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5 Common Errors with Manual Registration

A digital registration solution can help both parents and staff make the registration process paperless, secure, and efficient. Switching from a manual, paper-based enrollment system to an online registration solution will mitigate risks like misplaced student files and data entry errors.

Many industries have switched from analog to digital in order to save space and increase efficiency. Think about how much easier it is to find the song you want to hear now that you no longer have to go through a CD collection, input the disk into another device, and read the jewel case to find the right song. You simply search for the song within your own digital library or elsewhere online and it pops up and plays. You also don’t have to risk opening the CD case to find that the disk has gone missing, or worse, a different CD in its place. This discovery could mean the entire organization of your CD collection has been compromised. School systems and offices are now feeling a similar relief when it comes to the registration information and necessary documentation of their staff and clients.

With an online registration solution, the common errors that come with manual registration are prevented entirely.  Within a school system, the standard process of registering a child for their education has been that the parent personally fills out the forms, which are handed over to school staff in order to be manually entered into the student information system (SIS) and then filed accordingly, as well as distributed throughout the staff appropriately. A similar process also occurs when new employees are hired and have to submit the same information to the human resources department. SRC Solutions has reinvented the standard by going digital. Here are the 5 most common errors of manual registration that can be automatically corrected and prevented by utilizing a digital system. The examples given below regarding new student enrollment can also be applied to a new hire situation between the HR department and a new employee.

  1. Prevent incomplete data while increasing parent confidence.

Digital solutions actually make parents feel more involved and confident about their student’s registration, while simultaneously preventing them from making mistakes and disrupting the whole process. Normally, a parent is handed a hefty paper packet which asks all the necessary questions a school must ask in order to keep track and take care of a student. When parents fill this kind of information out on paper, it is very easy for blanks to go unfilled, either because the parent is resistant to answer or because human error permits them to skip over a question. When filling out the information online, products such as Registration Gateway make sure the parent cannot move to the next set of questions without answering absolutely everything the school considers necessary. It also prevents them from entering data in an unacceptable format. This ensures that the data flowing into the SIS is clean and complete.

  1. Prevent illegible data while saving time for staff.

Everybody’s handwriting is different, and what is legible to one person is not always legible to the next. The next step in the traditional registration process after parents fill out the paper forms, is handing over that packet to a registrar or secretary to be manually entered into the SIS. Even if your paper registration packet is only 10 pages long, and you only have 500 students in one school, you’re still depending on your staff to manually enter 5,000 pages of information, and decipher 500 different kinds of handwriting. The average manual data entry error rate for humans is 1 percent, meaning that 1 out of every 100 entries is erroneous, explained Ugerboek Software. Registration Gateway eliminates this step of the process entirely. The data flows directly from the parent portal in Registration Gateway, and, after being approved by the school, transfers directly into the SIS. This means no more translating parents’ handwriting, and no misspellings in the data as a result. It also saves hours and hours of time and redundant effort for the staff.

  1. Better control and regulate the student data.

St. Street. Str. (555)123-4567. 555-123-4567. 5551234567. There are many different modes that data can be relayed when you hand a client a pen instead of offering them options to choose from. With a digital registration process, the input of data is regulated according to the administrator’s preference. The data relating to each individual student can be managed on a grand scale to make sure that the data is logged and stored in the most consistent manner possible. This prevents problems you might not expect, such as issues with mailing addresses, contact information, and student transportation information. For example, you may think you notified every parent of a child who lives on Main St. about a situation on their children’s bus route. But if one student has their data logged differently (ex. Main Street), their parents may fail to be informed. Registration Gateway from SRC Solutions, Inc. is completely tailorable to any individual school district’s needs and preferences.

  1. Paper is vulnerable – make your data safer.

Paper is an incredibly vulnerable substance. It can burn, it can be torn, it can turn to mush during a flood, and it can be stolen or misplaced. In cases of fire or flood, school systems that rely on paper files are left without a back-up plan; the data is simply destroyed. Forest Brook High School in Houston, Texas, recently fell under fire for failing to provide student records that proved former students had been enrolled in their school, reported KHOU.com. When investigated by the Texas Education Agency, the school was also found to have student enrollment files that were completely illegible and some students even had two completely different transcripts with varying information. The TEA noted that one of the issues behind the inaccurate, poorly maintained records is the recent floods that have swept through the city, which may have destroyed many of the missing documents. Natural disasters do happen, but the threat of being handled by man is much more common issue and can even be more detrimental to school security. Storing these files electronically not only ensures safety in case of tragedies or computer malfunctions, but it also protects them from the eyes and hands that shouldn’t be handling them, as well as making sure they are constantly in the correct place and easily accessible. To give you an idea of how much time and money searching for misplaced paper documents can cost an organization, the average office spends about 8 hours performing paper management. Business offices with about 1,000 employees waste approximately $48,000 per week due to the inability to locate and deliver needed information, according to the National Association of Professional Organizers. Password protection and data encryption makes every student’s information available to the parents and the appropriate members of the staff, but secures it against privacy invasion. This also prevents infractions upon the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which mandates that schools must keep a complete, organized file for every child and protect it against privacy breaches.

