Ottumwa High School

OTTUMWA — Just two days into the Ottumwa School Districts e-registration window, nearly 15 percent of families had completed registration for the 2019-20 school year.

Jolie Williams, data specialist for the district, said this is the fourth year they have utilized digital registration via PowerSchool. Registration for the upcoming year kicked opened at 7 a.m. Monday.

“We started the 2016-17 school year,” she said. “We’ve improved the process every year and added to the process.”

One thing that was added for the 2019-20 registration process is a transportation tab. Williams said at that point of the process, parents can select their student’s bus route, and then times for pickup and drop-off, once determined, will be sent to the parents.

“We collect a lot of information with online registration, and that’s one piece that’s been added,” Williams said. “There’s an ease. If a parent moves during the school year that requires a change in transportation, they can do that through PowerSchool.”

But there’s so much more parents can do with it. Williams said parent contact information, permissions (such as for photos), emergency contacts and health information are all collected through the process and sent to the children’s schools.

Williams said parents seem to be warming up to the process over the years. “Our participation has really increased over these four years. Each year, we have fewer and fewer families that don’t participate in it. I think people are becoming more comfortable with the process.”

It’s a tool that can be used at a parent’s leisure, she said. “Information on your children is readily available at your fingertips. It’s open all year long so parents can go in and update any changes. They can make the updates they want for their students any time they want.”

Registration, however, has a limited window. “We’d like to have registration for returning students wrapped up Aug. 9,” Williams said. Then Aug. 12-13, staff will be in the buildings to register students new to the district.

While the e-registration process is a self-serve site, there are ways parents can get assistance from the district. A help email account, pseregistration@ottumwaschools.com, has been set up, and those sending inquiries should get a response within 24 hours, Williams said.

In addition, staff and computers will be available at the high school on two dates for those needing assistance or who lack computer and/or internet access. Those events are set for 4-7:30 p.m. Aug. 8 and 10 a.m to 2 p.m. Aug. 9 in the Ottumwa High School Cafeteria.

“We’re here to help them,” Williams said. “Use the account if you need to. It’s available 24/7.”

— Features Editor Tracy Goldizen can be reached via email at tgoldizen@ottumwacourier.com or followed on Twitter @CourierTracy.

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Tracy Goldizen is the Courier's features and magazine editor, leading production of the award-winning "Ottumwa Life" and the Courier's other magazine offerings. She began work with the Courier on the copy desk.