Vaniece Crawford had hoped to spend about 20 minutes enrolling her daughter, a junior, at Wichita East High School on Friday morning.
She had to seriously revise her estimate.
“I thought I’d be able to pop in and out, but looking at all of this … ” Crawford said as she shuffled through a stack of multicolored forms.
In the past, Crawford and other parents could fill out and submit the forms online. This year, the district is using a new computer system to manage students’ data.
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Principal Kenneth Thiessen said there’s no way for the the district’s website to communicate with the new system, so the forms have to be filled out by hand. Parents can still access the forms on the Wichita public schools website (www.usd259.org), but they have to fill them out by hand and bring the physical copies when they come to school to enroll next week.
Enrollment starts Monday for Wichita’s public schools, with classes beginning Aug. 14. Some suburban districts will also hold their enrollments next week.
Enrollment hours for Wichita schools are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, and noon to 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday.
East High held a special enrollment session Friday to see how the new system would work.
Lisa Rouleau, parent of two East High students, tried to do the paperwork in advance, but she said not all of the forms were available on the district’s website. She stood in line with for about 35 minutes before school staffers could review her children’s paperwork.
“It’s a big undertaking,” Rouleau said of the enrollment process. “Heaven forbid if we had come on a regular day.”
Thiessen said he had contacted the USD 259 office and that all of the forms should be available online in time for enrollment next week.
“With a school this size, we’ll always have lines,” said Sara Richardson, an assistant principal at East.
“We just hope they’re not too long.”
An Eagle reporter went through the enrollment process to see how long it would take. After 25 minutes spent filling out forms and 35 minutes spent waiting to turn them in, the reporter made it through the rest of the enrollment process relatively quickly. It took 30 minutes to visit the nurse and to receive a locker assignment, parking permit, class schedule and student ID card. Total time: one hour and 33 minutes.
Assistant Principal Ashok Surender wasn’t happy with that result.
“Way too long,” he said.