Monthly Archives: January 2015

California Schools Have a Huge Win with Online Registration

Some California school districts have gotten way ahead of the curve on paperwork reduction, green initiatives, and parent satisfaction, not to mention administrative cost savings, quick access to information, and stress reduction for school personnel.

For one school district in California, K-12 Online has revolutionized the registration process. There are countless benefits to utilizing online registration’s online forms and integrated webstore.

According to Saul Gleser, Assistant High School Principal, registration used to have 40-60 papers in a welcome packet. Parents filled out the same information hundreds of times. Inevitably, when returning the forms on registration day, some students left some papers at home, which made for a very long registration day. For the school secretaries, this meant months of sorting, alphabetizing, filing, and entering new information into the student information system.

Jireh Infosystems developed K-12 Online, a time-saving, logical, effortless online registration system for parents and a very user-friendly online school management software system for schools.

Schools are able to create master schedules earlier as a result of K-12 Online’s ability to track the registration progress of each student. Nurses instantly know of any health concerns. PTAs instantly have access to volunteers. ASB instantly knows the quantities of items needing to be purchased. Registration has saved students and parents time, reducing the time spent waiting in lines from hours to mere minutes.

K-12 Online is effortless from the parent’s perspective and instantaneous from the school’s perspective. It makes registration quick and efficient. K-12 Online gets the school year off to a great start, and usually, registration is the first impression of the school. For this particular school, parents have been very excited, and the response has been overwhelming! Secretaries and administrators love it and couldn’t be happier.

Student Online Registration: “Nothing Short of Absolutely Amazing!”

Now families can register students for school the same way they buy movie tickets and order pizza, and school districts are freed from an ocean of paperwork through online registration.

The solution comes from K-12 Online, a product bringing the Software as a Service (SAAS) concept to schools. The online school registration system was tested at a California school district last summer with astounding results. An ordeal that previously took three or more hours, bringing comparisons to airline travel and Christmas at the post office, was reduced to an average of 40 minutes.

One administrator called the pilot project, “Nothing short of absolutely amazing.??? Another stressed how it freed teachers and staff from shuffling papers and allowed them to talk with students and parents and take advantage of the day that shapes first impressions of a new school.

“All they have to do is turn in one piece of paper, get their pictures taken and pick up their books,??? one administrator said. The PTA said K-12 Online saved them $1,000 in publishing costs and increased membership and donations by 30 percent.

The system includes an online school store, where families can pay fees, order a yearbook and buy athletic uniforms online. Booster Clubs and the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) can have signups and membership enrollment on the registration page.

The families fill out the online registration forms and print one completed registration form. If they don’t have a computer at home, they can use one at a public library or the school computer lab. Parents can update emergency contacts and health information too.

This online school management software was developed by Jireh Information Systems, Inc. The SaaS concept moves an organization’s data processing onto a service by a specialized company, in much the same way a tablet computer operates from remote software.

Should Schools Use Online Registration?

Let’s face it: the rest of the world’s organizations and institutions are taking advantage of new technology and are leveraging it to maximize operational efficiency. So why should schools be any different?

Private schools, independent schools, charters schools and even entire school districts can all benefit from taking an online approach to managing school operations; and this is especially true when it comes to the registration process. While traditional registration is a paper-based, labor-intensive process that wastes both time and money, online registration for schools is highly efficient and promises to revolutionize how administrators manage school operations.

Below are some of the key benefits of online registration for schools:

Saving Money

Switching to online registration is a proven strategy for saving schools money. With traditional, paper-based registration processes, schools must spend thousands to cover associated costs. As Saul Gleser, now Assistant Principal at Northwood High School in Irvine, California commented, online registration “saves thousands of dollars in mailing, paper and printing costs.” University High School was an early adopter of Jireh Infosystems’ K-12 Online’s school management system, a software as a service (SaaS), which offers an online solution for optimizing student registration.

Saving Time

In addition to saving you money, online registration for schools can save you time. With traditional registration processes, clerks and classified workers spend countless hours manually sorting, retrieving, entering and alphabetizing data. In addition, when students fail to bring in all of the individual forms that are required for registration, further time is wasted tracking down these forms. Fortunately, online registration can change all this. According Principal Phil D’Agostino of Costa Mesa High School (Costa Mesa, CA), which is another school that utilizes K-12 Online, online registration allows classified workers to spend less time on registration, which frees them to work on other tasks.

Building Community

Apart from freeing up time for clerks and classified workers, online registration for schools allows school principals to spend more time greeting students and parents. This is because with online registration, principals no longer have to waste time troubleshooting the many problems that arise with traditional registration processes. As a result, principals (and other administrators) can focus more of their time on community-building and can start building relationships with students (and their parents) as soon as the school year begins.