  1. Ensure that parents submit all the necessary documentation and eliminate appointments with parents (or bring it down to the bare minimum)

Many documents have to be submitted to enroll a child for school before they can actually attend school and be sorted into the correct classes. Birth certificates, social security cards, proof of residence, vaccination and allergy records, and other documentation are the parent’s responsibility to provide for the school. Neglecting to bring one of the documents to the scheduled registration appointment means they have to schedule another time to come in and complete the process. With online solutions like Registration Gateway, each of these documents can be scanned by the parents on their own time, and then automatically distributed to the appropriate departments within the school. While some schools do still require an actual appointment with the parents at the end of their digital registration process, this step could theoretically be eliminated. If this is not the case for a certain school, the online registration process can ease the ability to make appointments between parents and administrators, as well as provide a way for the documentation to be submitted before the appointment date, or at the very least prepare the parents to bring all the right documents in at that time.

About Registration Gateway

The only true paperless solution of its kind, Registration Gateway streamlines student registration, re-enrollment and information tracking into a simple, intuitive process. By digitizing and automatically integrating data into existing student information systems, Registration Gateway saves money, increases compliance, mitigates legal and disaster risk and creates new funding opportunities. To read more, click here.

What does your school look like when the dust settles?

Let’s face it – going back to school is a drag for everyone involved. Kids whine, parents have to replace all the outgrown school clothes and fill out all the paperwork, but the school staff have it worst of all – they’re left with the kids still sluggishly getting back into their school routine AND the mass amounts of documentation that comes with them. Registration packets may seem easy from the parents’ point of view, but registrars must tap into their inner cryptologists to decipher thousands of different handwritings, make calls to summon parents who left blanks in their paperwork, and then delegate all the paperwork to the proper person or file without losing a single sheet of paper. And that’s not even the half of it.

For most school districts, school choice is decided by a complicated set of factors, not just the potential students’ residential addresses. Economic status, special or gifted education needs, older siblings already assigned to a specific building – all these reasons and more can be used to assign students to the proper building within a district. This can be a slow, tedious, error-riddled process during registration time, because secretaries and registrars must work as fast as possible to make sure every student has a seat in their school on the quickly approaching first day. Throw in all the parents who register their kids on the last acceptable day and you’ve got utter chaos.

Once the registration information has been given and the students have been delegated to their proper buildings, those enrollment documents still have a long way to go before they can rest in their folders back in the main office. Copies of medical information must be made for the nurse, who must then relay health information to cafeteria staff, athletic staff, and to specific teachers. Address information must be given to transportation, and bus routes must be made quickly and with the utmost efficiency. Teachers and aides must be given student information pertaining to any specific needs of the children under their supervision.

After the chaos of registration is over, and all the students have a seat on their bus, in their classroom, and away from any allergens in the lunchroom, the documents must be sorted into their proper homes, usually within large file cabinets near the secretary (who may be looking a little too weary for just the first day of school).

Intervention Time.

Schools using a paper-based system have become very used to the whirlwind of tasks that comes right before the onset of a new school year, but there will always be mistakes. Parents will always leave blanks on forms, secretaries will always make typos when translating parent handwriting, and paper will always tear or go missing.

So it’s time for an intervention. It’s 2016 – it’s time to go digital. There are now highly sophisticated software solutions that allow technology to handle all student data from registration information, to automation of school choice decisions, to storage of student information in an easily accessible yet intensely secure digital warehouse.

It’s too accessible and secure not to switch to digital document storing, just ask the East Baton Rouge School Parish System, who just last year had a case of confidential student files stolenby an employee and hidden for over a year – some files are still missing. It’s too inconvenient for staff not to allow parents to register their children for school online (and the parents won’t complain, either), just ask the registration staff from Millburn Township Public Schools, who have eliminated months of staff effort and manual data entry in preparing for student registration by implementing Registration Gateway. It’s too simple and honest not to ensure the fairness and equality of a school lottery process using technology, just ask the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and Public Advocates, who just this month have flagged 253 charter schools for using discriminatory admissions processes.

