"Instead of getting in line, parents will get online," says William White, executive director of Research, Assessment, Evaluation and Student Information at Memphis City Schools.
White's words concisely describe the new General Choice Transfer process, designed as an easier way for parents to apply for student transfers in the public school system.
Starting at 10 a.m. on Friday, Feb, 15, and running through April 1, parents throughout Memphis and Shelby County may apply for student transfers for 2013-14 using any available computer with Internet access without standing in line.
For the first time, parents with children in either district, Memphis City Schools (MCS) or Shelby County Schools (SCS), may apply for student transfers to any school in the city or county that will be a part of the unified district in 2013-14, provided that space is available.
Whether at home or work, or at locations with free public Internet access (such as a church or public library) at 10 a.m. sharp on Feb. 15, parents can open the online student transfer application by visiting www.mcsk12.net or www.scsk12.org, the Web sites of MCS and SCS.
Parents can even use a smartphone to apply, if their phone supports online forms.
To log-in, parents must enter their child's name, birth date, current grade and school, and either their Social Security Number or district PIN (personal identification number).
Still first-Come, first-served
The General Choice Transfers process is an entirely online procedure, which combines the "Open Enrollment" process of MCS and the "Student Transfers" process of SCS.
Regardless of where parents apply, applications will still be considered based on the order that they are received, just as done in years past in both districts.
Once a parent hits the submit button, the computer will stamp the application date and time, indicating the exact order. Parents will then see instructions on how to review the status online.
A more efficient process
"The General Choice Transfer process gives parents a choice using an easier, streamlined method," said White. "The ease comes in being able to apply online at any available location."
Angela Hargrave, director of Student Services at SCS, has worked closely with White to develop the wholly online system. She explains, "In addition to efficiency, the new process allows more families across Shelby County to have more choices for their child's education than ever before."
No paper applications will be printed or accepted with the new process.
Computer help for parents
On the first day of the application period (Feb. 15), MCS and SCS staff will be available to help parents with little to no experience with computers at two locations: MCS Technology Training Center, 3772 Jackson Ave.; and the SCS Gray's Creek Administrative Office, 2800 Gray's Creek Rd.
Parents with challenged access to computers may also apply at these locations:
• MCS Northeast Regional Office (Treadwell CTC, 920 N. Highland).
• MCS Southeast Regional Office (Airways Middle School, 2601 Ketchum).
• MCS Northwest Regional Office (Vance Middle School, 673 Vance Avenue).
• Southwest Regional Office (Walker Elementary School, 322 King Road).
• Child's current school or assigned neighborhood school (Not the requested school)
Transfer priority & enrollment spaces
On Jan. 29, the Shelby County Board of Education approved a school admissions policy outlining priority considerations for all new 2013-14 General Choice Transfer requests. Considerations such as sibling transfers and school employee priorities can be reviewed by visiting: http://www.scsk12.org/Policy_Manual/pm/6000/6002.html.
A list of 2013-14 available enrollment spaces at all MCS and SCS schools will be posted online on each district's Web site for parents to review starting Monday (Feb. 11).
Parents of students on current MCS or SCS transfers were informed that their transfers are in force through the exit grade of the child's current school. If a child is on a current transfer, parents are not required to re-apply for a 2013-14.
Application processes for Optional and International Baccalaureate programs continue during the General Choice Transfer period, but are separate from this process.
(For details about General Choice Transfers, visit www.mcsk12.net or www.scsk12.org, or call 901-416-5830, MCS Student Enrollment and Records, or (901) 473-2560, SCS Student Services.)