Registration Process

Tall_Mocha

Does anyone else find the registration process tedious? I understand it's to ensure that everyone attending schools within the district actually live in the district but it's very very unorganized. And seems the staff there could use an update and or training class on how to think outside the box as well as dealing with people. 


Tom_R

What problems did you encounter?

Personally, I find all bureaucratic processes to be tedious. But if there are needless hoops, perhaps there may be a way to to address the problem.

TomR


sprout

Tall_Mocha said:

Does anyone else find the registration process tedious? I understand it's to ensure that everyone attending schools within the district actually live in the district but it's very very unorganized. And seems the staff there could use an update and or training class on how to think outside the box as well as dealing with people. 

*Sigh* Welcome to the district. There are plenty of inefficiencies that could be addressed (some I have even offered to provide pro bono assistance). It's like a highly chaotic and reactive system, rather than proactive one. One issue may be a distrust of change (or distrust of having time to create change), making the district unable to become more efficient.

There were grand hopes that the experience of the interim Superintendent could address this. But...  *sigh*


Tall_Mocha

sprout said:

Tall_Mocha said:

Does anyone else find the registration process tedious? I understand it's to ensure that everyone attending schools within the district actually live in the district but it's very very unorganized. And seems the staff there could use an update and or training class on how to think outside the box as well as dealing with people. 

*Sigh* Welcome to the district. There are plenty of inefficiencies that could be addressed (some I have even offered to provide pro bono assistance). It's like a highly chaotic and reactive system, rather than proactive one. One issue may be a distrust of change (or distrust of having time to create change), making the district unable to become more efficient.

There were grand hopes that the experience of the interim Superintendent could address this. But...  *sigh*

 Agreed. *sigh*


Tall_Mocha

Tom_R said:

What problems did you encounter?

Personally, I find all bureaucratic processes to be tedious. But if there are needless hoops, perhaps there may be a way to to address the problem.

TomR

 I found the staff to be quite robotic. Example: I was trying to put my child back in her zoned school. I was giving a slip to fill out that was for children wanting to opt in to, NOT out of. I pointed out the situation, and still had the paper shoved in my face. I filled out the sheet upon request, and was told I was all set. I then received an email stating I was to write a letter with a signature and that the sheet I filled out as per their directions was in fact wrong. I already have a child who has been in the district for 5 years, I was actually registering my youngest. Spoke to 3 different staff members, basically telling me 3 different things. Finally, paperwork was complete, was told I was "all set" ONLY to receive a call stating I was still missing documents and that the process was not complete. 


sprout

It doesn't get much better. I have a kid entering high school. There was a parent 'info session' one evening.  One administrator gets to the microphone and says, don't worry, let your kids be independent now that they are in high school, let them advocate for themselves and figure things out! The next administrator gets to mic and says to make sure your kids are getting their homework done, check powerschool, stay on top of various things, make sure they have enough credits towards graduation....  So, starting off with mixed messages was their opening.

There wasn't much actionable info provided at the 'info session'. While the kids' class schedules were released that day on Powerschool, they provided zero orientation to reading the schedule.

So, when I looked at it, it didn't make sense. I had a bunch of questions:

  • How many periods are there, 8 or 9?  What time does school start/end? What time is each period? Is there "Homeroom"? (None of this is on the Powerschool schedule).
  • What did the abbreviations mean?
  • How did I know how many credits my kid was taking (credits aren't indicated in the Powerschool schedule), and how many they should be taking to graduate? How many was maximum per year?
  • Are we on a semester system? Why did it appear that my kid was missing a period in 2nd semester?
  • If my kid didn't get into a pre-req to a course he wants to take later, what are the options?

I tried asking one of the assistant principals and the (interim) head of guidance about the schedule, and was told the robotic "Fill out the change request form."

I didn't even know what to ask for on a change request form! A change to what??  

The head of guidance made a big talk at the session about how they had to process a bazillion change request forms all summer, so to please be patient. However, if they reviewed the schedule at the 'info session', and parents and students were more informed about the ins-and-outs of the schedule, perhaps guidance wouldn't be so freaking overwhelmed by unnecessary or confused change form requests! 

