Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Computer registration at Paul Smith Middle School a hit with parents, students

HOLIDAY — Traci Fernandes sat at a laptop computer, her two daughters at her side, in the Paul R. Smith Middle School cafeteria.

In past years, school registration day would have meant hand cramps and cross outs as she filled out papers by the dozen, writing and rewriting her children's names, address and other information over and over.

Not this go-round.

Officials at Smith Middle decided to computerize the entire process, streamlining the effort for parents and school alike. If successful, the idea could spread to other Pasco schools. A district committee is keeping tabs on the pilot project.

Most parents on Tuesday walked away pleased. Complaints were few and far between, even when the wireless system knocked out computers momentarily or when a few screens froze up. (Thank goodness for the immediate, automatic save function the school built in.)

"It's faster," Fernandes said, watching her eighth-grader Briana type because she had better keyboarding skills. "If you make a mistake, you can go back and delete it. You don't have to scratch it out."

"I think it's great," said Wanda Battle, who sat nearby registering her eighth-grade daughter Keyondra Johnson. "What makes it the best is you see all of your information and all you have to do is verify it. And it doesn't take as long as filling out all the paperwork."

For current district students like Keyondra, parents could find their records in the system by entering their name or student identification number. Then it was a matter of making sure everything was correct and filling out a few blank spaces.

Parents of new students would type in certain fields, such as name, just once, and the program would instantly put that information in the entire set of documents, from the media release form to emergency contacts. Why should anyone have to rewrite the information at a time when computer forms can do the copying so much more easily, principal Chris Dunning said.

Completing the documents averaged about 20 minutes, considerably less time than filling out the papers by hand, said assistant principal Susan Seibert, who organized the effort and wrote the computer program. She made sure the school had plenty of computers available (144) so no one would have to wait, and had several staffers on hand to answer questions, though there were few.

Ease of use for parents was a critical piece of the puzzle, Seibert said, noting that many working parents often have limited time to bring their kids to school to register, get their schedules and meet their teachers.

At the same time, Dunning said, computerizing the information benefits the school, too.

The most powerful piece, he explained, was having all parent and child information, such as emergency numbers and e-mail addresses, in a database that's easily accessible to teachers and administrators. The improved availability of information should facilitate the school's work to improve its communications with parents.

"Some of these things we would never enter into a database," Dunning said, explaining that much of the information often just sat in file folders in an office, sometimes in difficult-to-read handwriting.

With hundreds of the school's 1,068 students already through the system, Dunning ruled the project a success.

"It's gone off better than we ever expected," he said.

Now he's confident enough to explore the next step, having parents register online from home and then come pick up the already printed out papers and documents on meet-the-teacher day.

Maybe next year.

Jeffrey S. Solochek can be reached at solochek@sptimes.com or (813) 909-4614. For more education news, visit the Gradebook at www.tampabay.com/blogs/gradebook.

Computer registration at Paul Smith Middle School a hit with parents, students 08/17/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 17, 2011 8:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Judge throws out $458,000 condo sale, says Clearwater attorney tricked bidders

    Real Estate

    CLEARWATER — Pinellas County Circuit Judge Jack St. Arnold on Monday threw out the $458,100 sale of a gulf-front condo because of what he called an "unscrupulous" and "conniving" scheme to trick bidders at a foreclosure auction.

    John Houde, left, whose Orlando copany was the high  bidder June 8 at the foreclosure auction of a Redington Beach condo, looks in the direction of Clearwater lawyer and real estate investor Roy C. Skelton, foreground,  during a hearing Monday before Pinellas County Circuit Judge Jack St. Arnold.  [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times ]
  2. Vision Zero plan to make Hillsborough roads safer to be unveiled

    Transportation

    TAMPA — Vision Zero, the coalition trying to make Hillsborough County safer for bicyclists and pedestrians, is set to unveil its action plan on Tuesday morning.

    Members of the Vision Zero workshop cross Hillsborough Avenue and Kelly Road during a on-street audit of Town 'N Country roads in January. [JAMES BORCHUCK  |   Times]
  3. Pasco EDC names business incubator head in Dade City, will open second site

    Business

    Pasco County economic development officials are busy reigniting their business start-up resources following the departure earlier this year of Krista Covey, who ran the Pasco Economic Development Council's SMARTStart business incubator in Dade City.

    Andrew Romaner was promoted this summer to serve as program director of the Dade City SMARTStart Entrepreneur Center, a start-up incubator service of the Pasco Economic Development Council. He succeeds Krista Covey, who relocated to Texas for another startup position. [Courtesy of Pasco EDC]
  4. What you need to know for Tuesday, Aug. 22

    News

    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    Clearwater lawyer and real estate investor Roy C. Skelton, center, attends a hearing on Monday Circuit Court Judge Jack St. Arnold at the Pinellas County Courthouse in Clearwater. The hearing was requested by attorneys representing John Houde, left, who filed a motion to invalidate the sale of a $458,000 Redington Beach condo, a deal orchestrated by Skelton, who stands accused of deliberately misleading bidders in a the June 8 foreclosure auction. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times]
  5. Sarasota GOP names Dick Cheney 'Statesman of the Year'

    Blogs

    Former Vice President Dick Cheney will be honored as "Statesman of Year" by the Sarasota GOP, a title that twice went to Donald Trump.

    Dick and Liz Cheney