling out and managing enrollment paperwork.

Charles Lee, assistant superintendent for general administration, explained the system at Tuesday’s School Board meeting. The board voted unanimously to accept a contract with SRC Solutions, a Pennsylvania-based firm, to implement the system.

The contract for $116,050 is good through June 2020. That includes the license fee for the system and staff training.

A district committee examined the firm’s Registration Gateway product and determined it would provide a more convenient way to enroll students, Lee said.

He said he talked to some other school districts in Arkansas, including Fort Smith, using the system. They are all happy with it, Lee said.

Parents will be able to register their children online any time of day. They may also upload any documents schools need, such as vaccination records and verification of address forms. Schools, in turn, may either approve the registration or request additional information from parents.

School registrars will be saved from organizing mounds of paperwork. That will reduce costs on both paper and labor, according to district officials.

The system, using information previously provided, will automatically fill in students’ basic information on forms parents must fill out, thus eliminating a lot of manual data entry, Lee said.

Kristen Cobbs, board president, asked about the security of the system. Lee expressed confidence in it, saying the district’s Technology Department had been involved in the committee that studied it.

Cobbs thanked administrators for the work they put into vetting the system.

“It sounds very exciting,” she said.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

Citation:

Perozek, D. (2017) Rogers School District taking registration online. NWDAG.com. Available at: http://www.nwaonline.com/news/2017/nov/15/rogers-school-district-taking-registrat/?news-arkansas-nwa [Accessed 15 Nov. 2017].

5 Ways Consolidation Can Stifle Growth

Student Information Management is vital to a school district. At the core of a school district’s structure, the student management system can have the district running like a well-maintained car, or one that’s been sitting on blocks for years.

Here is how this can happen.

To simplify, let’s say you’ve gone to a dealership and found what you thought was your dream car. After driving it for a little while, you want make a few upgrades to increase the performance and security of the car.  Unfortunately, your dealer tells you that any upgrade to your car has to be approved by the dealership or your warranty is no longer valid. But by the way, the dealer sell their own upgrades that don’t affect your warranty, but they are clearly inferior to other solutions on the market.

This is what is happening to many districts that want the freedom to pick and choose individual pieces of software to interface with their student information.  Consolidating choices can stifle innovation, and to that end, is it even really a choice?

All SRC Solutions products, including Registration Gateway, are designed to integrate with all Student Information Systems.  We believe that school districts should not only have the choice of how to upgrade their student data management but also the complete and unfettered right to choose how to access it, just as vehicle owners should have the entire auto industry from which to choose a solution to a situational problem.

Closed service providers that try to master every single function, from power steering to tires to the car seats for the kids, can present problems.  Here are a few reasons that putting all your K-12 software eggs in one basket may be more of a problem than you thought.

1. Eliminating the Options…And the Possibilities

Closed  systems don’t allow their clients to think outside the box. By closing their doors and minds to the businesses happening outside their company, they’ve made choices for their customers without consulting them about their needs and desires to innovate and grow.

 

2. Condensed Management and Support

Consolidated service providers become “sole providers” via acquisition of smaller, specialized companies. When an acquired company is absorbed, a lot of department personnel are lost in the merge. Research and Development and Client Relations departments are often completely gutted; their responsibilities simply given over to the existing staff. This not only halts innovation, it can backtrack it. Relationships and plans between customers and the small company are harmed, promises are easily broken or at least, put on a questionable hiatus.

Ask yourself these two questions.

  1. Has the satisfaction with my software providers increased or decreased when they expanded into other areas?
  2. Are my support calls answered as quickly and how much longer do my issues take to get resolved?

3. Too Many Projects,Too Little Time

This one is pretty obvious. If an consolidated service provider says they’re going to provide solutions, from online enrollment to in-the-classroom tools, they’re going to struggle to find the time to deliver on all their promises. Updating software takes a ton of time to design, and then a lot of additional work to implement. This is an example of one big company working harder, not smarter, than all the small companies that work faster and wiser on specialized issues. Ever heard the phrase “jack of all trades, master of none”? Would you rather go to an all-in-one doctor, accountant, and mechanic, or take the time to individually care for your body, finances, and vehicle?

