Friday, September 05, 2008

When a New Student Enrolls Who Needs to Know?

When a new student enrolls in your school, know needs to know? This question is a particularly good one to ask in an elementary school setting. Answers from the audience generally include the librarian and lunchroom manager. Without fail, someone will add the music teacher, art teacher, counselor, PE teacher. The nurse is generally mentioned.

What becomes very obvious is that when a new student enrolls in a school, that information is important to far more people than the one teacher. The librarian needs to add the students to the library automation system. The lunchroom manager needs to establish an account. The teachers of music, art, PE, etc. need to be aware that a new student will be present in their classes within a day or so. The counselor may wish to meet with the student within the first week at the new school. To each person, the presence of a new student triggers some type of "to-do," even though the nature of that "to-do" varies from person to person.

The question is this--How is that message communicated in your school? When a new student arrives, what system is in place to notify all of those people?

The easiest solution I have found is a simple e-mail message. The first step is for the principal to identify all of the people in the school (other than the classroom teacher) who need to know about the presence of a new student. Next, create an e-mail "group" or "distribution list" in the administrative assistant's e-mail program and add those people. Call this group or distribution list "New Student."

From now on, when a new student enrolls, part of the procedure is for the administrative assistant to create an e-mail message that say's something like this:

Mark Johnson, 4th grade, has just enrolled in Mrs. Brown's class.

The administrative assistant sends that e-mail message to the "New Student" group.

When a student withdraws, we have the same scenario. This same group of people needs to know so that any obligations may be cleared up. Again, sending an e-mail message to the "New Student" group keeps the key players in the loop.

This technique is easy, and generally speaking, the easy things are the ones which actually wind up working!
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