Summer School returns to lottery system

Troubled online registration leads to student confusion

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The Oak Park Education Foundation will be reverting to the lottery system for the 2019 Summer School registration.

The change comes following problems with the online website, which attempted to create a first-come, first-served basis platform. While some students were able to process transactions, many were not able to select the class they requested.

“We had two problems with that website,” Executive Director of the Oak Park Education Foundation Vicki Raven said. “First, students on the website were not able to refresh the page quickly. The second problem was that they couldn’t pay for the transaction because their credit card information was not being accepted.”

The change to an online platform came following a new initiative to make the program more technology-based and more fair for those applying.

“OPEF had hoped to get the online registration running so that every student had a chance to go online and register and know right then if they got into the class,” Raven said. “OPEF apologizes for any inconvenience this may have caused students and parents.”

Other school districts in the area have used this system for registration processes.

“School districts in our area such as Conejo Valley [Unified School District] have used this system before successfully,” Raven said. “We really want to be on an instantaneous system like that.”

The website malfunctions created panic and stress for some students.

“I got really scared when the website didn’t open on time because I thought it was a glitch in my computer,” freshman Vishaka Bhat said. “But I got even more scared when my payment wouldn’t go through. I was worried I had lost my spot.”

Bhat says she has mixed feelings about the system reverting to a lottery system.

“I’m glad that we won’t be trying to make an unreliable computer system somehow work,” Bhat said. “But, I’m also nervous because now I have less of a chance of getting what I wanted compared to before.”

Assistant Principal Jason Meskis noted that not every applying student can get a spot in the course they want because it would disrupt next year’s class schedules.

“If you have 200 sophomores applying for World History and we accept them all, then there would be an imbalance with the amount of kids we need to take the class during the year,” Meskis said.

Raven hopes to incorporate technology once again next year after meeting with parents and administrators at the end of this year’s session.

“My hope is that we can do a focus group at the end of the year with the board, the principal and the parents,” Raven said. “We would also like to send out a survey at the end of summer school so we can gauge how happy parents are with this process.”

In addition, Medea Creek Middle School’s Summer School program is in danger of being downsized since fewer and fewer students apply each year. Their online registration will continue this year.

“We really need more middle schoolers out there to join the program,” Raven said. “Since there is such a small number of them, we’re going forward with their online registration.”

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