4. Cookie Cutter Products

 

When a large company has only so much time and so many resources to allocate to a particular issue, the end result is a simplified, one-size-fits-all solution. When a specialized organization is able to narrowly focus on solving a common problem, they can customize the solutions to the source. Collecting feedback from customers is the lifeblood of a specialized organization. It’s how they adapt the process to changes in the industry and in modern technology, and they have a lot more time to focus on their smaller range of products, relationships, and services.

5. Can You Be Your Own Competition?

In a psychological way, sure, but not when it comes to business. For the sole provider of software solutions, incentive to innovate fades out with the competition. Promises to upgrade certain processes are easy to make, and easy to break. By keeping customers tied to in-house solutions, they’ve tied their customers hands when it comes to considering competitive options, allowing the company to charge inflated rates for services that simply don’t measure up to those of the specialized companies.

Automation, a worthwhile hassle

Automation: Is Implementation Worth the Hassle?

How much can a change in perspective affect a school district’s central office? Sounds more like life advice from Deepak Chopra than applicable guidance for running a school district. The truth is, a lot of seemingly impossible tasks have been made possible through technology and automation. The issue is that these particular tasks are regular sources of anxiety for central office and administrative personnel, and the idea of letting go of some responsibility is frankly terrifying.

A lot is at stake in a school’s central office – there are kids to worry about, parents to answer to, privacy to protect, and state and government funding to lose. Not exactly a stress-free environment. Letting go of this stress can make us feel vulnerable to error, so it’s understandable that a change in perspective about the technology-takeover is difficult to make, especially for the “digitally-challenged”.

Let’s go through some of these pain points to understand why letting go of the stress is something you can actually do in order to streamline tedious processes without error and in total compliance with state and federal laws, and yes, even with the parents.

Eliminate manual data entry for registrars during student registration.

  1. Why it Hurts: Data needs to be clean, complete, and accurate. Without perfect data, a lot can go haywire – Can you imagine not having the right contact numbers for a student in a time of emergency? Asking a school district to give up some of the control here is scary, for understandable reasons.
  2. A Change in Perspective: Get clean and complete data, with real-time flow to your SIS, by allowing the parents to enter student information and documents Type-ahead data fields prevent error by literally forcing parents to submit data in a certain manner. For instance, they must submit an actual USPS-verified address, and they must submit 2 or 3 or any number of emergency contact information as the school requires before they can complete their enrollment process. Little red asterisks can go a long way, and strictly prohibiting parents from skipping questions doesn’t hurt, either. Parents aren’t bothered by this process; they are thrilled knowing that the school district has everything they need from the guardians to keep their kids safe. They also love that they can have access to an appointment scheduler, allowing them to pick the time that works best for their own schedules.
  3. Relieve Stress, Retain Control: When setting up an online registration system, the implementation team should be responsive and willing to customize a school’s registration system to their needs. We can’t speak for anyone else, but at SRC, this is absolutely true. School districts are assured they can ask all their usual questions to make even the heaviest paper registration packets electronic. Some even choose to make the student handbook a requirement of this system, kind of like accepting the Terms and Conditions to use certain websites. Another thing to remember here is that your registrars still hold the power to review, accept, or deny any data that comes through the online registration system, making sure that incorrect data doesn’t slip through.
  4. Take a Deep Breath: Once approved by the registrar, these student enrollments are sealed, and flow directly into the Student Information System. Meaning the registrar never has to make a copy or pick up a phone to notify anyone that a new student has enrolled. Notifications are automated – everyone who needs to know, knows immediately, and is only given access to the information they are allowed to see. This is guaranteed to be in full compliance with federal laws like FERPA and HIPAA, as well as any state and local retention mandates. So YES, you can let go of this stress!

