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Flossmoor School District 161 launches new registration process

It was cool heads and short lines throughout July as Flossmoor School District 161 launched its new registration for the 2018-19 school year.
“We actually started in May, as the last school year was ending,” said Superintendent Dana Smith. 
Teachers and administrators began working on next year’s class lists early while the previous year was still fresh in their minds. 
Starting early prevents logjams later in the summer, and gives families the time to plan ahead during the busy summer season. Changes this year separated the formal registration into two steps. 
First, families visit the Normandy Villa administrative offices on one of several appointed days in July to prove residency and pay school fees. 
To prove residency, families provide a “category one” document like a mortgage statement, signed lease or real estate tax bill and two less sensitive documents such as a utility bill, home or auto insurance, current pay stub, bank statement or driver’s licenses.
The rigor of this proof corresponds to a commitment to provide the best service to the children of School District 161, Smith said.
Second, families need to pick up class assignments at Parker Junior High School on Aug. 14, 15 or 16. This applies to students from all five District 161 school.
According to Smith, these changes have several clear goals: creating clear expectations, moving parents through quickly and finalizing class lists as soon as possible.
“We’re focusing on efficiency, having the right children in our schools and gathering information in a streamlined fashion,” Smith said.
One popular aspect of the new registration process has been the option for families to submit information through an online platform. This speeds things up and is a great tool, Smith said.
“Parents are busy, and this allows us to balance the efficiency of less time spent filling out forms with the rigor of our proof of residency,” he said.
Smith was also especially complimentary of the performance of Wanda Alexander, District 161’s residency registrar.
“She has done an incredible job with the planning, setting schedules. She is owed a lot of recognition for the success,” he said.
Students in School District 161 have many opportunities to stay busy. Summer learning offerings are especially popular, following accelerated tracks or just staying active to prevent the feared “summer slide.”
Through these busy days, the district takes efficient registration, proof of residency and well-balanced classes very seriously, Smith said. 
After the initial registration in July, there are currently 2,115 students enrolled for the 2018-19 school year. These numbers reflect historical averages.
Last September, Smith reported to the board that the district began the new school year with 2,326 students.
About 100 students are expected to register in August and that number could be higher, he said.
District 161’s overall enrollment has declined in the last 10 years but school officials are happy with the current numbers, Smith said. The eighth grade class will be larger than the number of incoming kindergartners for a couple of years, he said, but that should not be the case for much longer. 

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