electronic document management Archives - Registration Gateway
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.

a paper heart torn in half

10 Ways that Paper Will Break Your Heart

  1. Hard to access– Getting and using information within seconds, not days, is the norm in today’s global and mobile world. Paper lacks the immediacy and accessibility of electronic documents, and severely lengthens the time it takes for information to get from one person to the next. Paper can end up in the wrong file, mailed to the wrong address, or even in the trash – like at Intermediate School 47 in the Bronx, where 11 boxes of student documents were accidentally left on the curb. With electronic documents and workflow automation tools, you can create and route documents and data that can reach the right people, right away, without manual intervention. All they (teachers, principals, board members, students, and even parents) need is a device with internet connection and permission to access certain documents.
  2. The right information is harder to find – A study conducted by Deloitte & Touche found that U.S. managers spent an average of three hours a week looking for paper that had been misfiled, mislabeled, or lost. Electronic documents are easier to file and find because they can be indexed using keys like student ID, date, document type or other user-defines criteria. You can even use full-text searching, making it simple and quick to find important documents.
  3. Lack of process automation– Process automation is the intelligent management and routing of information through a business process or workflow. Using document management and distribution software, you can build rules to route, distribute and store electronic documents, reports and other data. At Passaic County Technical Institute, the database administrator used process automation tools to schedule reports to export and send themselves to the proper personnel every morning while she was away on vacation. You can also collaborate between departments or separate schools by sharing documents digitally so they can be reviewed, edited and saved.
  4. Unsatisfactory data collection and output quality – On paper, processes like school registration are muddied by guardians leaving fields blank, or secretaries misreading different kinds of handwriting. Using web-based form technology to collect and exchange information not only speeds up the process, but improves data quality. Software can be implemented in addition to data-capturing form technology to further improve data quality, such as type-ahead addresses verified through the USPS, and address purification mapping.
  5. Higher costs – Reams of paper, mailing expenses, manila folders, printer ink and repair – these things add up quickly. And let’s not forget the time it costs employees to manually enter data, file documents, retrieve them and scan them. Digital processes eliminates all of these costs once and for all.
  6. Slow return of approvals – Utilizing electronic signature solutions speeds up approval processes for external and internal documents. Electronic documents can be signed digitally and routed for the next step quickly, reliably and securely. This can speed up purchase requests, loan approvals, expense reports, contracts and much more. In terms of contact with parents, the electronic signature can facilitate the reception of report cards, permission slips, student handbook contracts, etc.
  7. Liability to regulatory compliance – Regulations such as HIPAA and FERPA require schools to take significant measures to maintain data confidentiality and integrity. Paper-based systems make tracking and managing data more difficult and expensive than digital document systems. Electronic document management systems can provide an audit trail of when documents are received or sent. Built-in security prevents unauthorized access, maintaining data confidentiality. FERPA also requires that parents be given certain student documents upon request within 30 days – with an electronic document management system they don’t even have to ask; they can simply be given an account and password for their student’s file upon enrollment.
  8. Its harmful to the environment– The world has begun to see the value in going green and reducing our carbon footprint. Going paperless by utilizing electronic document management systems and related technology helps cut down on deforestation and pollution.
  9. Improved service– Many customers prefer self-service over setting up appointments over the phone or waiting in line. The enrollment process during the start of a new school year in particular can create a long, long queue in the office. Providing electronic access to all relevant data not only gives customers more accurate and complete information, it makes them happier and more loyal customers. As does allowing customers or guardians to provide you with their relevant data. With certain software solutions, guardians can even access a calendar of open appointments and claim a slot for themselves without picking up the phone or visiting the school.
  10. Cluttered office space – A single filing cabinet holding 9,000 documents usually takes up about 20 sq. ft. in an office. Current estimates from author and efficiency researcher, K.J. McCorry show that 50-70% of space in an office are dedicated to filing and storing physical documents. Statistics also show that 3% of documents in each file cabinet are misfiled, and 45% of documents are duplicated information. That’s a lot of clutter and time spent sifting through it. With a virtual filing system, you’re saving the square footage in the office, around $300 per filing cabinet, and a whole lot of headaches that come with a crowded, less organized workspace.
a boss shakes the hand of a new-hire

How can Digital Workflows Enhance Human Resources Onboarding Management?

Creating, storing and retaining important paper documents for new hires costs schools time and money that could be better spent elsewhere. Meeting compliance regulations and accessing the appropriate data when necessary can also be challenging when administrators have to keep track of paper forms every time new teachers are hired.

Online human resources solutions can streamline onboarding processes by making data easier to access in a system where security breaches are less likely. Districts considering whether to make the transition from paper to digital human resources workflows should take note of these benefits.

An easy switch
If your district uses paper-based workflows for onboarding processes but you’ve been hesitant to go digital due to fear that the switch will take time and effort your staff doesn’t have, rest assured that the transition is a simple one. With SRC Solution’s Human Resources Gateway, you can easily integrate your applicant tracking system, as the software works with most major applicant tracking software.

Every time a new teacher is hired, there information can be integrated into the school's registration software.Every time a new teacher is hired, their information can easily be entered into the human resources software.

