Most Kanawha County public schools start classes Monday, and the county school system is asking parents to submit the annually required “first-day packet” forms by Aug. 19.
A new online system is available this year to fill out the forms, school officials said.
Zach Hanshaw, the school system’s software development coordinator, said an online system for completing the forms debuted last school year, after it wasn’t ready in time for the 2017-18 school year.
Hanshaw said the online option is continuing this year, but with “a completely new user experience.”
Instead of asking parents to fill out one packet of perhaps 20-30 pages online, the new system separates the forms and tracks which ones have been completed, he said. He said it also has more tools for school administrators.
If parents need to update something, like a phone number, later on in the school year, the system will automatically notify the school, he said.
He said the system allows parents to complete online every form the county requires, including things like emergency contact info and school medication information, and it will automatically input information parents enter this year into forms in future years, saving them time.
Parents can still fill out paper forms sent home with their kids instead of using the online portal, and they may still have to do so for some documents specific to certain schools, Hanshaw said.
But, he said, “the goal is to, hopefully, push more and more parents toward the online portion so we can start eliminating paper.”
Parents will have to fill out separate forms for each child online, he said.
Board members Ric Cavender and Ryan White pushed for the online option.
Hanshaw said he had hoped it would be ready for the 2017-18 school year, but the school system announced back then that there was “a design flaw in a reporting feature” that couldn’t be fixed before that school year began.
The school system said it wasn’t a security issue.
You can watch a video on how to use the online option on the school system’s Facebook page, facebook.com/KCSWV.