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More organization for mass registration

Lines were moving, the building temperature was comfortable and families were able to get their students registration to-do list checked off during the mass registration day for Austin Public Schools.

All pre-K through 12 students will dot the i's and cross the t's Wednesday and today at Austin High School, which begins Sept. 6.

This is the second year the district has held its mass registration day.

One of the benefits is being able to get everything taken care of for all students in one place.

"It's nice," said Sue VanPelt, parent of two AHS students. "Just one stop and you're done. I think it works out great."


Students and families were able to turn in forms, pay fees, get school pictures taken, schedule conferences and fill lunch accounts. Each level of school had its own gym area where students could accomplish all of their tasks.

It was also the day elementary school kids found out who their teacher would be for the year. Also in the elementary gym were tables for education-related programs such as the Community Learning Center, the Adult Learning Program and Kids Korner.

"It's kind of a nice little area to get connected with parents," said Danielle Borgerson-Nesvold, who sat at the Community Against Bullying group table.

For Ellis Middle School, it was organized by grade level with tables for forms, fees and conference sign-up. That way, there's consistency for parents, said Jessica Cabeen, Ellis assistant principal. She said the process was organized with "little to no wait."

Only a few minor organizational tweaks were made to the registration day for this year. A checklist for parents was included with the mailings of required enrollment forms parents should have received at the end of July. The district also removed some unnecessary forms in order to make the process more efficient, said Neveln Elementary principal Dewey Schara.

Parents seemed to love the checklist idea, and Schara said he heard positive feedback about the day.

Quite possibly the biggest difference from last year to this year however, was the weather.

"A million times better," Schara said.


Temperatures rested in the 70s Wednesday. Compare that to this time last year, when  temps were in the upper 90s and the school's air conditioning that wasn't able to keep up the pace.

Another problem with trying to register more than 4,000 students is all the waiting in line. That's why the district split the two days into four sections of time, so students could register during their allotted time slot based on the first letter of their last name.

The plan seemed to work. Around the noon hour Wednesday, the first line in the gym lobby when the first set of forms were turned in sometimes stretched outside the school doors. But the line almost constantly moving.

Connie Murphy has two children, one at Southgate Elementary and one at the high school. She said the lines were "way out the door" last year.

"I think it's better than last year," Murphy said. "They must have things a little more organized."

In the gym designated for elementary school registration, tables at each of the four schools had maybe a couple of families waiting at the midway point of the day, and that was as busy as it had been, Schara said.

"It's been pretty smooth and steady," Schara said.

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