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Don't Complain About Long Registration Waits

Original post made by PTA Member, Harvest Park Middle School, on Aug 14, 2010

I know that HPMS is not the only school that is having problems getting parents to volunteer to help with PTA committees and registration. It is the parent volunteers in Pleasanton that help make our schools so great. And it is the parent volunteers and the parent-teacher groups which step in to fill the personnel and financial voids left by these difficult economic times. Without parent volunteers to fill board positions and volunteer at events like walk-thru registration services to parents, students and teachers suffer. So please, look at your schedule and see if you can give an hour this week to help at your child's school during registration. The more volunteers, the less you will be waiting in line to register your child.

Comments (23)

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Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 14, 2010 at 5:04 pm

Ah yes, the same parents who tried to shove a parcel tax down our throats are now too busy being botoxed to volunteer for their own kids. Hope they like the wait.

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Posted by School volunteer
a resident of Mohr Park
on Aug 15, 2010 at 11:25 am

It is the same people who worked hard to get a parcel tax passed, who are now volunteering to help with registration and other school events. They have been working for at least the past month to get everything ready for next week!!! Thank you to them for all their work.

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Posted by HP Mother
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 16, 2010 at 8:52 am

I volunteer often at the school, but I'm not sure I really understand the need for "walk-through" registration at all. It's not really "registration" as much as a PTA membership and fundraising opportunity. Yet, we have to go in order to get the class schedule. We moved from another district a few years ago where all paperwork was submitted to the school, PE clothes were purchased in school from the PE teacher, etc. I don't see alot of value in this walk-through process.

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Posted by Agree with "HP Mother"
a resident of Avila
on Aug 16, 2010 at 9:12 am

What is the purpose of the "walk-through" other than fundraising and wasting everyone's time? All those forms can be filled out and submitted online and residency verifications can be done in the office. It's time to evolve from these inefficient processes.

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Posted by Julia
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 16, 2010 at 9:45 am

Folks...just another example of controlling the naive masses. Stop these power crazy people from controlling our lives...take a stand.

Thanks for Listening, Julia from Alamo

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Posted by pleasantonian
a resident of Del Prado
on Aug 16, 2010 at 10:53 am

Until another more efficient system is put into place, I am thankful there are parents who are willing to volunteer to help speed up the process for everyone. Does anyone have suggestions to make registration more efficient that doesn't take up more staff or volunteer time?

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Posted by momof2
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 16, 2010 at 11:18 am

Walk through registeration IS a money grab. I am taking a stand this year. The PTA will get my membership fee (so I can vote on how the money is spent) and that is it. I refuse to be a "friend of the libarary/computer lab/sports teams etc. It is time PUSD and all other school boards start living within their means. Even if that means reduced or no "extras"

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Posted by reasonable
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 16, 2010 at 11:43 am

AS one of the parents who volunteered for registration in the past (both here and at prior schools), I would be there again this year except that due to the recession I am working longer hours and simply cannot take the time off work to volunteer. It is tough enough to find a time to actually do the registration!

I suspect I'm not the only one who has this conflict. Couldn't this be done online or by mail (or even just dropped off in a box at the front office)? Student ID photos could be taken the first day of school. Fundraising could happen by mail, at back to school night, or at evening events (I'm not against fundraising). Classroom assignments could be emailed out once all forms are received. I would even volunteer to help with registration in the evenings !!!!

I would just love to see some of the school stuff moved outside of work hours. I do wish I could be a stay at home mom and volunteer at all this stuff (I was, once, and enjoyed it!) but just not an option right now.

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Posted by new to the district
a resident of Del Prado
on Aug 16, 2010 at 12:43 pm

Why must we bring proof of residency if we were already required to do so at kindergarten roundup?

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Posted by lyndalu
a resident of Amador Estates
on Aug 16, 2010 at 1:36 pm

Well I don't volunteer at the registration (becasue I work full time+) and I AM going to keep complaining about the lines because there's no point to "walk-thru" registration. There could definitely be a more efficient way to handle registration like having the kids bring all the forms/money/proof-of-residency with them on the 1st day of school or we could mail the stuff in to the school before it starts, etc. When I was a kid we never had to go through this horrendous process of walk-thru registration. It's a waste of time for so many people.

