Earlier this month, the Scribbles Software team sent our partners in education a short survey to learn more about 2022 trends, 2023 predictions, and advice for other districts regarding PreK-12 records management and enrollment processes.
We’re pleased to report that we had over 200 district staff participants! What’s more, clients anywhere from enrollment coordinators to district superintendents, from the west coast to the east coast, at small schools and large ones, seemed to have similar responses to all of our questions! There were a few overarching themes that came from these submissions, and we thought we’d share them for 2023 records management and enrollment inspiration.
1. Going Digital
Digital processes for schools and districts are on the rise like never before. With COVID-19 circumstances expediting this transition, district staff, students and families are quickly realizing the convenience, security, and equity that come with electronic alternatives. On any given day, districts are throwing out the paper in favor of sophisticated technology that is easier, faster, and more secure. Staff participants in our survey noted that going digital allowed their schools and districts to align with other districts, post-secondary institutions, and 3rd-party verification companies.
“[In 2022,] there were a lot more businesses, corporations, and schools moving to a total technological process — and moving away from those processes that required in-person interactions.”
- Shanika Wells, Clayton County Public Schools
“In 2023, we will continue to invest in technological advances and move away from archaic habits such as fax, email, and mailing hard copies.”
- Johnny Gonzalez, Sanger USD
“I think things will and should go paperless as much as possible. I’m predicting this year will provide more opportunities for this.”
- Beverly Trantham, Gaston County Schools
2. Increased & Digital Enrollment
Like going digital, enrollment was impacted by the circumstances of COVID-19 and the stay-at-home orders that took place during that time. However, a trend that was mentioned by many respondents was the continuing increase in enrollment in 2022 and 2023. Many participants also noted that their school districts turned to online solutions for streamlined and efficient enrollment processes. They predicted that others would do the same. Many mentioned that their districts are using ESSER funds to aid online student enrollment.
“[In 2022,] we experienced an increase in enrollment at the beginning of the school year as well as near January.”
- Samantha Ross, LA Unified School District
“I predict a continued increase in electronic records management and continued replenishment/increase in student enrollment after the pandemic.”
- Cheryl Tibbs, Prince William County Public Schools
“[In 2022,] we moved from a paper registration process to a digital one which has made enrolling students much easier and the data to be more accurate.”
- Logan Staheli, Iron County School District
“Some advice for other districts in 2023 would be to begin electronically archiving records sooner rather than later and establish some sort of digital enrollment system.”
- Pam Stewart, Loudon County Public Schools
3. Increased Transcript Requests & Digital Transcripts
The return to “normalcy” after the COVID-19 pandemic was a response theme in itself, and it didn’t stop at increased PreK-12 enrollment. In addition to more students returning to primary and secondary classrooms, they are also starting to apply to postsecondary schools. Therefore, the demand for pulling and sending student and alumni transcripts has significantly increased for K-12 processors. In response to this trend, district staff stated that school systems would continue to forgo paper and transition to electronic transcripts.
“In 2022, there was a larger volume of requests needed, most [had] a very short timeline, a most [were] wanted electronically.”
- Christopher McFarland, Escambia Public Schools
“In 2023, there will be a continuing need to send electronic transcripts to colleges/universities, other school districts, and alumni.”
- Pam Stewart, Loudon County Public Schools
“I predict there will be an increase in [records] requests”
- Martha Jones, Guillford County Schools
4. Securing Student Data
The 2021-2022 school year was tough for districts navigating the threat of cyberattacks, and forming safeguards to protect student, staff, and district data is now at the forefront of school system priorities. Although the idea of transitioning to electronic records may seem foreign and daunting to some, staff are finding that this method, when done correctly, actually elevates data security and loss prevention.
“The biggest trend I noticed was how easy and efficient it is to have an electronic system that actually allows you to do everything from one program. Our 19 schools have become more organized, and we are saving so much more paper (trees) because we are able to upload straight from our records program instead of printing, then scanning, then emailing them out. It helps with security for the person requesting the records.”
- Betty Castillo, York County School Division
“In 2023, there will be more of an attempt to go paperless…The fact that [our electronic records processes] are FERPA compliant means we can assure the requesting school that confidential records will be sent securely.”
- Elizabeth Beaty, Paulding County School District
“My advice would be to always be as organized as possible and to re-enforce security measures when it comes to student records and data.”
- Daniel Calise, Newport Mesa USD
In conclusion, there are several trends happening among PreK-12 school districts and charter schools. Larger quantities of enrollment applications or records requests, increased efficiency, and/or higher security are at the top for many districts. It is no secret that it takes a village when it comes to transitioning from paper to digital records, but it is also apparent to many district leaders that the transformation is worth the “risks.” There is no time like the present to make a change for the better. Let’s jump into the new year with goals that will positively impact the way your district staff and students perform.
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