Get every document needed from parents on time, and know exactly where they are at all times.

  1. Why it hurts: This is not a new problem for school districts. Parents often forget to bring certain documents with them to their registration appointment, and those documents become harder to track down as time passes. Frequently calling and emailing parents to request these documents is urgent and important, but is annoying for both parties. In times of emergency, such as a house fire, parents usually look to the school district for copies of birth certificates and similar precious documents that may have been destroyed. This is just another reason it’s important for schools to be meticulously organized – failing to present these documents to a family in need is not only tragic for the family, it also damages the reputation of the school.
  2. A Change in Perspective: Intelligent Document Management Software. Man oh man, is that a mouthful. Basically, it refers to an incredibly intelligent electronic repository where all documents are stored in digital form. Within the repository, there are all kinds of placeholders to make sure that each document is appropriately labeled and secured, so that each document is extremely easy to retrieve – but only by permissioned users. It also refers to the means of transferring these documents into the system. Physical scanners can be linked to this repository by using a data glyph or bar code related to the individual student and document type. When the data glyph or bar code is scanned, it communicates where the document belongs to the repository and lands in the right folder and the correct document-type placeholder. So when you scan Jane Doe’s 4th quarter report card from 3rd grade, it doesn’t go anywhere except the place holder made specifically for Jane Does’s 4th quarter report card from 3rd
  3. Relieve Stress, Retain Control: So a fancy digital filing cabinet exists, how does that help a school district retrieve documents from parents? Well, there are actually a couple of ways this fancy filing cabinet can make your document dreams come true. First, parents can scan and upload these documents from home. Just like with registration data, registrars must approve and allow the submitted documents to take their place in the repository. Second, imagine the physical filing cabinet in your office calling out every missing document in every folder: Jimmy is missing his immunization record! Susie is missing her permission slip for next week’s field trip! Now imagine that physical filing cabinet pulled out a phone and texted Jimmy and Susie’s parents about their missing documents, and sent them an e-mail as well. By pulling daily reports about missing documents, and setting automated notifications to parents, you can automatically email and text parents until the document is provided. This can happen once a month, week, or every day if you like. It’s still under your control – you just don’t have to physically do it.
  4. Take a Deep Breath: This doesn’t just refer to student documents! It can handle records requests, HR documents, and essentially any other type of business process you may want to automate. Sure, the process has to be built out first – you can’t just go scanning and hoping the repository will figure it out – but there’s really no limit to what you can’t do here. And think of all the trees you can save!

Save a lot of money and time.

  1. Why it Hurts: Because DUH everyone wants to save as much money and time as they can, this isn’t news! This hurts because saving money can require doing less for your staff and student body. This hurts because spending money to save money is risky. This hurts because taking the time to fixate on the details can prevent big issues down the road.
  2. A Change in Perspective: We’ve already been through the ways you can allow staff to stop fixating on the details while still be totally compliant to legal policies and provide great communication to students and guardians. So let’s just think about the time and money it takes to make copies, deliver copies or call around the school to notify other personnel, file documents, find documents, set appointments with parents, buy stamps, lick envelopes, and mail home report cards and policy updates and permission slips, etc. Although individually these tasks can be small, they add up a lot of minutes and cents in the end.
  3. Relieve Stress, Retain Control: When your district utilizes an online enrollment system and/or an electronic document repository, you slice most minutes off of these tasks, and eliminate the printing, paper, and mailing costs that go with them. You also spend money paying your staff to have more productive workdays.
  4. Take a Deep Breath: The software we’ve been talking about isn’t exactly cheap, nor is it easy, breezy right off the bat. Staff needs to be trained on how to use it, and the implementation team on the software side basically needs as much training too, in order to deliver the best solution for the district. But is it worth the cost and the time it takes to get the software in place and the staff up to the task of using it? Absolutely. Most districts recover the cost in their first year and have exponential savings in following years. Staff members become more knowledgeable and comfortable each year, which expands the capabilities at hand. Guardians love that they no longer have to wait in long lines for their registration appointments. As taxpayers, they’re thrilled that their money was used to modernize the school district and make student information more available to them and accessible on their own time.

