The San Mateo Union High School District, located in the heart of Silicon Valley, is comprised of seven public high schools, a special middle college program, and a continuation school. The district serves 8,300 students from six cities, and each year adds approximately 2,300 new students who are entering high school. Collecting and maintaining accurate registration information, with hundreds of data elements for each student, is a major challenge.
“All of our parents—all 8,300 of them—access [PowerSchool Registration] every year. Parents are delighted with [it]… We’ve saved a huge amount of hours in manual labor, but I think what is more important is the data accuracy over the last two years has really increased. We now trust the data that’s in our system.”
–KindyLee Mackumal, Director of Attendance and Welfare
San Mateo Union High School District
Data Information Specialist – Falls Church City Public Schools
In the past, the district’s annual census of returning students was done at each school site and required a lot of paper-intensive documents, which school personnel had to enter into the district’s student information system (Eagle Software’s Aeries®). San Mateo also had a large number of new student registration forms that needed to be completed. There was so much data collected that school personnel were unable to hand-enter all the data into Aeries.
Sophie Tsazhres, Data Control Analyst, says, “We also collect information that does not go into Aeries, such as Student Acceptable Use Policy and Liability Releases. This information also needed to be easily accessible, and we could not have achieved that without [PowerSchool Registration].”
To work effectively in this challenging environment, the San Mateo District turned to PowerSchool and its customized online registration system. Their goal was to have parents access the system directly, while also augmenting the Aeries system by capturing the unique data elements collected. Luckily, PowerSchool Registration seamlessly integrates with the Aeries SIS, providing clients with an on demand feed of information between the systems, and a flexible front-end that can be tailored to any school district’s data collection and business process needs.
KindyLee Mackamul, San Mateo’s Director of Attendance and Welfare says, “We now use [PowerSchool Registration] for the enrollment of all new students coming into the district. Parents can walk into our office and get out in about 10 to 12 minutes after we verify all their residency and other documents. They then can go home and, at their leisure, access the system themselves and fill out the rest of the information through the [PowerSchool Registration] online forms.”
“For returning students, parents go into [PowerSchool Registration] and update their student’s contact information, medical records, and sign-off on all required authorizations. Policy dictates that they complete the census before students are allowed to get a class schedule.”
“All of our parents—all 8,300 of them—access [PowerSchool Registration] every year. Parents are delighted with [PowerSchool Registration]. They’re very comfortable with it.
KindyLee goes on to say, “Last year I couldn’t fathom how [PowerSchool Registration] could get any better than what it was. And yet, this year it was so smooth and so easy that I don’t think I spent more than an hour on the whole process because I’ve got all of our staff so comfortable with it that they are more able to do their jobs.” KindyLee continues, “We’ve saved a huge amount of hours in manual labor, but I think what is more important is the data accuracy over the last two years—especially of the information that’s actually in Aeries—has really increased. We now trust the data that’s in our system.”
KindyLee and Sophie are equally impressed with PowerSchool Registration’s support personnel. Says Sophie, “Every year the state adds more requirements that require us to gather more detailed student information. Every time I call the [PowerSchool Registration] team to add new information, they’re always very, very fast. [They] will accommodate me for anything I need. Our relationship is absolutely great and they are there for me all the time. I have some questions sometimes and they respond right away, very professionally, very polite. Everything is very positive.”
KindyLee says “I’ll give you an example. Our [PowerSchool Registration] system right now is offered in English and Spanish. We just recently came under a compliance review and were given an urgent requirement to add Chinese as a third language. It was amazing how quickly [PowerSchool] was able to respond to that request. They worked very closely with us to provide the new language option.”
“It’s that type of response where they weren’t afraid of the challenge. They were more than willing to work with us to help us resolve an issue that arose out of the blue.”
Both Sophie and KindyLee agree that PowerSchool Registration has changed the registration process for the District to the degree that both parents and administrators are highly pleased—not to mention the school employees that are no longer tied to data entry.
Says Sophie: “In these times with all the pressure on schools to carefully watch their resources, [PowerSchool Registration] is one big positive step in the right direction.”
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