In the end, I asked the more responsive middle school guidance counselor about how to read the schedule. Turns out -- there was an error in PowerSchool impacting all students. It wasn't showing any 2nd semester courses. The counselor let me know that 2 other students had just come in about it.

... They could have straightened this all out in 5 minutes if they just reviewed the freaking schedule at the freaking 'info session'. 

*sigh*


sprout

To document more communication/form inefficiencies:

This week CHS emailed parents the first day schedule for incoming 9th graders, which has an orientation, and shortened 'intro' periods. 

  • Why isn't this also going to the students' school email addresses if they're supposed to be able to be gaining independence?
  • CHS then sent a 2nd email correcting the wildly incorrect first schedule they emailed out. 
    • The first schedule's times were bungled (one class starting before the previous one ended; no time between classes to make the switch), It seemed like errors one might make if this was the first time they were doing a 9th grader orientation day.
  • Communication about PE, and another 'Change request form' email came from head of guidance. Communication about the first day schedule/orientation came from the assistant principal. Neither of whom identified who they were in the emails, nor provided any contact info for questions. None. 
  • The "Change Request Form" instructions only say: "Please sign below and submit to the Counseling Center". No info is provided about when it's open (over the summer?), where it is, no number to call, no email address -- not even a mailing address. (We have to walk into CHS, and guess what times the office is open to do this? Will someone review it when we walk in?)
  • In their change request email this week: 
    • "We have received a large number of schedule change requests. We will honor requests where it is logistically possible and educationally necessary. We are unable to respond following each request. We are completing almost all requests in 24 hours and all within 48 hours. Please check Powerschool to see what changes were done."?)
    •     So... what do I do if my change request is not addressed, and I don't hear from guidance after 2 days, and I don't know why?

*sigh again*


sprout

I should stop... but I just read the Option II (PE Opt out) letter sent this morning by head of guidance. Pasted below with all the embarrassing... well, I'm not sure if it's a major misspelling, an unfortunate (undefined) abbreviation, or a high schooler's dirty joke. But it's repeated 3 times.

Columbia High School
PE Option II Opt Out Program
OVERVIEW

Columbia High School offers students the opportunity to do Option II Opt Out for Physical Education if they participate in a school sport / band or other approved outside of SOMSD activity. The purpose of this Option II Opt Out program is to provide athletes / band members at CHS with the opportunity to devote more time to academic study while their sport/activity is in season. Physical Education Option II Opt Out is provided along specific guidelines and dates for the 2019- 20 school year. Forms must be turned in for QUARTER ONE ONLY on the following dates. NO EXCEPTIONS. September 11, 12 and 13 in Room A 107 during lunch periods, and meet with Mr. Mullen the Supervisor of Health, Physical Education and Driver Education in order to be considered.

Upon submission of the application and sign off by Mr. Mullen, students who choose to do Option II Opt Out for PE will be scheduled for the following:

* Attend a STUDY HALL in which all students assigned must show up every day and they are expected to focus on academics during this period. There will not be CREDIT RECOVERY for those who skip out on study hall and cum out due to absences. Translated this means that the student will not be able to make up that period’s PE in another quarter and or by completing a PE PACKET because they cumed out of the study hall. NO EXCEPTIONS.

* Must adhere to attendance policy for the quarter at all times.

* VERY IMPORTANT -- If a student has an Opt Out Period 1 or 9 that student IS NOT allowed to come in late to school and skip study hall and or leave early at the end of the day. NOT ATTENDING is a cut therefore one may cum out if they do not adhere.

Students requesting to do Option II Opt Out for Physical Education for OUTSIDE ACTIVITIES for example gymnastics school / club, boxer, frisbee team to name a few WILL BE GIVEN UNTILL SEPTEMBER 17 to turn in forms during lunch periods in A 107. NO EXCEPTIONS after the 17th. Affiliation with activities and or organizations will be considered on a case-by-case basis after appropriate application has been submitted to Mr. Mullen on the dates listed. Decisions are final. No appeals are granted.

