Friday, November 11, 2011

Is SFUSD Ready for Online Enrollment?

The SFUSD enrollment paperwork can be maddening. I envy my friends in Phoenix who have online enrollment (click here for website). Checking school enrollment resources on the Internet, I found many school districts nationwide offer online enrollment. But not SFUSD...

Why is SFUSD, with its proximity to Silicon Valley, still in the dark ages of school enrollment processes? Shuffling papers, losing papers, manually entering data (once!), and blaming the computer for "glitches."

Can you imagine what it would be like if the staff at 555 Franklin did not accidently lose your second page of school choices? Did not accidently separate your twins' application forms? Did not accidently miscode your language immersion? Did not accidently repeat Flynnarado (a third time)?!

Can you imagine what it would be like changing or amending your school choices right up until the last day without looking for parking or waiting in line? Or getting updated waitlist numbers instantly so that you could make more informed choices, without yet another phone call or trip to EPC?

Can you imagine a world where SFUSD got it right the first time without human error?

- Donna

17 comments:

  1. About 10 years ago SFUSD experimented with it - I helped with a pilot test by recruiting families for it through PPS. I completely forgot about until now. Wonder why it wasn't pursued?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I would imagine that 10 years ago it wasn't ready for prime time. Today would be an entirely different story.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Especially considering that Garcia came in as the "Technology Superintendent". The only thing he's streamlined is the evisceration of high API school budgets.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yes, online enrollment for everything is now the norm. SF Rec & Park, for example, made a big (and positive)move in the last year or so with online registration for all programming. It was part of a big reorg and had to address that they had to cut people and serve the public better.

    If nothing else, SFUSD should be doing it to reduce the high cost of personnel. I can't stand another decade of hearing mistakes made in coding that are "computer glitches" (in other words, humans entered data incorrectly.)

    It truly is time to enter the beginning of this century.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I wonder if access is an issue -- would online enrollment advantage those with computers at home to such an extent that those without would be the big losers?

    ReplyDelete
  6. They can't get rid of paper entirely. Many people at our school ((high percentage of free lunch) are computer less at home or computer illiterate. They might have smartphone, but they text instead of using email. But it should be an option!

    ReplyDelete
  7. SFUSD, like any other govt agency, needs the paper to prosecute fraud.

    ReplyDelete
  8. " I found many school districts nationwide offer online enrollment. But not SFUSD..."

    As others have said, fraud's an issue and having an EPC person handle physical copies is a deterrent.

    I saw 3 out of 22 students in my kid's class kicked out last year for address fraud, e.g. people in Daly City or San Mateo using the grandparent's address to enroll. This is especially an issue now with Attendance Area and CTIP being geographically based.

    Most school districts are more geographically spread out than SFUSD, so address fraud is less of an issue.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Also, can we get the f**k off the "bash SFUSD all the time," Donna?

    Here's a hint: If Don K. is telling you to tone your criticism of Supt. Garcia down, you've probably gone too far.

    ReplyDelete
  10. "Yes, online enrollment for everything is now the norm. SF Rec & Park, for example, made a big (and positive)move in the last year or so with online registration for all programming."

    There's a bit more of an incentive to do address fraud for a school placement than for Park & Rec.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I think Donna is trying to point out areas where SFUSD could use improvement rather than bash them. Her criticism is constructive and I don't think there's any need to get mad that she's pointing out the Emperor has no clothes. Her argument that our kids could use more GATE/Honors classes and online enrollment is hardly "bashing." God forbid we have forward progress....

    ReplyDelete
  12. "I think Donna is trying to point out areas where SFUSD could use improvement rather than bash them."

    "Her argument that our kids could use more GATE/Honors classes and online enrollment is hardly "bashing." God forbid we have forward progress...."

    And a moment's reflection would have made her realize that there's a Very Good Reason why you might want registration in person. Instead, we got another research-free screed on how sucky SFUSD is. Yet again.

    Does Palo Alto, have online registration? No. In fact, you have to schedule an appointment.
    Same with San Jose Unified.

    Does Cupertino School District have online enrollment? No.
    Does anyone want to argue that Palo Alto and Cupertino are places where people are slow to adopt new technology?

    [And, guess what, Cupertino and Santa Clare Unified have a lottery to get into your neighborhood school. In one school [Milikin Elementary], less than 10% of non-siblings got in {see www.cupertinoschoolscores.com/News/Kindergarten_Lottery.htm]} I guess the evil influence of Superintendent Garcia reaches all the way down the peninsula, eh?)

    It took me 90 seconds to check whether school districts in the heart of Silicon Valley were doing online registration. Guess what, it's even more of a hassle for some than as SFUSD. At least we don't have to book an appointment, and our lottery gives more choice and is better designed than Cupertino's or Santa Clara's.

    Less than a year ago people were beating up on SFUSD for not doing enough to prevent address fraud. Now they're beating up the SFUSD because I can't enroll using an iPhone. The fact these are contradictory doesn't seem to register.

    The contradiction grates on me, and I'm not even an SFUSD employee.

    The usefulness of this blog and its forum have taken a nose-dive in the past year because of certain commenters on posts and the forums who prefer to ride their hobby horses than exchange information.

    Formerly, the research-free screeds holding SFUSD to standards not expected or met by the privates or other school district came only from commenters. Now they're from those posting articles.

    This ain't a positive development, and is one reason why when I'm giving advice to those in the kindergarten hunt, I'm steering them away from this blog.

    ReplyDelete
  13. 1:53 PM
    Amen to all that. So true - this forum has lost almost all of its original relevancy

    ReplyDelete
  14. Gateway had online enrollment this year.

    ReplyDelete
  15. 1:53 pm
    I just checked out Santa Clara and Cupertino registration policies because the information in your posts is inconsistent with what my friends in those districts told me was their experience. It turns out that in both districts you apply by showing up at your neighborhood school with proof of residency and birth certificates. In Santa Clara you can also apply online if you wish. There are two highly sought after alternative schools in Santa Clara, and there is a lottery for those. But it looks like many people in Cupertino and Santa Clara are happy to access their local schools.

    ReplyDelete
  16. "The usefulness of this blog and its forum have taken a nose-dive in the past year because of certain commenters on posts and the forums who prefer to ride their hobby horses than exchange information."

    So true. Why did Kate let the trolls take over her blog? Such a shame.

    ReplyDelete
  17. 1:53 pm here:

    Thanks for the correction. The SJ Mercury article I read about the lottery in Cupertino and Santa Clara didn't mention that the lottery was for the Open Enrollment process there. My apologies.

    " But it looks like many people in Cupertino and Santa Clara are happy to access their local schools."

    If things are so peachy in Santa Clara, then why are parents at the attendance area for Don Callejon school camping out overnight to register, then?

    http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/education&id=7206276

    Don Callejon has an API of 806, so it's not quite trophy standards.

    ReplyDelete