Make sure to bring some patience when enrolling students at Wichita schools

06/06/2013 6:00 AM

06/06/2013 9:42 AM

The most important thing to take with you to enroll your child in Wichita schools next month?

Patience.

District officials and principals already are warning families that the enrollment process could take much longer than previous years, as the district implements a new computerized student information system.

In the meantime, families are being asked to log on to the current system, Family Access, by Saturday with their old logon and password to confirm their address, phone numbers and other information.

“This is going to be a very painful year for all of us as we’re launching and learning the system,” said Cathy Barbieri, chief information officer for the district.

The new system – Synergy – won’t go live until mid-July, she said, so the district will be unable to offer online enrollment this year.

Parents will be required to visit each of their children’s schools during the four-day enrollment period, July 29-Aug. 1, to get a new access code.

“We’re asking everyone to help us by making sure their information is current. … That will reduce the amount of work they have to do and hopefully help with the waits (in line) later on,” Barbieri said.

The district had to seek out a new information system because the old vendor no longer provides the service, Barbieri said.

The school board voted earlier this year to spend about $1 million on the new Synergy system – a product of California-based Edupoint – and future enhancements. The system’s ParentVUE application will allow parents to access their children’s grades, assignments, calendars and other data online.

During the transition, only the student’s primary information form will be available to complete online, said district spokeswoman Susan Arensman.

Other enrollment forms will be available to download and complete electronically, but parents will have to print those out and deliver them to their child’s school, she said. Computers will be set up at schools to allow parents to complete forms if they don’t have access to a computer at home, she said.

Processing more than 50,000 students in four days likely will mean longer waits during enrollment, Barbieri said, and there may be hiccups as school officials and parents learn the new system.

Families should check the district’s enrollment website, www.enroll.usd259.org, during the summer months for the latest information.

Last year, parents with children returning to Wichita schools were able to complete standard enrollment forms and pay fees online beginning July 3. But many still had to visit schools during enrollment to get class schedules, ID badges and to sign policy forms.

“We’re asking for understanding” during on-site enrollment this year, Barbieri said. “We’ll all be doing our best to make sure things go as smoothly as possible.”

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