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The Smart Way To Track Expiration Dates

There’s only one feeling worse than a looming deadline, and that’s forgetting about it entirely. The repercussions of missing an expiration date can be as innocent as that unsuspecting sip of sour milk, to as dangerous as trying to manage tens of thousands of vaccinations.  Schools in Maryland are taking their first attempt at reigning in this problem. 3,800 unvaccinated children may have to leave Baltimore County School District until their vaccinations are verified by the school.  When that deadline hits, the issue isn’t exactly resolved, at least not for the students who will get to stay in school. Their “deadline” simply gets pushed back to when their vaccination expires. These types of deadlines must continue to be monitored attentively, which brings us to the real issue: the hassle of managing the expiration and mandatory renewals within a school district.

To make an example of what is transpiring in Baltimore, let’s delve into their situation. Schools all over Maryland are barring children without proof of vaccination from entering public school districts, which means monitoring deadlines for both parents and school staff. In order to make sure these children don’t become oversights to school administration, vigilant tracking of medical records and vaccination expiration dates is not only necessary but crucial. Vaccinations are just one example of important deadlines of which school districts must be wary, which is why new techniques of monitoring expiration dates should be explained and available to school districts across the country.

It’s more complicated than it sounds.

The tricky part about vaccination expirations is that every student (and employee, for that matter) has a different date of expiration – and often, this means a different date of expiration for each individual vaccine as well. It is incredibly difficult, if not nearly impossible, for a school district’s team of nurses and secretaries to stay on top of five or more different expiration days for each member of the student body.

This is almost exactly the case with employee and volunteer clearance expiration dates. In states like Pennsylvania, where adults with access to students need four separate clearances (Acts 24, 34, 136, and 151) and a current background check, school administration runs into the same cyclical dilemma of notifying personnel of the demand for updated documentation, resetting expiration dates for those who provide said documentation, or executing proper expulsion from campus.

There are a few key steps that a school district needs to take in order to keep kids safe from disease exposure and unauthorized adults: accurate tracking of all clearance and vaccination dates, significant forewarning to parents, volunteers or employees of their impending deadlines, timely collection of updated student, volunteer and employee records, and attentive removal of certain students or personnel on their expiration dates, should the parent or staff member not provide the necessary documentation. That’s one full datebook for the school nurses and administrators.

Super complicated, right? Let’s put it in perspective.

Let’s create a more tangible example of this problem: School X, a part of School District Y, has 1,000 students. Each student has a medical record showing, or not showing, proof of 5 separate vaccinations. Each student has a different expiration date for each vaccination. School X’s 2 nurses and 4 secretaries use a calendar and a spreadsheet to keep track of the students’ expiries. There are 5,000 different expiration dates, with three dates preceding the ultimate expiry on which they must send a request for an updated medical record from the student guardians. That’s a total of 15,000 dates, and our imaginary school is on the small side. It gets even more complicated when you realize that parents who respond after the first or second date need the subsequent notice dates removed from the calendar.

It goes without saying, but can easily be forgotten – these expiration dates for security clearance and vaccination records never truly expire, with the exception of permanent expulsion, graduation, or death – they only get pushed back and require more rounds of record requests.

A complex problem needs a complex solution

The simple way to stay on top of expiries is to create calendar notifications within a computer system as soon as official records are received by the school. This is a tedious, drawn-out task, which means human error abound. However, the major problem with a simple digital calendar or spreadsheet solution is the lack of forewarning for these upcoming dates. The only date these simple applications really help to track is the date of ultimate action – the day that student or employee must be removed until an updated record is received.

If a school district really wants to stick with the simple solutions, then dates to notify parents and employees (often a first, second, and third warning) must be marked on the calendar or spreadsheet as well.

Instead of struggling to track the mountain of expiration dates constantly on the horizon, more complex solutions to record-tracking are available for this exact purpose. Paradoxically, the more complex your software solution is, the simpler the responsibilities of the humans operating it become.

Record-tracking software can more efficiently store each and every expiration date, for students and for volunteer and employee clearance expirations. Furthermore, record requests for school personnel or parents can be automated to send on the appropriate day before the deadline. Notifications can also be automated to remind the school employee that the request must be sent out. Thus the task of deadline-monitoring becomes less of a mind-boggling pile of student and employee records and more of basic attentiveness to the record-tracking software, with the same vigilance of checking one’s e-mail inbox every day.

In order to be more proactive about upcoming expiries, administrators, nurses, or other permitted employees can view the expiration dates of highest concern exclusively so that they can be dealt with in the clearest manner possible.

Pleasant Valley Streamlines Student Enrollment, Hiring Process for Accurate Record-keeping

The Pleasant Valley School District, located in Monroe County, Pennsylvania, spans 120 square miles in northeastern Pennsylvania and serves approximately 5,500 students.

Given the district’s large coverage area, and its six distinct schools, leadership has historically struggled with collecting consistent data about its students, making it difficult to search and find data when it’s needed.

The real-time integration of Registration Gateway allows us to work with the student and the parent to coordinate a schedule at the same time that the student is registering.

— Christopher Fisher

“Registration was the responsibility of each building in the district,” said Robert Hines, associate principal of Pleasant Valley High School.

Collecting information the old-fashioned way – by asking parents to bring necessary documents and paperwork to a school’s site where each sheet of paper was copied for a student’s file and then saved in hard copy format – was cumbersome. And it held up the enrollment process.

