Starting in the 2021 school year, families registering students in District 209 high schools will have the option of doing so online, bypassing the sometimes burdensome walk-in registration process. 

During a regular meeting on Dec. 10, the D209 school board voted unanimously to approve a three-year, roughly $44,000 contract with Registration Gateway to provide the online registration services. 

Board member Amanda Grant said the online process is “a really good way to relieve families from walking in [and having to] bring all their paperwork. Registering online would put us in line with many of our foundation school districts’ systems.”

Anna Friedman, D209’s data analyst, said although families currently engage in some limited online interactions during the registration process, such as paying registration fees, the new system will accommodate many more automated activities.

According to a district memo, the new online system will also increase “the efficiency with which needed documents are gathered, and improves the accuracy of gathered data. 

“Let’s say you needed to make changes to your phone number or add a different emergency number, or things like that; you as a parent will be able to do that during that registration process,” Friedman told board members on Dec. 10. 

“Let’s say you needed to re-prove your residency because you moved within the district. You can [upload] your paperwork and make an appointment with a person to come in and not have to wait in line, so they can [see] your paperwork,” she said. “It just opens up a whole new world for parents to fix and add data.” 

The online system will also feature Spanish language forms and registration kiosks at the high schools for families that don’t have computers at home, district officials explained in the memo. 

Paul Starck-King, the district’s assistant superintendent of finance and operations, said the district could realize cost and time savings with the new online system. 

D209 board votes to hire search firm

The District 209 Board of Education also voted unanimously, during the regular meeting on Jan. 14, to hire a search firm, Ray and Associates, to facilitate the process of finding a new superintendent. 

Outgoing Supt. Jesse Rodriguez announced last month that he was resigning to take the superintendent position at Zion-Benton Township High School District 126. The D126 school board approved a three-year contract for Rodriguez at a meeting on Dec. 17.

According to the firm’s website, Ray and Associates “specializes in educational executive leadership searches. We recruit traditional and non-traditional candidates for public schools, private schools and higher education institutions/organizations.”