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International Applications – American Community School of Amman

October 30, 2016

Innovative Solutions from PowerSchool Registration Supports American Community School’s International Presence

The American Community School (ACS) located in Amman, Jordan, is the only international school in Jordan to offer an American curriculum starting with Pre-K through grade 12. With 520 over students, the student body represents over 40 nationalities. Originally established primarily for expats, ACS accepts applications from all over the world, including its native country Jordan. Approaching its 60th anniversary, the school has changed its use of technology inside and outside the classroom, recognizing the importance of first impressions online, including offering online applications.

“At ACS, we try to present ourselves as being very focused on technology… I don’t think that message would be very strong if we had paper applications. Our [PowerSchool Registration] online application has been important to demonstrate to families that what we value is not just technology in the classroom, but at the school as a whole.”
– Hania Juma, Director of Admission & Communication
The American Community School

Overview

Hania Juma, Director of Admissions and Communications at ACS and also a graduate of the school, began her post in 2009 and was part of the transition from a paper-based admissions process to their online PowerSchool Registration solution. Hania described the process before PowerSchool Registration: “Our application had not changed for many years, even decades. We had the same application forms each year and over time, supplements had been added. Prospective parents would get a pack of old style forms that were not consistent in design or layout and fill them in manually.”

The Challenge

Paper applications were not an optimal process for ACS or its prospective families. Juma expanded, “For parents with more than one child, it was tedious to fill out the same information again and again. They had to because we had to create a file for each student and each file had to have its own completed forms.” Applicant files would physically move among departments as the principal, learning support team, counselor, and business office reviewed and processed each application. “Papers would fall out, files could get temporarily lost or stuck at the bottom of a pile. I had to physically go to different departments to follow up on all the applications as well.”
Chasing files internally was a hassle and time consuming, as was chasing families and applications. “I spent so much time gathering information and chasing paperwork. And it was very difficult to read handwriting on paper applications.” Hania continued, “The admissions department is just me, so I meet with a lot of people, receive and process applications, review applications, follow up with applicants, and communicate with families.” As the school began to grow, Hania knew the current inefficient process and antiquated paper forms would no longer suffice.

The Solution

The American Community School in Amman partnered with the PowerSchool Registration team for a customized online application and teacher recommendation system integrated with its student information system. PowerSchool Registration has significantly improved the application process, particularly for international families, and has transformed the efficiency, communication, and operations of the process at the school.

“As an international school, the fact that families can access our application from anywhere, anytime, from any device at home or at work, has made it a lot easier for international parents, who don’t have to worry about printing, scanning, photocopying, and mailing. We have families who apply from all over the world and now they don’t have to wait till they are in Jordan to submit an application,” Hania explained.

Prospective families were relieved to have better access with an online application, and were also relieved that repetitive data entry for siblings disappeared. With PowerSchool Registration, family information entered on the first application “snaps” to subsequent applications. Hania said, “I think the most beneficial part of [PowerSchool Registration] for international families is that it’s not repetitive. For Jordanian families, who tend to have lots of kids, they don’t want to be filling out the family information again and again.”

At ACS, multiple departments have appropriate access to their PowerSchool Registration system, accessible online from anywhere. “[PowerSchool Registration] has become the central point for everyone involved in the admissions process to access information about a student. We no longer have paper files, we don’t lose anything, and it is great that everyone knows where information is and that we can keep track of everything,” Hania explained. “[PowerSchool Registration] facilitates the most important thing that has affected the effectiveness of our admissions: internal communication. Because we have several different departments, we have been able to communicate almost instantaneously and are more efficient working as a team compared to before. Processing applications has become much faster.” Hania laughed, then said, “I run around a lot less! [PowerSchool Registration] has made my life easier, particularly as the school campus gets bigger with our growth!”

As a one-person department, Hania can attest to additional efficiencies and effectiveness gains credited to their PowerSchool Registration services. “It’s been great to email families using the email features. That saves a lot of time when I’m sending acceptances. When you’re accepting 50, 60, or 70 students at a once, sending batch personalized emails saves a lot of time.”

The PowerSchool Registration team also created a custom filter in the ACS workspace specifically for health-related information. Hania filters data, exports it, and sends it to the school nurse, who then has instant access to medical documents and accurate information not prone to manual data entry error. Meanwhile, the business office at ACS uses PowerSchool Registration to track who has paid what payments and is able to efficiently follow up with families using the email feature.

The Results

PowerSchool Registration has transformed the antiquated paper process into a professional, efficient solution that builds a positive image with prospective families. Hania explained: “At ACS, we try to present ourselves as being very focused on technology in school and on integrating technology into our curriculum. I don’t think that message would be very strong if we had paper applications. Our [PowerSchool Registration] online application has been important to demonstrate to families that what we value is not just technology in the classroom but at the school as a whole.”

As a growing international school in the digital age, customized solutions from PowerSchool have transformed the process and image of ACS for prospective families. “[PowerSchool Registration] has made a huge change, and each year we are still amazed at how efficient our process is. We are still as thankful today as when we first started using [PowerSchool Registration] three years ago!”

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