Registration Gateway will be at Booth #1441! Stop by to learn how we provide a simplified solution to paper student registrations in your district.
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.
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).
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.
Going paperless and digitizing your school solutions will help your district save money in a number of ways, from reducing paper costs to enhancing staff productivity. With online solutions, your school district gets the most out of its funding for staff salaries. Your employees will have more time to focus on important tasks and spend less of their work days on tedious paper-based administrative processes.
Here are few ways your school’s return on investment will increase when you go paperless with online school software:
1. No more expensive paper costs
According to Edutopia, schools that eliminate paper-based processes can save up to $250,000 per year on printing and mailing supplies alone. Another factor to keep in mind is that leasing a high-quality printer can cost over $30,000 per year. If a smaller-sized school was to rely less on paper, printing and mailing to complete enrollment, scheduling and file sharing, it could save as much as $80,000 each year.
Digitizing your student records with a solution like SRC Solution’s Registration Gateway is a simple process, as all of the data will automatically be integrated into your existing student information systems.
2. Make the most of your team’s time
The average human data entry error rate is about 1 percent, according to recent research. This is an issue for many office environments, as 65 percent of U.S. organizations cite human error as the main cause of data problems. Automating processes such as enrollment, sending mail to parents’ addresses, and updating student documents reduces the likelihood of these common input errors. There’s no need to physically do tasks like transferring data from paper to online forms, a process that tends to open up more room for costly data entry errors. A lot of time and money is spent going through files to fix these mistakes.
By automating workflows with features like online document sharing, you reduce the time usually dedicated to mailing student forms and allow the current employees to handle all of the school’s responsibilities rather than hire additional staff.
3. Increased compliance
With features like enhanced data and document permissions, digital solutions mitigate your schools’ risk of fines and penalties that result from failing to adhere to federal compliance standards like FERPA and NCLB. In fact, the Center on Education Policy reported that an estimated 48 percent of U.S. public schools did not make AYP (adequate yearly progress) as a part of NCLB in 2011. When schools fail to comply to NCLB and other federal standards, they put themselves at risk of losing government funding.
4. Eliminate costly address fraud
Throughout the U.S., many rural school districts have fraudulent addresses linked to up to 10 percent of their student populations. This ends up costing schools millions. For example, Fraud magazine explained that if only 1 percent of the 350,000 charter school students in the Washington D.C. district are illegally enrolled, unecessary costs could reach more than $5 million a year. Online solutions like the Address Purification Gateway automatically identify fraudulent addresses, saving schools millions.
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.
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.