New registration system a good first step

As anybody aspiring to grace the halls of Hamilton High School next year ought to know, school administrators unveiled a new online registration system in an enthralling live demonstration last Friday. And as most people have probably figured out by now, it was not the most breathtaking thing to ever happen. In fact, the demo left many wondering just why they had bothered in the first place, myself included.

At face value, the idea behind this new system seems to be that you log in to the the PowerSchool student management program (if you can remember your username/password combo), fill some text boxes with numbers and letters that mean nothing to the average human, and proceed to walk on down to the counseling office to hand administration a sheet of paper that tells the counselors the exact same thing. Seems redundant, right?

What you may not know is that behind the scenes, the recently publicized system has been in place for a few years, making a welcome improvement over ye olde systeme.

“We used to do everything by hand,” recalls principal Doug Braschler, telling of days of yore spent whiteboarding everything out. Using PowerSchool, the process has become “more efficient than it’ll ever have been.”

So while we’ve filled out paperwork in previous years, it’s been the job of our counselors to input all of the data themselves, aiding students all the while. This new approach aims not to do away entirely with counselors, but to lighten their load. And when you consider that Hamilton High houses about 800 students who need to fill 15 class periods each, any little bit helps. To quote Braschler, “You do the math.”

Of course, I could be happier. I like the idea of distributing the work load, but it seems that in the future the safety net of meeting counselors to confirm schedule choices could be done away with to improve efficiency. And on the technical side of things, those who are savvy know that there are more user-friendly ways to obtain the info that PowerSchool needs than typing cryptic codes in text boxes, like check boxes or drop-down lists. And perhaps that pesky timeout error could be done away with.

But minor grievances aside, the system has worked well for our counselors in the past, and putting it online should be a great step toward making course registration run more smoothly. So please, on the behalf of administration and students alike, consider using the thing.

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