COSTA MESA — With the first day of school around the corner, parents and students headed to area campuses Tuesday to complete registration.
Corona del Mar High School seniors, Costa Mesa Middle School seventh-graders and their parents snaked their way around the campus from booth to booth to prepare for school.
This year, though, it took parents and teachers minutes — not hours — to finish.
"This has been the easiest time ever," said Costa Mesa senior Alyssa Hatton, 17, who worked at campus registration for the last four years and was manning the school I.D. booth.
Tuesday was a test to see how the new online registration would affect the in-person registration. The two 7-12 campuses piloted an online registration and student management software program called "K-12 Online," which allowed parents to fill out everything from emergency cards to health surveys and to buy items before coming to the schools.
Campus officials seemed pleased with the first day's results.
"Registration has been going very well," said Costa Mesa Middle School Principal Aaron Peralta. "Our wait times have been dramatically reduced with the piloting of the online system."
District officials have said they are waiting to see how the registration system performs before expanding the system to all secondary schools.
Previously, the Newport-Mesa Unified School District sent out a stack of forms that parents filled out during the summer, then returned in person.
The process used to last hours, said former Trustee Michael Collier, who was volunteering at Costa Mesa on Tuesday.
Collier remembered parents complaining as they waited three or four hours in the hot sun.
"It was horrible," he said.
This year, both schools averaged a 45-minute wait time, campus officials said.
CdM Middle School Principal Guy Olguin said the lines were a complete change from past years.
"It was 180 degrees in the other direction," he said.
Filling out the forms online was much easier, Alyssa said. It took her and her father about five minutes.
The new system keeps students' information on file so parents update it when necessary. Online registration opened Aug. 1 for CdM and Aug. 8 for Costa Mesa.
Alyssa said she expects to breeze through in-person registration when it's her turn Thursday.
"This has just made it so much easier," she said.