Blog Archive - Registration Gateway

Come Visit Us at LACUE 2018 – Booth #305 -November 27-29th Hyatt Regency, New Orleans, LA

LACUE: Louisiana Association of Computer Using Educators 2018 Conference is coming soon!

When you stop by the Registration Gateway Booth #305, you can get all the details on Registration Gateway.   This solution can improve student data accuracy and remove all paperwork from your district.  Less paper means less chance of misplacing important documents.  When you aren’t looking for missing documents, you are creating a much more efficient workplace.

Online enrollment is only one great benefit to you and your district.  When you combine integrated Student Information System data transfer, fee collection, appointment scheduling, district notifications, enhanced dashboards and reporting, what you truly have is an efficient Online Enrollment Solution.

Stop by to speak with Andy Holloway to learn which applications from SRC Solutions will work best for your district.

If you need another reason to stop by our booth, you can enter the $50 Visa Card Contest!  See you there.

Join us at HECC 2018! This conference is November 7-9th, at the Crowne Hotel and Conference Center Downtown Indianapolis

Come learn how there’s a better way to streamline your K-12 enrollment process with Registration Gateway.   Bill Mers will be there to provide relevant information on eliminating errors while transforming your cumbersome paperwork tasks into a seamless process.

Stop by and enter a chance to win a $50 Visa Gift Card too!

Why not set up a personal demo while you’re at the booth?  Contact us here.

The Unintentional Ways Schools Might Be Violating FERPA

We are learning today that being FERPA compliant isn’t as simple as tossing out your old student records.  As Tina Nazarian mentions in her article, “The Unintentional Ways Schools Might Be Violating FERPA”, don’t just put them in trash cans—shred them first.  If you don’t, your institution might get accused of violating the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or FERPA, which protects student education records in both K-12 and higher education.

FERPA experts state that there are several ways schools may be unaware of their non-compliance; one area often overlooked is with using outside vendors prior to properly vetting them.  It is the school’s responsibility to ensure that vendor doesn’t misuse students’ information records.  Some “free” online apps may be mining data to sell to third-parties which is in direct violation.  To stay compliant, schools should understand exactly what vendors are doing with their data.  Schools need to emphasize the information is NOT for the vendor’s own benefit. Continue reading The Unintentional Ways Schools Might Be Violating FERPA

The Impact of Increasing Administrative Efficiency

Written by Hannah Kowalczyk-Harper

Secretaries are the secret superheroes of our schools. They are truly required to be a jack of all trades while keeping smiles on their faces. It seems as if a school secretary’s work is never done. Their job descriptions include a long list of tasks such as working as a liaison between the community and school staff, keeping student records up to date and transporting them, answering calls on multi-line phones, and much more. Administrative efficiency can make or break the reputation of a school district.

Unfortunately, many schools aren’t having these resourceful staff members work in the most efficient ways. Secretaries are being overworked. According to Dr. Mary Bousted of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), “Sadly, support staff feel over-utilized and under-valued.”

In most school buildings, secretaries are the first people visitors interact with and thus the first impression they have of your school. This first interaction hints at your overall school climate. Is your central office empty because secretaries are filing papers in a back room? Or do your secretaries look frazzled and disorganized with countless stacks of papers cluttering up their desks?

A bad first impression can discourage families from enrolling their children in your school or scare away a potential teacher you were hoping to hire. When the administrative staff is backed up, the entire district is backed up. You want your secretaries to be present, organized, and cheerful. This will create a better perception of your district overall.

How Does Administrative Inefficiency Affect your District’s Reputation?

Consider this scenario. One of your secretaries starts her day with piles of returning enrollment packets that need to be manually typed and logged in the school’s Student Information System (SIS) and a stack of record requests to be typed and forwarded to individual schools. Parents come to turn in registration papers and watch as their forms get added to a large pile of papers.

Meanwhile, phone calls pour in frequently and the secretary answers in a distracted tone as she motions for another visitor to wait a minute. By the time she finds all the volunteer forms for him, she has forgotten where she put those registration papers. Not much has gotten accomplished for your school and the list of essential tasks to accomplish has grown rather than shrunk. She is too busy to help out other staff members.

Here is another option. A secretary in your school logs into the administrator’s side of an enrollment portal and approves new students who have correctly filled out their online registration forms. Those approved flow directly into the SIS and are organized accordingly. Those that are not ready for approval are sent an automated message that their enrollment information needs more attention before the school can accept them into the system.

