Edison, NJ - The Board of Education announced a new online registration system to expedite the student enrollment process and assist with student residency verification.
Through the online system, parents can fill out the online enrollment forms, print and fill out the remaining required documents and make an appointment to complete the enrollment process at the Enrollment Center.
Simultaneously, the District also announced that the Parent Portal will only be shutdown 2-3 days for maintenance and will otherwise remain open during the summer months. Previously, the system opened only a couple weeks ahead of the school year, forcing password resets and the completion of additional paperwork. The shutdown also resulted in students not having access to transcripts and class schedules.
The Board hopes that the new online system will expedite the registration process, a process that in the past has been confusing and time consuming according to Curriculum and Technology committee Chair Shannon Peng. “Our committee and the entire Board really wanted a system to streamline the process. With the available technology, we wanted a simpler, faster process that also helps with student residency verifications,” said Ms. Peng.
Ms. Peng also encouraged parents to register early. Early registration, she said, will help the District allocate classrooms and staff as well as assign bussing.
Ms. Peng credited Richard Benedict, the District’s Manager of Enrollment and Data Systems, and the other members on the Curriculum and Technology Committee, Board members Elizabeth Conway, Dr. Yuna Chen and Beth Moroney, for their efforts on the the new online system.
Once all the required forms are filled, through the online system, an appointment can be made through the online portal. The system will inform parents as to what documents they will need to bring, according to Mr. Benedict.
“When they get here, they are in and out in a few minutes. Everything is already done, it’s in the system, we check them off, immunizations down the line, and they are out the door,” he said.
The documents that parents will need to bring with them are mostly proof of residency and immunization documents. The portal also bifurcates registration based on grade since grades K through 5 have different medical requirements than grades 6 through 12.
The online registration system will allow parents to create a log in and re-visit the registration forms if they are unable to complete the forms in one sitting.
“Online registration has been a long time concern and [Board of Education President] Shi has reminded me of that continuously,” said Superintendent Paul Saxton.
“It also acts as a quick filter. If you don’t live in Edison its going to stop you right there,” said Mr. Benedict. The online system also captures age inappropriate registration he said. The plan is to have an annual verification system, according to Mr. Benedict, which will offer the District another mechanism to verify residency changes.
“This way we will be able to catch somebody who doesn’t live in town or has moved within town, moved any place with respect to another location and if they are not here, remove them from the roll,” he said.
The online portal utilizes a street index and will not allow individuals to register a non-existent address or a nonresident address. “If you put in a wrong address, we already know if that address exists or not in the town,” said Mr. Benedict.
The system will also identify other students living at the address provided on the online application and flag adults serving as the emergency contact for multiple enrollees, providing investigators with data that they can utilize to identify potentially ineligible students. This data will assist District investigators that currently conduct random and unannounced inspections.
“To date, for this current year, we were able to move approximately 50 students who were found not live in Edison,” said Mr. Benedict. On average, the District oversees between 600 and 650 investigations each year based on students not meeting residency requirements.