What would be involved for central office to offer support to schools who are short-staffed during enrollment and registration?
The newly created Office of Student Support and Engagement will have the following bilingual resources that result from the restructuring that will take place in Fiscal Year (FY) 2017.
- 15.0 FTE bilingual ESOL parent community coordinators
- 10.6 FTE bilingual ESOL transition counselors
The above-mentioned staff will receive training to support enrollment and registration in the schools. Once they are trained, they can be deployed strategically to support schools to ease the beginning-of-year rush for enrollment and registration of students.
Parents/guardians who wish to enroll their student in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) are encouraged to make an appointment to enroll, but they are not required to do so. Appointments are critical at the secondary-school level because counselors must assist students with class scheduling on an individual basis. All international students must complete an initial enrollment and the language dominance test through the Division of School Counseling, Residency, and International Admissions (SCRIA) before enrolling at their assigned school.
Schools with high mobility rates and high numbers of international students enrolling for the first time in MCPS may experience increased numbers of students seeking to enroll close to the start of the school year. This is particularly challenging at secondary schools with Multidisciplinary Educational Training and Support locations, where enrollment is at record levels, or in schools with high mobility rates.
Assigning central services staff members who fully understand the enrollment and course assignment process is particularly challenging as staff members in SCRIA who might provide this level of support are fully engaged in enrolling international students as this is the busiest time of year for them. Secondary school registrars and counselors have extensive training and have a deep level of understanding regarding the complex and unique schedules of their schools which they are able to match to individual student needs.
Given the broad range of positions at central services, there may be a small number of staff members who could provide meaningful assistance; however, there could be unintended consequences using this approach. For example, an assigned central services person could inadvertently develop course schedules that are not fully aligned with student needs because the central services staff member did not fully understand all of the school’s course options for appropriate placement.
A first step is to fully understand the full extent of the need. With that information, an alternative might be to hire retired registrars or counselors with an expertise in enrollment and high school course offerings to assist at schools that meet specific established criteria for assistance. This would potentially better meet the needs of those specific schools that could ensure that they have the deep understanding of the process as a starting point and could learn about their specific schedule. Central services staff members who do not have the experience base would not provide meaningful support.