Students and parents appeared ready to storm the administration building after giving up one of their cherished summer days to spend hours in the hot sun wending their way through a labyrinth of long lines and understaffed stations to register for the upcoming school year. Overwhelmed school personnel had that deer-in-the-headlights look as they dealt with a miasma of unexpected problems.
But that was then.
This year, the district decided to test out the new online protocol at CdM and Costa Mesa high schools, Newport-Mesa's two 7-12 grade campuses. Stung by the scathing criticism over last year's debacle, school officials pulled out the stops to ensure that the transition went smoothly.
Much as I disdain filling out online forms, I have to admit the process wasn't bad. Logging in was easy, and everything I'd filled out by hand in the past — health information, emergency contacts and other documents — was presented in an organized and easy-to-follow sequence.
Only the page for purchases of student body cards, gym clothes and other items was a bit clunky, but aside from that, no complaints. I completed the procedure in less than 30 minutes, and only needed to print out a few pages for my son to bring to school at his designated registration time.
Next year the process should be even quicker because the information will be stored, and I'll only need to check for items that require updating.
The day before students were to begin appearing at school to complete their registration, I stopped by CdM's front office. I let Principal Tim Bryan know that I'd be observing the proceedings and would have some questions.
Bryan warned me that he might be too busy putting out fires to talk to me. "No plan survives first contact," he said in a half-joking reference to the military aphorism. Even so, he appeared relaxed and confident that the school had — excuse the pun — done all its homework.