HCS debuts online school registration, new alert system - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

HCS debuts online school registration, new alert system

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) A pre-school ritual that has parents bracing for mounds of paperwork will soon be no more in Horry County.

This year, Horry County Schools is testing a new online registration system that will let parents register their children for school with the click of a mouse.

While the new system comes as what some parents call a "saving grace," only high school students already enrolled in the school system will be able to take advantage of it this year. District officials hope to open online registration to all students for the 2013-2014 school year.

"You can do it in the convenience of your own home, in your pajamas while the kids are running amuck and making a mess at the house - and there's no worries," parent Jennifer Floyd said.

She says she's eager to put the days of standing in registration lines with her children behind her.

"You have 500 papers to fill out - front and back - and it's even more frustrating when the child has already been in the school. You wish there was some way they could just roll over the information if they know you're coming back for the next year," she explained.

For a list of what you'll need to register your child for school, click here.

During the week of July 16, students eligible to register for school online were sent a letter detailing the new system, how to use it, and were also given an authentic verification code. That code, called a "snapcode," will guarantee that a student's information is safe and protected with the highest level of security.

In years past, Horry County Schools has had to postmark packets of registration forms to its thousands of students, costing the district approximately $1 to $2 per student. Charles Hucks, of Horry County Schools, says the district will only have to pay a fee of approximately $1.20 per student to use the online registration system.

"That savings in itself, not to mention the cost of printing, the administrative costs, more than pays for the registration system fee," Hucks said.

To see a run-down of individual school registration requirements and times, click here.

The district also plans to roll our a new parent, student and staff notification system called "Parent Link" within the first semester of classes for the 2012-2013 school year.

Hucks says the notification system will cost the district approximately $1.48 per student and will give people the option of subscribing to text, e-mail, app and phone notifications from the district.

Officials say the new system could alleviate district-to-parent communication concerns that arose last school year from the rash of bomb threats.

While the new system will prove valuable during potential emergency situations, Hucks says the district also plans to use it to notify people of everything from school closings and delays to events and parent-teacher conferences.

"If it's an emergency notification, I may want to receive it by text and voice," he said. "If it's a reminder, I may just want it by email. So they will be able to do that at some point during the first semester."

Hucks says the district plans to roll out the phone message notifications first, followed by the text and e-mail alerts.

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