For families who are new to Collier County Public Schools (CCPS), their free online student registration system may seem like business as usual. However, it was only recently that registration was a much more complicated process, requiring in-person visits to school offices with required documents. Driven by the pandemic and supported by conversations within the Future Ready Collier network, CCPS now offers a fully remote, online registration platform. This beneficial development reflects the value of collective impact, and illustrates how a new perspective can have positive long-term impact.
Development of a New Online System
Before the pandemic changed everyone’s relationship with computers, video meetings, and virtual work, school registration followed an established, in-person process. Nobody would have argued it worked perfectly; lines could be long and wait times could be frustrating, and especially disruptive for working parents with limited flexibility in their scheduling. If a parent arrived with the wrong or incomplete documentation, they would have to return another day. These difficulties contributed to delays in many students’ registrations, sometimes bleeding into the beginning of the school year and resulting in missed school days.
COVID-19, of course, rapidly accelerated not just conversations about, but the urgent need for better solutions to accommodate a newly disrupted world. While CCPS quickly adapted classrooms to be virtual, and created digital curricula, they simultaneously prioritized the development of an online registration option. This system, which is freely available through CCPS’ website, makes it possible for parents to submit all necessary information electronically. They can take photos of hard copy documents with their phones and directly upload them through web forms. CCPS administrators receive the information more efficiently, and can also more easily check to make sure applications are complete, and respond directly if not.
Future Ready Collier Supports as a Community Partner
As a regional partnership uniting diverse voices around the shared goal of improving education in Collier County, Future Ready Collier has been a valuable collaborator to CCPS as they implemented the new registration system. For example, as with any new process, it takes time to share that it is available, and how it works. Members of the Future Ready Collier network received troubling reports, early on, that parents were being approached by people charging them fees to complete their students’ registration applications. With information from CCPS, the partners could communicate to their program participants and audiences that, in fact, registration is totally free, and that help with the application is available through CCPS. Thankfully, as parents have gotten used to this process, that problem has largely subsided.
Be School Ready
Additionally, one of Future Ready Collier’s central goals is to help all kindergarteners enter school ready. This includes on-time registration so they can be in the classroom on the first day of the school year. While on-time kindergarten registration has improved, the ultimate objective is 100% of kindergarteners at school on day one. In this way, and truly across all the grade levels, Future Ready Collier partners can be valuable connectors by welcoming CCPS to community events, and by sharing information about school registrations beginning in the winter, that access for the coming school year opens up February 1st, and continue communication throughout the coming fall in preparation for the beginning of the school year in August. The sooner parents know that registration is open, and have the information and help they need, the sooner their applications can be submitted and finalized.
The introduction of a successful online registration system is an important demonstration of how local leadership from CCPS and regional collaboration through Future Ready Collier can generate meaningful impact. To learn more about Future Ready Collier and how to support the network’s ongoing work in the community, please email email@example.com.