COSTA MESA - To lighten parents' paperwork in signing their children up for the next scholastic year, the Newport-Mesa Unified School District this summer will pilot an online registration system at Costa Mesa and Corona del Mar high schools.
The school board on Tuesday night approved a contract with Jireh Information Systems, Inc. to try a school registration and student management software program called K-12 Online. It will replace the back-to-school stack of papers parents fill out every summer with an online system.
"[We thought] there's got to be a better way," said George Knights, the district's director of professional learning communities and K-12 assessment. "It's easier to do taxes … than register your children for high school or middle school."
Online registration will be implemented at Costa Mesa High and CdM High, but the district anticipates expanding it to all the schools the following year, said Charles Hinman, the assistant superintendent of secondary education.
The district traditionally sends parents thick packets of paper, containing emergency cards, health surveys and other vital documentation. Parents are expected to fill out the forms and return them to the school during registration week, which can involve standing in long lines outside.
The online system will allow the district to go nearly paperless and fill out all registration forms online using a student-specific access code, Knights said.
The software will keep the student's latest information on file, so parents can just update it, he said.
The online registration portal also can be customized to add athletics and booster pages, and allow parents to purchase items like yearbooks and Parent Teacher Assn. memberships online with a credit card.
Parents will still have to come down to the school to show their completed registration forms, but it will be faster and easier, Knights said.
Schools will also have a plan to open their computer labs for residents without Internet access, he said.
Director of Information Technology Alan Engard said the company uses all the safeguards needed to protect student information, and parents don't have to worry about getting spammed.
"We're very comfortable," he said. "It maintains all the confidentiality and integrity of our data."