PICKENS COUNTY — With just over two weeks of summer vacation left, the School District of Pickens County is in full swing getting everything squared away for the upcoming year.
And so far? They’re ahead of the curve.
The district’s new online registration program was met with trepidation by some parents unfamiliar with the ever more digital way of doing things in 21st century but according to SDPC Information Specialist John Eby, the system has been a success.
“At this point we are light years ahead of where we were in previous years when it comes to registration,” said Eby. “You have to remember, this is only our first year doing this — and we’re going to get better — but at this point more than half of our (student body) has completed the online registry.”
In previous years, registration was done by hand, typically at the school’s orientation day, said Eby. All of that paperwork was then manually entered into the district’s computers by a team of data entry clerks.
“By doing this online not only is it faster, but we’re freeing up those people who would have been stuck entering all of that paperwork to be more accessible and available to parents who do need help,” he said. “Now they’re able to help more parents who may be sending their kids to school for the first time, parents struggling with language barriers — this really has just been much more effective all the way around.”
Eby said that as of Tuesday morning, 9,222 students had completed the online registration.
“There’s still about 7,000 left to go,” he said. “But remember, we’re still two weeks out. This is great.”
Because the program is in it’s first year, Eby said this year will likely be the “measuring stick” to which future years are compared.
“There’s been no major technological problems with the online registration, and for the most part, parents seem to be pretty comfortable using it,” he said. “But I don’t think that means that we’re just done with it — we’ll make adjustments as the need and the technology arises.”
Parents who have already signed their kids up for the 2018 year may have noticed a little consent box that needs to be checked. That box, said Eby, is for their children to view the Aug. 21 solar eclipse.
“Out of the over 9,000 kids already registered, we have maybe a 100 that opted out of the eclipse viewing and we completely respect the wishes of those parents,” he said. “Those kids will be inside with activities. The ones who have permission will all be provided with solar glasses and the different classes and schools have different things planned.”
Elementary, middle and high school buses taking the kids home from school that day will be on a 30 minute delay and car riders will be determined as per each school principal, Eby said.
“The one thing we’re going to be strict about is the early dismissal that day (Aug. 21),” he said. “Parents can sign their kids out early to watch the eclipse with them — but they must be signed out no later than 1:30.”
For more information on online registration visit the district’s website at www.pickensk12.sc.us.
Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.