How can software solutions help with these processes?

Online portals can allow parents to enter registration information, including school choice preferences, which immediately becomes available for review by the secretary at the office. With thorough digital processes, parents cannot move on to the next phase of registration without filling in all information deemed necessary by the school. Handbooks can even be scanned and made available during this process, saving a few trees and ensuring that parents must go through every page and accept the school’s terms and conditions. This saves a ton of money in paper and printing costs for school districts and simultaneously gathers the signed contracts from the parents. This is just one example of the flexibility of new digital record technology. What sets certain solutions apart from cookie-cutter digital forms is whether or not this information can flow directly into the SIS.

As aforementioned, each school district has a unique way of setting the rules for their student lottery. This may be to ensure that bus routes are as efficient as possible, or to make sure that each building within a district has the same amount of students receiving free and reduced lunch. School choice automating software uses algorithms to take a district’s specific rules and apply them fairly to students entering the lottery. It assigns a “weight” to each student measured by the factors determined by the school, and this allows the system to decide in which building the student should be assigned. This prevents parents from crying foul play if their child doesn’t get their first choice. It also prevents school personnel from tampering with the fairness of the process.

Finally, record-keeping software can provide a digital warehouse where each student’s file lives – saving a lot of space in the office previously inhabited by filing cabinets. It stores every document within the system, from the photocopy of the guardian’s ID card to the photo waiver that needs signing in order to take pictures of the kids during school. In short, every piece of data that has been in paper form – report cards, detention slips, hearing and vision tests – can now be stored online. This means that piece of paper with Johnny’s allergies – the one that went from doctor to parent to secretary to school nurse to cafeteria staff to teacher and back to the file – has simply been online the whole time. No photocopying, no lost documents, no liability.

There are a thousand reasons to go digital, but only one solution to all these issues – and that would be the Gateway Suite.

How paperless solutions can help fix common problems within the US education system

Schools throughout the U.S. education system face common challenges that interfere with the quality of student learning. Online systems designed to enhance tasks like conference scheduling and organizing student cumulative folders can help schools reduce the impact of these issues. Here are two obstacles that paperless solutions can help schools overcome:

Poor parent involvement 
According to the Center for Public Education, research has shown that an estimated two-thirds of teachers believe their students would do better academically if their parents were more involved in their children’s education. Meanwhile, 72 percent of parents agreed that students with uninvolved parents were far more likely to “fall through the cracks” in school, as students with more attentive parents often receive the most attention from teachers.

Students whose parents are more involved in their education do better academically. Students whose parents are more involved in their education often do better academically.

School solutions can enhance parent involvement by making important student documents digitally accessible. Systems like SRC Solution’s Central Records Gateway offer parent-sharing features so they can log in from home and have updated documents like progress reports and behavioral assessments at their fingertips.

Automated conference scheduling systems, such as SRC Solution’s Conference Gateway, also increase parent participation in parent-teacher meetings, enabling parents to conveniently select an open meeting time online. This encourages parents to attend parent-teacher conferences, as it allows them to work around their own schedule and more efficiently plan ahead. They can also note specific questions or topics they want to discuss at the meeting so that the staff can better prepare beforehand and truly personalize and improve the quality of their parent-teacher relationships. This is important, as the National Education Association explained that only 48 percent of parents feel teachers hold efficient conferences, so detailing discussion points ahead of time can drastically improve the outcomes of meetings.

Lack of funding 
The Atlantic noted that recent reports have shown schools across the U.S. are expected to do more for their students with increasingly less government funding as the years go on. This has put a lot of pressure on schools to reserve the money they do have for important student programs and other essential needs. Going paperless can assist districts in cutting back on yearly expenses. According to Aiim Community, most organizations that do away with paper-based workflows save over $500 per person each year in supplies like ink, paper and printers.

Address fraud is another common issue experienced by K-12 districts that ends up taking key funding away from schools. If it goes unnoticed, address fraud can cost schools millions each year. For example, The Hechinger Report explained that schools in Beverly Hills, California – which deal with at least one case of registration fraud each month – are charging parents with $150 for every day that their child was enrolled illegally in their schools, as they believe this is a fair equivalent of the funding they lost as a result. SRC Solution’s Address Purification Gateway automates the process of identifying falsified addresses to ensure your district’s money is spent properly and residential students are receiving the education they deserve.

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