BG9

These are from our educators? A joke. No wonder we're falling behind compared to the world. The we wonder why so many need remediation in college. 

"No Appeals are granted"? Cum? Cumed? Untill? Is proofreading a lost art? 

Also, this kludge can certainly use a rewrite:

Forms must be turned in for QUARTER ONE ONLY on the following dates. NO EXCEPTIONS. September 11, 12 and 13 in Room A 107 during lunch periods, and meet with Mr. Mullen the Supervisor of Health, Physical Education and Driver Education in order to be considered.


DaveSchmidt

BG9 said:

Is proofreading a lost art? 

In a word: Yes. When the informality and haste of digital communication pave the way for sloppiness and nobody seems to get too upset about it, businesses and other institutions on tight budgets (like school districts) have less incentive to spend money and time on proofreading.

More important, I think, is this fact: Writing clearly is hard, especially when you’re trying to convey new information to an unfamiliar audience. It all makes sense to you (maybe, for instance, you’ve been using “cum” as shorthand for “cumulative” or “accumulated” forever), and stepping outside yourself to look at it from, say, a freshman parent’s perspective doesn’t come naturally. 

Yes, it’s a failure — and frustrating for that parent — but “a joke”? A cause for derision? Having seen even the sharpest writers I know struggle with clarity (writers who, unlike school administrators, had professional editors to help them), I’ll have to disagree with you there.


BG9

DaveSchmidt said:

Yes, it’s a failure — and frustrating for that parent — but “a joke”? A cause for derision? Having seen even the sharpest writers I know struggle with clarity (writers who, unlike school administrators, had professional editors to help them), I’ll have to disagree with you there.

Lets not excuse this degree of sloppiness. When you write anything for dissemination, especially if its external and wide, you'd better take the time to proofread. You can write it but you don't have the time to check it? Or not capable of checking it? It is a joke.

What would an English teacher give a student who wrote like that? An A, B? More likely C, if lucky. 


DaveSchmidt

BG9 said:

Lets not excuse this degree of sloppiness. When you write anything for dissemination, especially if its external and wide, you'd better take the time to proofread. You can write it but you don't have the time to check it? Or not capable of checking it? It is a joke.

What would an English teacher give a student who wrote like that? An A, B? More likely C, if lucky. 

I have no problem excusing "Lets" and "its," which were both written for dissemination and took no time at all to spot. So I'll stand by my comment.


Tall_Mocha

sprout said:

It doesn't get much better. I have a kid entering high school. There was a parent 'info session' one evening.  One administrator gets to the microphone and says, don't worry, let your kids be independent now that they are in high school, let them advocate for themselves and figure things out! The next administrator gets to mic and says to make sure your kids are getting their homework done, check powerschool, stay on top of various things, make sure they have enough credits towards graduation....  So, starting off with mixed messages was their opening.

There wasn't much actionable info provided at the 'info session'. While the kids' class schedules were released that day on Powerschool, they provided zero orientation to reading the schedule.

So, when I looked at it, it didn't make sense. I had a bunch of questions:

  • How many periods are there, 8 or 9?  What time does school start/end? What time is each period? Is there "Homeroom"? (None of this is on the Powerschool schedule).
  • What did the abbreviations mean?
  • How did I know how many credits my kid was taking (credits aren't indicated in the Powerschool schedule), and how many they should be taking to graduate? How many was maximum per year?
  • Are we on a semester system? Why did it appear that my kid was missing a period in 2nd semester?
  • If my kid didn't get into a pre-req to a course he wants to take later, what are the options?

I tried asking one of the assistant principals and the (interim) head of guidance about the schedule, and was told the robotic "Fill out the change request form."

I didn't even know what to ask for on a change request form! A change to what??  

The head of guidance made a big talk at the session about how they had to process a bazillion change request forms all summer, so to please be patient. However, if they reviewed the schedule at the 'info session', and parents and students were more informed about the ins-and-outs of the schedule, perhaps guidance wouldn't be so freaking overwhelmed by unnecessary or confused change form requests! 