Pleasing Parents

A key aspect in managing school operations is ensuring that the parents of students are happy. After all, parents offer invaluable donations (both monetary and through volunteer work) and, with private schools, parents are the ones paying tuition rates and fees. Online registration for schools is a proven parent-pleaser. With traditional registration processes, parents can be forced to wait in line for hours in order to file the appropriate paperwork. In comparison, online registration takes just a few minutes and drastically cuts down on the time parents need to spend on campus. As a Costa Mesa High School (Costa Mesa, CA) parent said of online registration, “It has been the best experience for all of our parents.”

Why Online Student Registration for Schools?

 

Who’s setting up the tables? Did I remember to give the supply cabinet key to employee X to get materials for the signs?? Whew, these lines are taking forever. Oh no. Is that Irate Mother Y headed my way with more complaints??? How many days until summer????

Waste of time and materials can make registration time a nightmare for public schools and school districts. Even smaller charter and private schools struggle to make registration periods an efficient process for administrators, teachers, parents and students. Online registration is a wonderful opportunity for a school district or a charter school to redirect it’s energy towards the parents and students who need it, while leaving the paperwork aspect of the job in one secure, fast, and convenient location.

Five Main Advantages of Online Registration:

1. It SAVES TIME! With constant cut backs in education funding, the expression, “Time Means Money??? has never been more true. Valuable school personnel can take the time they are spending on paperwork creation/organization and put it where it belongs – in the service of students and teachers. It’s hard to imagine an office without dozens of paper organizers and stacks of forms to be filed. Online registration takes all of that and puts it onto your computer screen with a few quick taps on the keyboard.

2. Streamlined Paperwork Throughout a District. Online registration allows school districts to create uniform online forms that remain in the system throughout students’ education. This means no more lost files or important medical history forms that use precious time and resources to recover. It also allows schools in a district to use the same format for standardized documents/forms, keeping things simple for parents who have to repeatedly write information for multiple children in the same school or district.

3. Remote Access to Documents and Information: This is a valuable tool for personnel and parents alike. For parents, they don’t have to hear their children’s, “I forgot it??? or “It’s lost??? when it comes to school forms because they will be able to navigate them online.

4. Multi-Language Translation. Globalization allows districts to benefit from a myriad of cultures and languages. However, multiple translation forms are exceedingly costly. Online registration offers forms that are translated in applicable languages without a district having to create multiple copies. This can be especially helpful for charter schools that might not have access to the same resources as larger districts.

5. Control of Information Access. Districts can make sure that confidential information is secure while allowing general information to be accessed by a wide variety of users. No more locking file cabinets.

Patrice Apodaca, a former Los Angeles Times staff writer, writes about Newport Mesa Unified’s online registration pilot program with K-12 Online, and her personal experience with it. Online registration will revolutionize the way your district thinks about the registration and information tracking process. It enhances document security, confidentiality and uniformity while reducing paper clutter. Ultimately, online registration takes the resources your personnel spends managing paper workloads and transforms it into money spent meeting the more important needs of teachers and students.

Five Best Practices Schools Can Save Money

In this time of schools being burdened with budget cuts and facing the difficult decision of determining how and where to save money, administrators are looking in all areas to make changes that will positively affect budgets without sacrificing the quality of education and services to their students. Rather than sacrificing the quality of the educational experience for students, administrators can look at their administrative processes to determine if changes can be made and use these best practices to utilize time and money cost effectively.

1. There are many technological advances that schools can take advantage of to eliminate unnecessary costs, such as automating the system of communication with parents and students to relay important information such as grades, progress reports as well as moving to an online registration system which if taken advantage of can be a benefit to all involved.

2. There are also systems to coordinate the payments of school administrative fees such as lunches and other necessary items that assist in eliminating the need for school personnel to be involved in the process and therefore allow for more time spent focusing on more student focused tasks.

3. Another important money saving idea is the use of educational software programs designed to bring the latest information into the classroom. These programs allow the teacher to provide students with key learning tools without the need for the teacher to expend additional time and resources gathering this information on their own, which requires a high expenditure of their valuable time which can be diverted to personal attention to the students themselves.

4. Utilizing paperless and online forms or electronic office systems for the procurement of supplies and text books can be a big source of savings of time and money in addition to saving the administrator their personal working time, while providing the opportunity to utilize their resources on other tasks.

5. Eliminating some offsite field trips by utilizing video conferencing or online resources can provide a significant boost in budget by allowing students to experience and explore learning resources without leaving the classroom and school facility. The savings of funding for bussing and additional personnel required to facilitate these necessary educational experiences can be significant, while allowing the same learning to be achieved without sacrificing time away from the campus.

By employing these best practices to make use of the advanced technologies available to them, schools should be able to save significantly in areas that will allow them to be more effective in personnel resources without sacrificing the funds in other areas that would take away from the social or educational resources of the students.

J. Pantle

Tips for Choosing the Right Educational Technology

Are you looking for ways to cut or reallocate your budget? Do you need to streamline processes? Have you considered improving educational technology by implementing an online registration system?

If you currently process student enrollment and registration forms manually or with outdated software, your staff works overtime during peak enrollment weeks, or updating your SIS requires manual labor, then an online registration system may be right for you.

