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FinalForms - Keeping Up With Technology and Keeping Our Children Safe

I hope the summer months have provided you some time to spend with family and friends. As always, it seems like the time flies, and now, the first day of school is less than two weeks away!

And as I look forward to a new school year, my commitment to strong, open and informative communication with you – the stakeholders of Mariemont City Schools – remains a priority. To this end, we will soon launch a new resource on our website for users to submit questions and get them answered by the best possible source, whether it be a fellow parent, teacher, student or yours truly. The questions and answers will be posted on the page, giving everyone a chance to see what’s being asked and how it’s being answered. Think of it as an (In)Frequently Asked Questions guide about your school district.

Periodically, I will use this ConnectME blog as a vehicle to respond to some of the more timely and relevant questions – which is exactly what I will do in this week’s blog in response to questions we have been getting about FinalForms, our new online registration system.

Why are we now using FinalForms and why do you need so much information about my child?

Earlier this summer, our school district transitioned to an online registration system called “FinalForms.” FinalForms turns school, state and athletic forms into a customized, streamlined data collection process for all involved. Sounds nice, doesn’t it?

But, look, I get it – I have three children of my own attending school in the district so filling out this form did honestly take me some time, and answering all the questions did mean divulging a lot of information about my children and family. Added to that, it seems like only yesterday that we entered all of this information into a different online registration system (it was actually last summer – time flies!).

Like any business, we are doing our best to keep up with changes in technology; and coupled with the ever-growing list of documentation we are required to collect as a school district – the previous online system just couldn’t keep up and meet our needs anymore. So, now, we are joining 141 other school districts in Ohio in using FinalForms. It is the most advanced, intuitive and useful product of its kind for school districts in the United States.

FinalForms provides us a single location to house and access the information we need for medical records, athletics, field trips, parent authorizations and every day life at school.

So what this means is that all the information we’re required to collect by the Ohio Department of Education, school district policies, the Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio High School Athletic Association, along with recommended medical records from the American Academy of Pediatrics, is now in one place – and although I understand that’s a lot of information to enter all at once, the good news is that, once you enter your information this year, you will only make changes and updates as needed.

Sure, some of the information you’re being asked to provide might seem to make more sense for a high school student compared to a first grader given the differences in school activities and athletics, but please understand that our first and foremost goal is to protect your child in the case of an emergency and respond in the most appropriate way given his or her unique history and experiences. And the best way for us to accomplish this is to not be without crucial information at the time we need it most.

We are confident in the level of security FinalForms provides in protecting the information we input into their system, and as a school district, we are committed to the appropriate and legal use of the sensitive information you provide us about your family and child.

We are always working to improve the experience of the staff, students and parents of Mariemont City Schools. If you still have questions or concerns about FinalForms and/or you’re not sure what information about your child you should or should not provide, please email Lance Hollander, director of administrative services.

If you have a question you would like answered in our (In)Frequently Asked Questions page on the district website, please email Josephine McKenrick, director of communications, or check out our website in a few weeks for the new link.

Enjoy these last couple of weeks of your summer vacation!

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Steven Estepp