Starting in December, students and parents will be able to browse schools throughout the districts and compare and contrast their offerings through the school finder tool, which will be launched as …
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Jefferson County Public Schools will make the site available for school browsing starting on Dec. 17.
Come Jan. 22, parents will be able to use the site to enroll children in schools across the district.
The site:' www.enrolljeffco.org/'
Starting in December, students and parents will be able to browse schools throughout the districts and compare and contrast their offerings through the school finder tool, which will be launched as part of the new Enroll Jeffco platform.
This is the first step in rolling out a digital enrollment system in time for the open enrollment period scheduled to start in January.
Last November board members discussed a variety of challenges Jeffco currently faces with regard to multiple application and enrollment processes, the vast majority of which are paper-based. Board members concluded that solutions must be identified and implemented. Enroll Jeffco is that solution.
Currently Jeffco is unable to provide parents a comprehensive way of comparing schools. Schools do not have a common platform that communicates their offerings and no real-time detailed information is available via the web and smartphones. These are the reasons the district is creating the school finder tool within Enroll Jeffco.
“Parents have a high expectation that they want to use their smart phones and find out what schools have,” Shannon Fitzgerald, enrollment consultant for the district explained to the board at the Nov. 7 study session.
A presentation to the board explained that the current paper application process lacks transparency, efficiency and equity and has little to no consistency between schools. Fitzgerald said that many schools are adversely impacted by students enrolling at multiple schools and there is no line-of-sight to why families choose to attend the schools they do.
The new online application system aims to correct this.
How it works
Parents and students would log in to the system and be director to search for a school either by their home address or a school name. Those that enter their address will first be brought to a list of their neighborhood schools. They can then select their neighborhood school for enrollment or choose to explore more options through a guided search, which asks questions about what the parent or student wants.
Users will then be able to compare and contrast options offered as various schools.
“This will be the place that people will go and find out about all the awesome things we have available at Jeffco schools,” said Diana Wilson, executive director of communications for Jeffco school. “This is our opportunity to tell our story.”
Fitzgerald said they are expecting to have two user types — the student returning to their current school and/or confirming plans to attend a neighborhood school; and the student applying to one or more choice schools. Fitzgerald estimates that 10 to 20 percent of users will be applying to a choice school, the vast majority parents applying to pre-school and eight-graders exploring their options.
But Fitzgerald warned the board that the online system will reinforce some rules that haven’t necessarily been followed in the past. The first is that each student may accept only one choice school offer at a given time and that is that offers will expire five days after being extended.
Currently, the enforcement of these rules vary from school to school.
“These are rules that already exist but we will now be able to systematically enforce them,” Fitzgerald said. “These are some challenges that families will face. Especially if it a family that has previously benefiting from taking their time, they are going to feel this.”
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