Then your secretary warmly greets a couple who is considering enrolling their child at your school. She takes them on a tour around the building. When they ask for registration papers, your secretary directs them to where they can fill everything out online. A phone call comes in from another school that needs a former student’s records. Within a few clicks, everything is sent.

A group of volunteers and the hired photographer, who have already filled out the necessary paperwork and submitted background checks online, are walked down to the gymnasium to set up their annual blood drive. The secretary returns to the office, grabs a cup of tea, and asks the principal if there is anything she can help with.

The second scenario is clearly the more desirable one. So how can it be accomplished? Administrative technology transforms these cumbersome traditional tasks into a series of clicks that streamline, organize, and automate a school district’s electronic filing cabinet, allowing your administrative staff to spend more time being personable and present with your community.

Impacting the District’s Bottom Line with Increased Administrative Efficiency

In recent years, the amount of money poured into technology for schools has been increasing, but mainly in classrooms. Technology geared to the administration positively affects the district’s bottom line, and the secretaries’ efficiency and attitudes, by streamlining their daily tasks.

Eva Moskowitz, the founder of Success Academy Charter Schools, said in a speech at NYEdTech week last year, “Think differently about what constitutes innovation in education. Understanding how schools are really working and what their needs are for effective and efficient ways of doing things is most helpful.” She later went on to say, “I have found the education space just way behind every other sector in terms of how do we do things fast, better, more efficient. There is enormous inefficiency there, and we certainly could use a lot of products to improve the home-office situation.”

If you expect your students to embrace technology, the rest of your school needs to embrace it as well. This includes your hard-working secretaries. Rather than swimming in pools of paper, many secretarial tasks can be completed more accurately and efficiently with the proper tools. Student registrations, volunteer clearances, and record requests are just a few of the tasks that can be reduced to a matter of minutes and clicks.

When freed from spending so much time on tedious tasks, your secretaries can spend their energy elsewhere. They can answer family’s questions, assist teachers in overflow tasks, and manage schedules. Secretaries appreciate cards and kind words complimenting their work. But the best way to show you realize the complexity of their job is to help make it simpler. Making their job more efficient means they can accomplish more each day without having to work overtime.

Your parents will enjoy the increased attentiveness, your teachers will be less stressed with the extra help, and your secretaries will benefit from the increased focus. Secretaries are everyday superheroes, but even superheroes can use some help from time to time. When you give secretaries the necessary tools to succeed, your entire school runs more smoothly.

 

CCSD Rolls Out Back-to-School Gateway Online System

The registration system for students already enrolled in CCSD schools replaces the first-day stack of papers parents have to fill out.

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

CANTON, GA — The Cherokee County School District has rolled out its Back-to-School Gateway, an online system that will reduce paper waste and “wasting parents’ valuable time,” it said. The gateway is an online registration system for students already enrolled in CCSD schools that replaces the dreaded stack of first-day forms with a quick digital check and update of students’ existing contact and emergency notification information in CCSD’s records system.

“We have heard parents’ and front office staff’s concerns, and thanks to the hard work of our Office of Technology & Information Systems’ staff, we have found a better way,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian Hightower said, adding that staff spent two years to find and customize the system. “This system is much better for parents, but it also increases the accuracy of vital information, and saves taxpayer dollars by eliminating paper costs and staff time spent processing paper forms.”

To use the system immediately, parents will need to use their child’s student ID number (which he or she also uses in the lunchroom and for computers at school) as the username, and the student’s GTID number (this is on your child’s report card and high school semester transcript) as the password. These are the same two ID numbers parents used to create Canvas learning management system accounts last year.

Through the simple and quick process, parents will click through screens to confirm or update contact information and will have the opportunity to apply for free or reduced-price lunch (beginning July 25) and print out special forms such as for medication or allergies. Required state and federal information forms also have been incorporated into the paperless system. We ask all parents to complete the Back-to-School Gateway forms by Friday, Aug. 3.

 

The only paper needed in the process for most users will be for students in Grades 4-12 to sign a receipt of their student handbook and discipline code.

The Back-to-School Gateway, which can be viewed here, is the final step in an online transition that CCSD successfully began earlier this year with kindergarten registration and new student enrollment. The enrollment system, called the New Student Gateway, remains open year-round.

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.

Registration Gateway