Going digital isn’t just possible, it’s worth it, and easy in the long run. It’s time to admit manual data entry and document retention isn’t as useful and safe as it feels, and it’s okay to upgrade! Treat yourself and your district to Intelligent Data and Document Management.

AASBO Tucson, AZ | July 19th to the 22nd

Come find our booth at the 64th annual AASBO Conference to enter to win a $100 Amex Giftcard and to ask Bill how the Gateway Suite can revolutionize paper-heavy processes like School Lottery and New School Year Registration.

Octorara Area School District (PA) eases registration for parents and staff with online student enrollment

After searching for a solution to automate student data flow to PowerSchool, Octorara partners with Registration Gateway from SRC Solutions.

Through technological advancement, Octorara Area School District is improving and ensuring student and guardian involvement in the education process and in the district’s community. These strides go hand in hand with Octorara’s mission.  Quality relationships between parents, students and school are a source of pride. Relying on a previously dated paper registration process caused heartache with Octorara leading the administration on a search for a way to automate this lengthy process.

Registration Gateway is an award-winning Online Enrollment Solution for K12 school districts across the country. “When people on both sides of a process, like registrars and parents in the registration process, have the same source of grief – they aren’t causing the problem. Taking paper out of the equation simultaneously takes out incomplete data, manual data entry for registrars, and cuts down time spent in-office for parents, creating a symbiotic relationship between the two parties.  It relieves a lot of stress on both sides,” said SRC Founder, Patrick Maher.

After scouring several online enrollment competitors, the district administration’s decision was ultimately based on “Registration Gateway’s superior compatibility with our student information system and the user friendly software for parents and staff,” according to Octorara Area School District Registrar, Cheryl Todd. As the best choice for both school staff, the student community and their families, a partnership between Octorara and SRC Solutions, Inc. began.

Today, Octorara School District is almost completely paper-free for their registration process, with an estimated 95% of parents completing student enrollment online. They have attested to saving a “tremendous” amount of time, for both parents and staff. They’ve saved a few pretty pennies as well with the elimination of printing registration forms and supporting documents.

Ms. Todd spoke about their first experience with Registration Gateway in place: “Registration Gateway was used for our kindergarten registration process for the first time this year.  The program helped us to streamline our process with parents on the night of registrations. We were able to keep better track of student documents, as they were scanned and kept with the student’s forms online.  It was a tremendous time saver with the elimination of hand entering all the student data from the registration forms.  It also provided better accuracy with the information that was collected.”

Staff members are certainly happy their jobs have become easier, but for Octorara it’s always about the students and their families first. “With Registration Gateway we are able to coordinate our registration process with the Registrar and the student screenings with our building staff.  This allows the parents to take care of everything on a single day instead of missing multiple days of work and having to spend the extra money on travel.  We are able to get our students in the classroom sooner,” explained Todd.

Todd also explained that with these advancements in efficiency, Octorara school personnel were able to reallocate the time and energy usually reserved for enrollment. Instead they spent it where it matters most: on the students and in the classroom.

“Registration Gateway streamlines the entering of student information into our student information system, PowerSchool.  The savings of time for staff allows them to focus on other areas of their jobs and creates better efficiencies,” said Todd.

About SRC Solutions, Inc.

SRC Solutions’ flagship product Registration Gateway has had a long and successful partnership with K12 school districts. Being a technology leader is nothing new to SRC Solutions. Going all the way back to 2008, Registration Gateway was one of the first Online Enrollment solutions to offer real-time data integration to Student Information Systems.

Registration Gateway