More and more schools and districts are turning to educational technology solutions to help manage everyday tasks. The trend of working with partners has proven to be valuable however; the daunting task of comparing products, attending demos, etc. can be exhausting.

We’ve compiled a list of questions to consider as you review educational technology to ensure the service provider you select will perform how and when you need it. Our list pertains directly to online registration but can be applied to other software solutions as well.

  1. Does the system help reduce parents’ time spent filling out forms as well as waiting in line, creating a better experience for parents?
  2. Can online forms be created and used year-round (i.e. field trip forms, special event sign-up, etc.), making the system more versatile rather than just for the beginning of the school year?
  3. How easily can forms be created and edited, allowing schools to make necessary changes when necessary?
  4. Does the system provide residency verification alerts, increasing your registrar’s operational efficiency?
  5. Can forms be created and viewed in multiple languages, making it user-friendly for ALL parents?
  6. Does the system have built-in ways to solicit donations, increasing your return on investment?
  7. Will the system assist in recouping fees for lost textbooks, further saving your school money?
  8. Are e-commerce and credit card processing capabilities offered, allowing parents to take care of all purchases online?
  9. Does the software allow privileged-level access; allowing PTAs, Boosters, etc. to access certain information while still maintaining security of data?
  10. Is the software all-inclusive, allowing you to utilize all applications at no extra charge?
  11. How is customer and technical support provided for administrators and parents (online support, live customer assistance)?
  12. What other suite of products are offered (lottery management, merchant processing, web store, etc.) that integrates to allow for a one-stop shop?
  13. And lastly, one of the most critical questions is how easily does the educational technology integrate with your school information system?

Choosing educational technology that is inclusive and considers the needs of parents, students, teachers and administration is important. Make sure discussions include representatives of the student body, staff and parents. Parents want registration to be quick and easy, while administrators want a lot of information.

Any company can create an online registration system, but K-12 Online knows and understands the basic registration needs of K-12 schools and will help you identify the most useful features that work for your school and with your system.

Choosing an Online Registration Software System for Schools?

According to Besa Pinchotti of Capterra Software, choosing an online school registration system that considers the needs of students and teachers – not just employees – is important.

Online registration can be right for you if you currently process student enrollment and registration manually or with an outdated computer system. Are you (and your employees) working overtime during peak enrollment weeks? Perhaps you would like to expand your institution and enroll more students, or you find that your school administration system is pushed to the limit by relying on manual forms of data management, like forms or Excel spreadsheets.

When looking for a school online registration system, make sure you’re inclusive with representatives of the student body, staff and parents involved in the discussions. Parents want registration to be quick and easy, while administrators want a lot of information. If you have a registration week for students to bring in their forms, you should ask whether the system helps reduce time spent in line. You should also ask whether online forms can be used year-round.

Registration can be a good time to do fund-raising, so you should check to see if the system has built-in ways to solicit donations. That way, these systems can pay for themselves, as well as make money for the schools.

Any company can create an online registration system, but companies that specialize in K-12 schools know the needs of those schools, such as residency verification alerts, recouping fees for lost text books or providing custom student messaging. Also, a community college or a university will have different needs from those of public schools, private schools, charter schools or independent schools. For example, colleges and universities have to deal with credit hours, and are likely to have a much larger list of potential classes to choose from.

Finally, it’s critical to make sure that the system you choose integrates with the school management software you currently have in place at your school district. How will the school online registration system interact with your current accounting software, or your student information system? You could find your valuable time taken up by downloading data from one system to another, which can also lead to manual errors. When you talk to software companies, tell them about the software you’re already using, and ask how their system would integrate with it. Of course, having a knowledgable staff and IT support system will go a long way towards making the transition easier.

Setting Budgets and Helping Savings

Every spring, schools are faced with the arduous task of setting their budgets. Decisions have to be made about how and where to cut spending, and administrators look in all areas to make changes that will positively impact their budget without compromising the quality of education and services offered to their students.

Rather than sacrificing the educational experience though budget cuts, administrators can look for ways to streamline processes that can actually add to the bottom line.

  1. Implement systems that automate procedures such as online registration, progress reports, lottery management, and general communication with parents. There are many technological systems that schools can take advantage of to eliminate unnecessary costs while benefiting their processes.
  2. Have a process in place to collect administrative fines and fees. Lost items such as textbooks, laptops, and library books account for a good percentage of revenue loss. Use of a merchant processing account will allow parents to easily make payments for these unrecovered items, allowing the school to recoup fees that would have otherwise been losses.
  3. For most schools, fundraising is a necessity. With online fundraising, students can raise money from friends and family members near and far to support school-related activities such as jog-a-thons, read-a-thons, and more. When coupled with the use of a webstore, online registration enables schools, boosters, and parent organizations to become more effective in their fundraising efforts.

By thinking in a resourceful and innovative manner and utilizing available technologies, schools can experience significant savings without significant budget cuts.

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)

RSS
Follow by Email
Facebook
Facebook
LinkedIn