This year's school registration was nothing short of miraculous at .
Quite the contrast from last year when school administrators were downright giddy in announcing a new “online” registration system.
Did they mean we could register our children online? No, that would make sense.
What they meant was that we could download their two zillion forms and print them out on our dime instead of theirs.
The new “online” system saved us a trip to the school to pick up our reg packets but represented no other advantages.
In fact, registration last year at Hidden Hills took longer than ever.
We had to fill out the same forms and show up on registration day only to stand in the world’s longest, slowest Disneylandesque line … for two hours. And I am not exaggerating. Two hours. In the hot sun.
And no fun ride at the end.
For those of us with kids in two or more different schools, that can translate into four hours or more in registration line waiting … on a work day. C’mon, school administrators. This is crazy.
This year, when Hidden Hills announced yet another revolution in registration efficiency, let’s just say, I was a bit skeptical. Though I figured it really couldn’t get much worse than last year’s system.
A few days prior, I’d already endured my seventh grade son’s hour-and-a-half registration at , made worse by the child standing behind us complaining the whole time, “When’s this over? Can we go home now? When can we go home?”
The week before Hidden Hills registration was scheduled to begin, an email appeared in my inbox that gave me hope. The email announced a new “Fast Pass” system.
Despite my skepticism, I signed up optimistically for the first 10-minute block. I figured, if you are the first in line you won’t have to wait. When I received online confirmation that I had indeed won the first time slot in the system, my spirits soared … this was going to be good.
I felt like I’d won a golden ticket, a privilege comparable to touring the Willie Wonka Chocolate Factory. Could it be true? No long line on registration day?
It was true. A parent volunteered to host the donation portion of the registration — the part that typically holds up the line most significantly — inside the garage of her home, polling style. Sheer genius.
I arrived with my paperwork filled out and check in hand. The whole un-ordeal took under five minutes, and I was on my merry way.
The next step, I was told, would be showing up at the school on registration day. Only I wouldn’t have to stand in a long line of un-Fast-Passers, I could go to the Fast Track line, pick up paperwork and zip straight through to the PTA station.
Again, I was skeptical but showed up at the school at 4:30 p.m. on registration day, trying to get ahead of the 5:00 after-work rush, and what I saw represented nothing short of a Lourdes-worthy miracle: no line.
I could barely believe my eyes. Could I be dreaming?
I picked up my reg receipt at the Fast Pass table, zipped directly to the PTA table, where I had to wait maybe two minutes. Wrote checks at three more tables and zoom, I was out of there in under 25 minutes, an all-time registration record.
I’ve been registering my kids at Hidden Hills every year for the past seven years. Never did I clock out under an hour.
The only thing that could be better would be if they’d adopted a truly online registration system like the colleges and some high schools (including San Ramon’s Cal High) have figured out how to do.
For those of us with kids at Windemere Ranch Middle and other schools that don’t have a Fast Pass or online registration system, I’d like to know why not?
Why aren’t our San Ramon schools sharing best practices so they can all operate more efficiently?
As a lucky Hidden Hills parent, I’m elated. This is me shouting gleefully from the rooftop.
Whomever conceived of this genius Fast Pass system for Hidden Hills, I bow down to you, and I am sending you a virtual hug and kiss.