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Mar 23, 2011
By Elaine Wilson, American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 23, 2011 -- Defense Department officials have launched an online preregistration application that's intended to help parents get an early start on enrolling their children in DoD schools.

Through the site, parents can preregister their children in a DOD school from anywhere in the world, and even while on the move from one installation to another, explained Mike Lynch, chief of policy and legislation for the Department of Defense Education Activity.

The site, located at https://registration.dodea.edu, is open to parents with students entering pre-kindergarten up to 12th grade.

"We want to reduce the time it takes to register children for school," he said. "This way, the school can be ready the day the parents get there so they can get in and out quicker."

The site is intended to aid with new enrollments into Defense Department schools, Lynch said, rather than re-registration requests.

"An online re-registration application is something we're looking at developing for next school year," he said.

Lynch said the site can help military parents worldwide, whether they're moving their children from an off-base school to one on base or are in the early stages of preparing for a move, either stateside or overseas.

Parents who are readying for a move can preregister children even before they know the exact school their child will enter, he noted. On the site, parents can choose options ranging from the community they're moving to down to the specific Defense Department school their child will attend.

"If you're going to Europe, for example, you can pick that option, then the country, community and school," he said. However, "You can stop at any point along the way."

Registrars will be on the lookout for new registration paperwork, he said. And, for those who didn't designate a specific school, the registrar can quickly pull the paperwork from a queue upon the family's arrival.

"It takes only a few minutes to print and have it ready," he said.

The site is simple and easy to navigate, Lynch said. Parents answer questions ranging from student's birth date to citizenship. They also can attach documents, such as military orders and birth certificates, to their online preregistration paperwork.

While the site is designed to streamline the registration process, he said, it doesn't replace the need for an in-person school visit. Parents still will need to stop by the school to update documents, complete other forms, such as bus routes, and sign an official registration request.

Along with parents, the site also offers benefits for school officials, Lynch noted. Since the system generates prefilled forms, it eliminates the need to have registrars transfer data from sometimes hard-to-decipher handwritten registration forms. Additionally, the schools can better track the number of incoming students.

"But that's not why we're doing this," Lynch said. "We're committed to making school transitions easier, and we believe that improving the school registration process is the perfect place to start."