Control over new hire documents
With paper documents, there’s always a risk of security breaches. Online HR software ensures that you have complete control over who is able to see and access information about your new teachers. It also helps to mitigate risk by providing immediate access to any data that’s requested by the new employee or during a compliance audit. It’s important that you have essential information ready to go when requested.

If critical files are lost or sensitive data is stolen, schools could risk losing their new hires. According to research by software company Panopto, filling a position that was left open by a new employee because of an onboarding error can cost up to $11,000. Eliminate these risks by storing everything in a secure, accessible system.

More time and savings
As all of your new hire information will be stored in one online portal, this frees up a lot of extra time for your tech teams, which only need to support this one system. School administrators also have more time to focus on other tasks because they don’t have to organize and file hundreds of important documents – online solutions make data entry quick and easy and files searchable. Without the costs required for extra storage space and paper and printing costs for distributing forms to new employees, schools also see a high return on investment after investing in human resources software.

Birmingham City Schools Deploys Registration Gateway

Birmingham City Schools realize both cost and time savings with Registration Gateway Online Student Enrollment

Birmingham City Schools (BCS) implemented a new process this year to register students for the 2014-2015 school year. As part of this initiative, BCS brought in Registration Gateway from SRC Solutions to automate the process. “It is estimated that BCS will save costs related to personnel hours, paper, and printing. The main goal is to save time,” said Dr. Sherene Carpenter, Coordinator of Attendance.

Also new to BCS this year is the ability for Registration Gateway to seamlessly feed registration data back into the iNOW Student Management Platform at BCS as well as electronically capture all related student registration documents such as birth records and proof of residency information. “Student and parent/guardian information is input into iNOW as clean data. We have corrected and updated student demographic information as well as diminished duplicate student information. The registration process is more streamlined and organized,” said Dr. Carpenter.

Dr. Carpenter indicated that one of the major benefits of the Registration Gateway process is the ability for parents to complete the process from any location taking as long as they need to complete the process. Once parents complete their registration online, they can then schedule an appointment to provide necessary legal documents to BCS further simplifying the process for parents and staff.

About SRC Solutions, Inc.:

Founded in 2001, the Pennsylvania company is a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB), which simplifies and automates cumbersome, repetitive and counter-productive work practices replacing them with easy-to-use, innovative electronic processes. SRC Solutions flagship Gateway Suite incorporates solutions to manage online registration, validate and clean data, as well as improve Student Relationship Management in the K12 market.

For more about SRC Solutions, Inc., please visit: www.src-solutions.com

About Birmingham City Schools

The Birmingham City School System is an urban district located in Birmingham, Ala., the largest city in the state. The city has a population of 212,237 according to the 2010 U.S. Census. It is the core of metro area of 1.1 million people. The district has 49 schools — 21 elementary schools, 11 middle schools, nine K-8 schools, seven high schools and one alternative school serving the needs of approximately 25,000 children.

SRC Solutions, Inc. Announces the Launch of Central Records Gateway

SRC Solutions Inc. Revolutionizes Student Relationship Management with Central Records Gateway, an extension of the Gateway family of solutions

Central Records Gateway delivers Risk Mitigation, Compliance Protection, Electronic Cumulative Folders and Enhanced Parent Engagement.

SRC Solutions Inc., the innovators behind a leading online enrollment solution Registration Gateway, is excited to announce the latest addition to the Gateway Suite family of solutions, the Central Records Gateway Student Relationship Management Platform.

Central Records Gateway represents over 20 years of technology and process innovation in records management, archiving, and distribution. Built on a core of tested and market accepted modules, Central Records Gateway is a natural extension of the SRC Solutions Gateway Suite umbrella.

Game changing events in K12 education are few and far in between. Central Records Gateway is one of those game changers. Listening intently to customer feedback over the past 20 years and combining that feedback with over 20 years of expertise in document and registration process you get a REVOLUTION!

Patrick Maher, CEO SRC Solutions, Inc.

Central Records Gateway from SRC Solutions launches with 4 distinct modules aimed at Risk Mitigation, Compliance Protection, Electronic Cumulative Folder Creation and Management as well as Parent Engagement.

Central Records Gateway is comprised of the following modules.

  • Intelligent Document Distributor Transform risky warehouses and filled file cabinets to living, breathing, on demand and accessible records.
  • Advanced Security Controller Automated Access and Permission management roles based on record type. Automated record processing leaving little room for human error.
  • Policy and Compliance Monitor User Configurable Retention and Reporting schedule. Establish both Retention and Archiving schedules from 1 to more than 100 years at the click of a button.
  • Gateway eDelivery Module Automatically delivering and archiving student communications including report cards, progress reports, eliminates the manual processes used today increasing parent interaction all the while saving valuable costs and resources.

Central Records Gateway is the first Student Relationship Management platform that addresses the Who, What, Why, How and When of document, communication and data access. The liberation from paper has begun!

Patrick Maher, CEO SRC Solutions, Inc.

About SRC Solutions, Inc.:

Founded in 2001, the Pennsylvania company is a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB), which simplifies and automates cumbersome, repetitive and counter-productive work practices replacing them with easy-to-use, innovative electronic processes. SRC Solutions flagship Gateway Suite incorporates solutions to manage online registration, validate and clean data, as well as improve Student Relationship Management in the K12 market.

For more about SRC Solutions, Inc., please visit: www.src-solutions.com

Registration Gateway