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Grant Wood Area Education Agency

E-Registration Saves Time for Parents and Schools

Aug. 4, 2011

Contact: Grant Wood AEA
Communications Office
1-800-332-8488
319-399-6714

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Cedar Rapids…School registration time is just around the corner for parents with school-aged children. In the past, this annual event has taken multiple pieces of paper, and parents often found themselves writing their student’s name and/or address information over and over on multiple paper forms.

More than 25 School Districts in east central Iowa will be simplifying this process for their parents by using Grant Wood AEA’s PowerSchool© e-registration system for parents.

Last year, a dozen schools piloted the e-registration program. Approximately 15,000 students were e-registered using the software in the districts of Center Point Urbana, Clear Creek Amana, Gilbert, Lisbon, Lone Tree, Marion, North-Linn, North Cedar, Roland Story, Solon, Washington Community and West Branch.

This year, an additional 15 school districts will be using E-Registration in the districts of Anamosa, Cedar Rapids, Central City, Dubuque, Iowa City, Linn-Mar, Maquoketa Valley, Mid-Prairie, Midland, Monticello, Mount Vernon, Springville, West Delaware, the Arch Diocese of Dubuque, Cedar Rapids Metro Catholic and Iowa City Regina. Over 82,000 students will be registered via this on-line system. All of the districts that participated in the pilot program last year will again participate this year.

The E-Registration process reduces the amount of time parents have to spend filling out parental registration paperwork. It also saves the districts large amounts of paper, printing, and has reduced the amount of time school secretaries spend retyping the data and filing all of the respective paperwork provided by parents. The system even allows for districts with online payment systems to collect student fees and prepayment of hot lunches.

The process doesn’t eliminate the need for parents to go to schools for registration, but it reduces the amount of time at school and the overall time required for the registration process. Many functions such as student ID photos or processes requiring face-to-face conversations with school personnel still need to be done at the buildings. Parents enrolling their child for the first time with a school district will also likely need to visit their child’s school.

A number of the participating districts are also providing means for parents who do not have access to a computer to use E-Registration. Some are opening computer labs at their schools or identifying public locations in their communities where parents can gain access to computers. Some districts will also have school staff members available to help guide parents through the online process.

The system will also be used by a number of private schools in east central Iowa. All of the schools in the Metro Catholic school system in Cedar Rapids and many of the schools in the Arch-Diocese of Dubuque will be using E-Registration.

This innovative program evolved from a superintendents’ advisory council at Grant Wood AEA. The superintendents noted how paper and time-intensive the registration process can be. The agency developed this new feature of PowerSchool for the schools using the software. There is no additional cost to the schools participating in PowerSchool to use this tool.

The system was intended to be used during the registration time-frame, however schools that participated in the initial test last year discovered it could be used throughout the school year for parents to update contact information if their work or home addresses, cell phone or email addresses changed, saving phone calls to the school office while providing convenience to parents with 24/7 accessibility.

E-Registration will require parents to review student demographics, parent contact information, emergency contacts and medical information. Parents can also click on yes/no permission statements for a variety of school-related forms such as field trips, permission to publish a student’s name in the school newspaper, or publication of a child’s name in a school directory. Health information is also collected for their child, including medications the child takes, their doctor and dentist, and even the hospital they prefer in case of a severe emergency. Parents will also be asked to provide information such as where their child should be sent in case of a weather-related early dismissal. The process is simply an electronic review of the information. Parents are only required to provide updates to their student’s information, making the process relatively quick.

Districts determine when to begin the E-Registration process. Once E-Registration is turned on for a district, parents can access the site at any time, day or night. If a parent begins the E-Registration process and is interrupted for any reason, parents can pick up right where they left off hours later as E-Registration saves data throughout the process.

School secretaries have the responsibility of reviewing all E-Registration updates from parents. Instead of having to decipher parents’ handwriting and inputting thousands of forms into the schools’ computers, school secretaries have quality check responsibilities. They inspect the input from parents, and if there are inaccuracies or information that appears to be questionable, they can contact the parents to clarify the details.

E-Registration is a time saver for parents and creates opportunity for savings within districts regarding labor, materials and postage.

Grant Wood Area Education Agency provides instructional and school management services for 32 school districts and 22 approved nonpublic schools in Benton, Cedar, Iowa, Johnson, Jones, Linn, and Washington counties.