As we are in the last days before our Kindergarten registration week opens, we have made one small change to our on-line system. As explained in our first video tutorial, part of the registration process involves having a parent or guardian enter a valid email address and then receive a confirmation code at that address. This code is then entered into the system and the parent or guardian can continue on with the registration. This process is described starting at 0:49 in our introductory tutorial. The code can be reused for any additional registrations that are being submitted from the same email address. It doesn’t expire unless a new code is requested for that email address (for example, when the code is lost or forgotten).
In order to speed up the process of registration, we’ve modified the holding page for our registration system (this is the page that will be displayed until Monday, January 26th at 8:00 AM). We’ve now added a box where parents and guardians can enter the email address they intend to use for registration on Monday morning. We encourage parents to visit the pre-registration page and get their email address confirmed in advance to help the process of registration go more smoothly next week.
The pre-registration email confirmation box
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We have just uploaded another video for parents using our on-line system. This time, we’ve focused on how to use our software in order to register for French Immersion or Nature Kindergarten. Near the end, we’ve also included a short segment on how to use an override code (obtainable from schools) in order to register for these programs using our software. Please note that override codes are only valid for families registering from addresses that are not held in our database. This can be caused by a family residing in a newly-constructed building, or if they are coming to us from outside of the district.
We’ve recently received a question on our Facebook page about Strong Start students and their registration for Kindergarten in our school district. The specific question was whether current Strong Start students needed to follow the same registration procedures. The answer is ‘yes’. Strong Start students must register following the same procedures as all other new Kindergarten students. As with other students, they also have the same requirement to provide their proof of age and residency within 14 days of submitting their electronic registration.
In a previous posting, we showed parents and guardians how to validate their address prior to registration. This is an important step in making sure that on-line registration goes smoothly, and is especially important for families who live in very new residences, or aren’t sure if they reside within our district’s boundaries.
We’ve uploaded a quick video to show how an override code can be used within our on-line system in order to continue with registration, even with an address that isn’t recognized by the system.
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The Sooke School District experiences a year-to-year growth in student population. This is due, in part, to new construction that happens across the district. Because of this, it is possible that for a new development, a family’s home address isn’t yet visible to our School Locator system. This database is the one upon which we rely for validating all of our registration addresses, regardless of how we receive them.
Since it is possible that families in new developments will run into this situation, we’ve modified our on-line registration system somewhat. We’ve created a page to make it easy for parents and guardians to check and see if their addresses are in our system. If not, our page provides an explanation on how a special code can be given to a registering family so that they can continue with the process. These codes are generated by the school and can be made available in advance of 8:00 AM on Monday, January 26th. These codes can also be used in order for families who live outside of our district, but choose to come to a Sooke school, to register on-line as well.
For full details on how this system works, please check out our latest video.
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Our Facebook page has been very active over the past few days. Thanks to everyone who is following the latest news there, particularly around registrations for Kindergarten. Earlier today, someone asked whether it was possible to sign up for both the Nature Kindergarten and French Immersion at the same time.
Before we brought in on-line registration, a Kindergarten student would only have one active registration application at any one time. We continue with this practice with the implementation of our on-line registration. This helps the school district to accurately gage the enrolment levels in all schools, and plan for September 2015. If one student could hold up to three spots at a time on different lists, that would make it difficult to plan. It could also create a situation where a family could be turned away from a school because of one student holding multiple registrations in different schools. The following example explains how this works for parents who wish to get their children into their second choice of program.
For this example, we assume that a student is requesting Nature Kindergarten. However, the program fills and they don’t get a space. The registration is then sent back to that student’s neighbourhood school for their address. The time-stamp is still the same as the one used for the Nature Kindergarten application. The family then decides to enrol the student in French Immersion. To do this, the family contacts the neighbourhood school and lets them know about the decision to go to French Immersion. The neighbourhood school will then make a notation in the on-line system, and the student’s information will be instantly visible to the requested French Immersion school, including their original registration time-stamp.
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We’ve received a question on our Facebook page regarding the on-line registration system, and signing up for the French Immersion program. We have revised our Parent FAQ to include this information, but are also posting the update here for completeness.
When a student’s address is entered, their home school is displayed in the system. Once the home school is identified, parents have the option of selecting the French Immersion program. By default, the system will initially display the nearest French Immersion school. However, that name will be in a pop-up menu. If a parent wishes a different school, they can click on the menu and choose the name of a different French Immersion school. Once the registration is complete, the information will be sent to the requested French Immersion school. This represents our existing practice with French Immersion where parents can choose to register their Kindergarten-aged child at any of our district schools where the program is offered.
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Yesterday evening, we received a second question from a parent via our Facebook page. The specific question was about whether they would have better chance of getting into the Nature Kindergarten program if they registered on-line or in-person. While the question was specific to our Nature Kindergarten, the answer applied to on-line registration for schools in general. Therefore, we thought it best to reply to the question as a blog posting.
The district is implementing on-line registration for a number of reasons, but not the least of which is to eliminate the need for parents to line up to register for any Kindergarten program (whether it’s the regular program, Nature Kindergarten, or French Immersion). What we expect is that a parent who registers on-line as close to 8:00 as possible (the earliest time a registration can be taken) on January 26th will get a time-stamp that is earlier than someone who registers in-person. The reason is that the time-stamp for in-person registrations is created the moment the secretary opens the system to enter the information. If the secretary is faced with a number of in-person registrations, the delay will be greater for people who are ‘further back’ in the line. It’s difficult for us to say how long the delay will be, as this is our first year for running the on-line system.
Yesterday evening, we received a parent question via our Facebook page. Rather than respond there, we’ve posted the reply here as we thought others might have the same question. Specifically, we were asked the following: If a student makes a request using our on-line system for Nature Kindergarten, but doesn’t get a spot in the program, do they keep their time-stamp when their registration is sent back to their neighbourhood school? The short answer is ‘yes’, with the following additional considerations.
It is important to note that the time-stamp is not the ONLY determination of whether a student gets a spot in a school. Generally speaking, children with siblings already in the school will take precedence over families who are registering their first child in a school. The time-stamp is also more relevant in a school where there is traditionally high demand. The schools that fall into this category are Happy Valley, Lakewood, and Poirier.
It is only when all things are equal (as in two first-time families, or two families with children already in the school) that the time-stamp truly comes into play. In the case of a ‘tie’ for the last remaining spot in a school, the space is usually allocated to the student who registers earliest.
We recently received a question on our Facebook page on the location of French Immersion schools. To help parents determine the nearest French Immersion School to their residence, we’ve put a list of the schools (by location) on our site here. We hope you find this helpful and thank you for following our blog!