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Posted by Check the schedule
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Aug 16, 2010 at 2:20 pm

And remember that if you are one of those people who doesn't live in Pleasanton but takes advantage of our school systems, you'll want to be sure your friend is working the table when you go through registration. That way, only one proof of residency is required or none at all!!!

Yes, all you Fremont folks, people that sublet the Stoneridge apartments in order to have the 94588 zip code on a few bills....we know about you! There's just nothing we can do about you right now because the district turns a blind eye to the FRAUD happening in our district.

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Posted by PUSD Parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 16, 2010 at 2:39 pm

I believe the district is finally evolving.. slowly atleast...when I moved here 12 years ago I wondered why these packets were mailed to every home.. the cost of stamps per household was about $1.30 x how many kids per househoul x what 5 thousand kids = $6,500...the cost of paper and envelopes for the paper we normally toss since it was all about info that could have been posted on the school website. Well they finally got parents to come to the schools and pick up the packets so savings they finally have parents print the forms out from the website...what a smart thought...(would be easier if they just had one tab where you can print out all mandatory forms) but we are getting there.

Now--- if we can just register on-line where we submit our forms along with PDF versions of our utility bills and pay fees online then we are golden...we will definitely get there some time soon.

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Posted by ex-volunteer
a resident of Birdland
on Aug 16, 2010 at 7:14 pm

I've helped at registration in the past - this means taking a vacation day from work and then working extra hours to catch up. I agree with the posters - it is a WASTE!

PUSD is not organized!!!! That's why we have walk-through registration.

This whole process was new to me. Is it a California thing? We didn't have any of this stuff when I was back East. Also I thought I could fill out all the paperwork, sign a check written out to the school and my kid could write in the amount - no, HPMS added paperwork after sending out the "whole packet" - so did AVHS several years.

I never understood this "walk-through" registration. 1) Not everyone has computers / email. So have 2 methods - come to the office and pick up the packet (packets should be available on the last day of school, during summer school and at the district office) or go on-line and fill them out. 2) Email back all the school stuff - one Emergency card should suffice - have electronic versions go to each teacher and school based on the student ids you give. OK - new people need to enroll their child(ren) to get the ID. For those with paper - I guess, multiple copies are going to be needed. It seems that the district really doesn't use computers - certainly they don't check the spelling of names (wrong the first year; correct each year afterwards - finally in high school the names were spelled in full correctly but we had been trying for First Initial - Middle Name - Surname for 10 years.)

OK - payments - for the past 2 years at AVHS it was one sheet of paper with all the fees and then pay at the end (the worst walk-in was 6 years ago at AVHS - we started in elementary school with 2). Have the same thing - mail in the checks (now PUSD doesn't need to work computerized payments (secure accounts cost money). All money due by the end of summer school. Schedules are mailed to the homes. Anyone missing the deadline needs to "walk-through" after those mailed schedules have a chance to be changed. This is the carrot to get the paperwork and fees in on time. On the first day of school, those purchasing PE clothes, t-shirts, etc. pick them up at homeroom (first class of the day).

Good luck parents! Also people working in Pleasanton can have their children attend school here although they live elsewhere. This is CA law for elementary - not sure when the cut off is. These Livermore and Fremont kids stay in the school they started making a new comer go to a different school - not their neighborhood school.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Lydiksen Elementary School
on Aug 16, 2010 at 8:06 pm

Dear "reasonable",
You are very reasonable! The current registration process is in need of an overhaul. There has to be a better way to do this, either online or by mail. Volunteers could still be used to process the information. Long lines are a waist of time.

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Posted by Ira
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 16, 2010 at 10:23 pm

One year we were away during walk-through registration. I called the office, and they gave me a date a few days before school began to come register. I went in the office, was given papers and was registered in ten minutes. I was surprised. I actually thought the hour and a half walk-through registration nightmare was a necessary evil. We have now been away every year during walk-through registration.

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Posted by Helga
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 17, 2010 at 10:11 am

I got a card in the mail that says yo bring the emergency card, which can be picked up in the Amador main office, to registration. The card can be picked up only through 8/9-8/13. For questions, call..blah, blah, blah. We were out of town on those dates, and this morning the office is closed and no one answers the phone. Suggestions?

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Posted by Budget Cuts
a resident of Canyon Creek
on Aug 17, 2010 at 12:04 pm

Well, if you want registration to change be a part of the solution. The school district cannot afford to pay our IT department overtime to convert this process online. This is what budget cuts do. Just wait until you try to get your child's schedule change-it is NOT going to happen. Classes are too impacted and schools are already going over.

