At Fort Bend Independent School District (FBISD), enrolling new students was often a challenging task.
With a student population of more than 70,000 and
75 schools within the district, new student enrollment
was a painstaking process for teachers, parents and administrative staff. Barbara Benzaia, manager of student information systems at FBISD, described how registration forms varied widely by campus.
For a district with a large student population and multiple campuses, the lack of standardization caused many inefficiencies and headaches for district staff. The administration knew they needed to make a change to better facilitate student enrollment practices within the district. As a Skyward customer since 2010, FBISD was familiar with the features that Skyward offered and was excited to pilot the latest innovation in an online enrollment solution.
Before beginning an online
enrollment transition, the
district created a committee
that included campus administrators, campus registration staff, and district administrators to produce a standardized registration form that would be available online district-wide. “We standardized what we wanted as a district and made decisions such as eliminating paper forms,” Benzaia said. After customizing the standardized registration form, FBISD was ready to implement the new Skyward enrollment solution. The district successfully made a smooth transition to technology that streamlined the enrollment process for its new students.
"WE ARE SO EXCITED ABOUT NEW STUDENT ONLINE ENROLLMENT. THE SOFTWARE IS GREAT, AND IT ALLOWS YOU TO CUSTOMIZE THE REGISTRATION PROCESS TO MEET YOUR DISTRICT'S NEEDS."
“We were trained well on how to use Skyward’s New Student Online Enrollment,” Benzaia said. “Skyward let our district and campus staff practice the online enrollment process with the software in a training environment, so we were able to test it first, which was very beneficial.” The district’s soft-opening of the new enrollment solution was on June 1, 2014, and parents could begin registering their children online. The district also purchased front office computer kiosks for all of its schools, so parents could register their children onsite if needed.
“The opening of New Student Online Enrollment was
a huge success. Our parents were able to complete everything they needed to before coming to school,” Benzaia said. “This allowed our campus administrative and registration staff to spend quality time with parents and students – answering questions they felt important or giving a tour of the school – by not having to focus on registration paperwork.”
“All registration paperwork is completed online by the parents before campus registration staff finalize the enrollment into school,” she said. “Our parents appreciate that they
can complete this process online at home, at their convenience. They don’t have to take off work to come into the school to complete paperwork. Parents only have to enter demographic information once, and it populates automatically to other forms including forms for siblings.”
With the implementation of a solution designed for enrolling new students through a customizable online process, the district was successful in completing more than 7,500 new student online registrations during an initial three-month period of the process. “It helped us to standardize our registration process across the board,” Benzaia said. “We are so excited about New Student Online Enrollment. The software is great, and it allows you to customize the registration process to meet your district’s needs.”
"THE OPENING OF NEW STUDENT ONLINE ENROLLMENT WAS A HUGE SUCCESS."
In order to be successful, the district sent press releases to local media to communicate the implementation of the new online enrollment process for students. They also communicated via the school messenger system, Skylert, and posted messages on Family Access for families of students with younger siblings who would be registering. The district also created ads and flyers, and posted information on social media platforms.
To assist parents in the online process, FBISD created "how-to"s and posted them on the district website. “Even if parents didn’t read the instructions or how-tos, parents could figure out how to complete the online process,” Benzaia said. “Skyward’s New Student Online Enrollment is intuitive and very easy for parents.”
The new enrollment solution gave the district and its families the ability to complete additional tasks online. “Parents of students have Family Access accounts with Skyward from the beginning,” Benzaia said. She explained that in the future the district plans to move to an even more paperless model. Parents will have to opt-in for paper copies of report cards and progress reports
next fall. “Report cards and progress reports are available online now, and by adding the additional hard-copy opt-in, we will create a cost savings for the district in the future.”
In addition to efficiency and convenience, data integrity was also important to the district. “Our campus registration staff could review what the parents entered during
the online registration process and verify the data for accuracy prior to saving it in our system,” Benzaia said. “New Student Online Enrollment ensured all paperwork was accurate and complete.”
Fort Bend ISD streamlined its registration process for new students with the implementation of innovative technology. The district maintained data integrity while increasing administrative efficiencies and creating a convenient process for students and parents. To date, Fort Bend has successfully enrolled more than 10,000 new students through Skyward’s New Student Online Enrollment.
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