It was a nightmare as far as paperwork, and once we had all the students’ paperwork in our hands, it had to be disseminated to the schools. It took a day to receive the paperwork and then another day to get it to the appropriate school.

— Robert Hines, associate principal of Pleasant Valley High School.

This, said Hines, delayed students in choosing their classes for the upcoming academic year.

Pleasant Valley School District needed a solution, but it had to integrate seamlessly with its existing student information system (SIS), Sungard’s eSchoolPLUS. After completing due diligence, leadership turned to SRC’s Registration Gateway.

“Now we have a district-wide registration process that happens in one office making information consistent,” said Hines. “Before, data wasn’t consistent and that made searching for a particular student difficult.”

“Our goal,” said Christopher Fisher, assistant to the superintendent for professional and support services for Pleasant Valley School District, “was to get students and parents into the building as fast as we could. The real-time integration of Registration Gateway allows us to work with the student and the parent to coordinate a schedule at the same time that the student is registering.”

In addition to tapping Registration Gateway, the district was the first to adopt SRC’s Human Resources Gateway solution, a configurable, web-based software application that simplifies and streamlines the onboarding process through the use of secure, digital storage and automated archival of all personnel data documentation.

Much like how Registration Gateway simplifies the student registration process, Human Resources Gateway improves efficiencies by eliminating of manual document tracking and provides a secure structure for the HR process. The application also integrates seamlessly with eSchoolPLUS making it an ideal solution for the district.

All new jobs are posted online and applicants are required to submit their information via the online Human Resources Gateway system.

“Pleasant Valley School District and their use of Registration Gateway and Human Resources Gateway is a perfect example of how a district can leverage the systems they currently use to handle multiple processes,” said Jennifer Peri, senior vice president, product management. “And the end result enables them to use their technology, training and financial resources in more efficient ways, streamline processes and achieve budgeting and time goals while ensuring data is secure and accurate.”

Next up

Now that Pleasant Valley School District has its student registration and new employee application/onboarding systems down to a science, leadership is looking to turn their focus to archiving existing paper records.

“We have 50 years of student records in boxes. That information needs to be digitized,” said Fisher. “And we also plan to digitize personnel records. It’s a big project for us, but the benefits will make it worth it.”

Fisher points to a recent example of when digitized records would have come in handy.

“We received a request from a graduate from 15 years ago,” he said. “He needed his transcript for a military job he was applying for. We had to search for his information by hand. Once these records are digitized, we can instead search by student ID or last name, making the search much more efficient and accurate.”

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



Featured District: Hazleton Area School District (PA)

Like many districts around the country, the Hazleton Area School District (PA) has been greatly affected by shifting demographics and high rates of student turnover.

Hazleton has historically had a large population of temporary residents. That has long meant a higher-than-average number of new student registrations each summer (and through the school year) for the 10,000-student HASD – one of the fastest-growing districts in the state.

Registration Gateway is designed to make compliance easy, increasing funding opportunities and mitigating legal exposure. From National School Lunch Program data reporting to documentation needs stemming Pennsylvania’s Act 26 Parental Registration Statement, SRC Solutions software makes it simple for districts to deal with regulatory burdens.

The situation was becoming taxing for the district’s two registrars. The sheer amount of data to be entered into PowerSchool was overwhelming, and the number of open registration nights that needed to be held was growing. Traditional registration just wasn’t going to cut it anymore.

The answer? SRC Solutions’ Registration Gateway, the only truly paperless online student registration, re-enrollment and information tracking system. With support for multiple languages and automatic PowerSchool integration, it was just what the Hazleton schools needed.

The HASD launched Registration Gateway for kindergarten registration this spring. The result? Shorter waits at registration nights for parents – especially those with multiple children – and dramatically reduced data entry needs. And even more savings are coming this summer, when new student registration season gears up.

“The Registration Gateway system is a huge help for us,” said Dr. Jeffry Nietz, the HASD’s Student Information Systems Administrator. “The registration secretary doesn’t have to enter 16 pages of information per student into PowerSchool anymore. For families with three or four kids, that would have been hours of work before they could start school. Now, those delays should be much shorter, and data should be error-free.”

That’s good for parents, good for school staff – and good for taxpayers.

“Parents love it, and my registrars love it. Even though we’re only in the ‘soft launch’ phase, 90 percent of the feedback we’re getting is positive. So far, it’s been a wonderful thing from the standpoint of kindergarten registration. The staff at SRC has been tremendous in communicating with us, helping get Registration Gateway set up right and pushing us to get done with what we needed to do to meet our timetable.

Dr. Jeffry Nietz, Hazleton Area School District’s Student Information Systems Administrator

About SRC Solutions With more than 5 million enrollments processed each year for schools, businesses and governments, SRC Solutions is the global leader in online registration. Founded in 2001, the Pennsylvania company is a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB), which specializes in identifying cumbersome, repetitive and counter-productive work practices and replacing them with easy-to-use, innovative digital processes.

As a XEROX® Platinum Partner and an authorized reseller for Kofax, Surety and Recruit Manager, SRC provides solutions for both the public and private sector, including document management, workflow improvement and integration into numerous ERP systems. SRC Solutions: Breaking the boundaries of paper.

For more about SRC Solutions, Inc., please visit: registrationgateway.com

Registration Gateway