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Posted by Pay the piper
a resident of Del Prado
on Aug 17, 2010 at 12:59 pm

If you voted liberal or democrat the next time you look in the mirror you have no one to blame but yourself for these long lines and lack of money..........suckers!!!!

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Posted by School Volunteer
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Aug 17, 2010 at 3:15 pm

I have volunteered at walk through registration for the past 6 years in some capacity at the elementary, middle and high school level. As someone that works in high tech, I always try to see how a process can be most efficient, and registrations could use an overhaul.

When you come to WTR, the first thing that you see is the long line. This is the main bottleneck of the entire process and it is there primarily due to a lack of personnel. Obviously, the more people checking forms, including proof of residency, the quick the line will move. However, I believe only school staff can man this station due to privacy concerns. The other issue at this point is the fact that people do not bring the right forms, so a few people are using the time of someone longer than expected.

Once you pass that point, the rest of the process is fairly straightforward and shouldn't take too long. If you are inclined to do so, sign up for volunteering, buy spirit wear, donate to the PTA, etc. You may still have to buy PE clothes.

I was part of a process that started the first online data collection at a Pleasanton school site. There were some hiccups but feedback was very positive. The only drawback was that PTA donations were down since we asked for an amount online instead of in person.

My advice for all registrations would be to add more personnel to check proof of residence and to collect all other information online starting in the summer. Perhaps collect donations via PayPal. Then all you need is your receipt print out to collect organizers/PE clothes, etc.

This is a significant leap for schools/PTAs, but it is time we all made the move to the 21st century.

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Posted by Kathleen
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Aug 17, 2010 at 3:57 pm

I am happy to report that the lines at Amador moved smoothly with minimal delays. We shook the incoming principal's hand, the volunteers were cheerful and we were out of there in under 35 minutes, a new record.

Pay the piper, you seem very content to just sit back and throw rocks at your fellow citizens. Your remarks were off-target, bitter and irrelevant, as our positive experience today demonstrated.

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Posted by Beale
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 17, 2010 at 6:53 pm

I found it interesting that while standing in the registration line at the school, I walked under a school sign that stated I was at a "green school", a "green school" I say, as I and hundreds of other parents were being required to drive from other locations and bring in our computer printed school forms and computer printed (yes PG&E, ATT, etc. pdfs are available and are being used) proof of residency forms. Now multiple that scenario by the number of schools in the district.

Thousands of people just killed trees, used up gas, and polluted the air unnecessarily to get to the schools where the lights had to be turned on and the industrial AC units were blasting and doors were wide open to keep things moving. Doesn’t sound too “green” does it?

..or we could have done it all online with accounts, passwords, scanners, attachments etc. from wherever we were sitting before that, just like most anything else; leaving very few people who would need to go to the school.

If this is all just a ruse to raise donations funds from a captive audience, add that button to the websites too! The people who want to donate/volunteer will continue to do so. You might actually get more donations, as it is easy to enter a check mark or click a yes button. You can even add the option of recurring monthly deductions from debit/credit cards.

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Posted by Parent
a resident of Golden Eagle
on Aug 18, 2010 at 7:20 am

After paying registration fees for 2 kids a total of $700 bucks after all was said and done I don't think registration is the best time to ask parents for extra donations.. they should do this at other events...all you probably get is a sorry from me everytime you ask...I dont have and extra $20 bucks to spare after paying $700.

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Posted by Lori
a resident of Parkside
on Aug 18, 2010 at 10:23 am

The Walk-thru process began many years ago as a way to collect all the necessary paperwork, have student photos taken, give exposure to the clubs and parent groups, etc. The thought was that it would be a one stop, take care of business, get information out and have parents write (hopefully) one check. It is a BIG time saver for elementary teachers and middle/high school clerks who would otherwise need to spend extra time trying to collect the various forms and remind students to bring in their picture money, etc. Although it would be great if all parents and students were responsible in returning forms and remembering every date, that is not the reality.

Even though I worked outside the home, I also volunteered at many walk-thru registrations at Foothill and it was alot of fun seeing the students and parents. It even provided an opportunity to see what was going on at the school and to get to know the administrators.

There are many great ideas mentioned above to improve the system. Don't be afraid to get involved and be part of the solution.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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