Jeffco Schools prepping to launch new enrollment system

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By Deborah Swearingen

In mid-December, Jeffco Public Schools is set to launch EnrollJeffco, a new system meant to provide ease and equity in the enrollment process.

The new program is two-fold and will include a school finder tool and a common application and enrollment system. The school finder will be available Dec. 17.

EnrollJeffco, which will be used for parents to sign up for a neighborhood school, apply to a different school or indicate a decision to return to the same school, will be open from Jan. 22 to Feb. 8.

The change stems largely from the school board’s request to simplify the system. However, Jeffco personnel also believe EnrollJeffco will benefit parents, who frequently have high expectations about access to information, and schools that are often left in the dark about the number of legitimate enrollees. It is intended to create consistency and to help provide information about why students choose a particular school.

“Our current system, as you all know, really lacks efficiency, equity and a lot of transparency,” said enrollment consultant Shannon Fitzgerald in a Nov. 7 study session.

Before the change, for example, a student could apply and commit to attending multiple schools.

“And then in August, many of these schools are surprised that the kids aren’t showing up,” Fitzgerald said. “It becomes sort of a deficit on their roster, which obviously has budget implications.”

Through the school finder tool, families can search in a variety of ways. They can look up their neighborhood schools, which guarantee acceptance for students, or they can browse schools based on the programs offered. There will be a tool for comparing and contrasting district schools as well as a guided search that helps people through the selection process by asking intuitive questions regarding preference and the like.

Each school will have its own profile with photos and basic information, including its location, programs and a paragraph explaining its culture.

Communications director Diana Wilson envisions a future in which people use EnrollJeffco to learn about the district instead of hearing about schools through online reviews or by word-of-mouth.

“This is our opportunity to tell our story,” she said.

“You can’t name a program that you might be interested in that our schools don’t offer in some way, shape or form — and probably pretty close to you,” Wilson added. “But we don’t have a way of telling people that right now. We soon will.”

Upon its official launch, all students — new and current — will use EnrollJeffco to apply. According to the website, students who plan to attend a neighborhood school or return to their current school will receive immediate confirmation of enrollment. Those who applied for choice enrollment or a Jeffco preschool program will be notified of acceptance or wait-list placement in mid-February.