In the end, I asked the more responsive middle school guidance counselor about how to read the schedule. Turns out -- there was an error in PowerSchool impacting all students. It wasn't showing any 2nd semester courses. The counselor let me know that 2 other students had just come in about it.

... They could have straightened this all out in 5 minutes if they just reviewed the freaking schedule at the freaking 'info session'. 

*sigh*

 Wow, just wow! A change needs to be made. 


FilmCarp

Once school starts and things settle down this can and should be discussed with the administration.  If it is done politely, with constructive criticism, it may have an impact.  We have a lot of areas in our towns and our school district where things can be improved.  I think we can help do it.


sprout

A corrected PE Option II form was just sent out. For reference: "cum out" meant "exceed cumulative absences."  This makes more sense. However, as I don't know what the limit is (and is this the same thing as a 'cut'? Or do excused absences count in this tally?), it might have been another helpful topic for the 'info session' to cover -- especially since exceeding this appears to result in an "F". 


sprout

OK... next source of confusion: What is the start time at CHS?

  • 7:30 am according to the SOMSD website: https://www.somsd.k12.nj.us/about/hours/
  • 7:55am  if I go by the Powerschool schedule using 1st period class time as start of the day
  • 8am if I go by the 9th grader's first day's orientation schedule's start time (which was sent via email)

I see the class times listed in one of the PowerSchool schedules, but don't see Homeroom listed. Is there Homeroom, and what time?


Tall_Mocha

FilmCarp said:

Once school starts and things settle down this can and should be discussed with the administration.  If it is done politely, with constructive criticism, it may have an impact.  We have a lot of areas in our towns and our school district where things can be improved.  I think we can help do it.

 Honestly the whole admin needs to be turned over. Haven't had to deal with the process until recently, while trying to register my youngest, as my oldest has been in the district for 4 years or so already, and nothing has changed, same staff same issues. 


yahooyahoo

DaveSchmidt said:

BG9 said:

Is proofreading a lost art? 

In a word: Yes. When the informality and haste of digital communication pave the way for sloppiness and nobody seems to get too upset about it, businesses and other institutions on tight budgets (like school districts) have less incentive to spend money and time on proofreading.

More important, I think, is this fact: Writing clearly is hard, especially when you’re trying to convey new information to an unfamiliar audience. It all makes sense to you (maybe, for instance, you’ve been using “cum” as shorthand for “cumulative” or “accumulated” forever), and stepping outside yourself to look at it from, say, a freshman parent’s perspective doesn’t come naturally. 

Yes, it’s a failure — and frustrating for that parent — but “a joke”? A cause for derision? Having seen even the sharpest writers I know struggle with clarity (writers who, unlike school administrators, had professional editors to help them), I’ll have to disagree with you there.

I think proofreading by our district administrators is prohibited.  That can be the only explanation for the repeated mistakes and re-sending emails.


weirdbeard

sprout said:

OK... next source of confusion: What is the start time at CHS?

  • 7:30 am according to the SOMSD website: https://www.somsd.k12.nj.us/about/hours/
  • 7:55am  if I go by the Powerschool schedule using 1st period class time as start of the day
  • 8am if I go by the 9th grader's first day's orientation schedule's start time (which was sent via email)

I see the class times listed in one of the PowerSchool schedules, but don't see Homeroom listed. Is there Homeroom, and what time?

 7:55 is the regular start time.

There is no regular Homeroom.  Homeroom is only relevant a few days in the year when they have special guidance programs.  The kids will be notified in advance of those.


mrincredible

Is anyone else experiencing problems with PowerSchool this morning?  I'm getting an error message when I try to log in.  I've attempted with Chrome, Internet Explorer and Chrome on my Android phone.


FilmCarp

Working for me at 11am on Android phone.


mrincredible

Are you on the app?  I’m trying to set up a new account on the website.  I should have been more specific.


FilmCarp

Sorry, yes, I was just checking an existing account on the app.




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