School Registrar Frank Fernandez: Beyond Pop Rotunda

In light of Course Scheduling Day, School Registrar Frank Fernandez P’17 will be working tirelessly throughout the next several months to ensure that each student has an optimal—and functioning—course schedule for the next academic year.

In light of Course Scheduling Day, School Registrar Frank Fernandez P’17 will be working tirelessly throughout the next several months to ensure that each student has an optimal—and functioning—course schedule for the next academic year.

Fernandez joined the Lawrenceville community in 2006 as the Help Desk Manager. About six years ago, Fernandez transitioned to the role of registrar when the School switched to Veracross as its primary server.

While his job as the registrar entails “[administering] Veracross [...] as well as arranging and organizing transcripts,” he is most well-known for creating both student and faculty schedules.

Fernandez considers the Lawrenceville graduation requirements as a priority and important factor when creating students’ schedule based on their chosen classes.

He urges students to carefully consider their class requests, especially rising IV Formers and V Formers when choosing their science courses, with the main objective to ensure that “[the] rigor [of the chosen course] is either maintaining the same level or increasing as you step up.”

After receiving all the relevant forms, a small team, including Fernandez, input all course requests into Veracross. Next, they place students into different classes based on departmental approval during April and May while department chairs use the census to make their staffing decisions, namely how many sections a certain class would have and which teacher would be assigned to teach that class.

However, Fernandez actually spends most of his time working on teachers’ schedules. This process involves the placement of different classes in different blocks in order to “balance [everything] out.”

“The teacher’s [schedules] themselves take the longest time to put together because they have certain parameters that they have to meet. [...] Some teachers like to have lab days together, so you have to build off of those pieces, [...] also accommodating for family situations,” Fernandez said.

He also tries to minimize period and subject overlap between different teacher’s schedules so he has more flexibility when arranging students’ schedules.

Students are subsequently enrolled into the tentatively scheduled classes, and Fernandez essentially has a preliminary version of every student’s schedule set up by July of 2019. Unlike registrars from other schools, he starts off by making the schedules for the II Form before continuing on to other grades, explaining that “[II Formers] come in at various language and math levels; if [he does] the V Formers first then they will take up all the spaces [he] needs.” The process is more systematic for the remaining grade levels — it’s simply based on “what fits and whatever is left.”

Finally, Fernandez remarks that his favorite part of the job is “getting to know the students” whenever they stop by his office with questions regarding their schedules. He also notes that he finds the process of putting together each teacher and student’s respective schedule energizing.

“[Scheduling is] a puzzle that I enjoy [solving], and I try to make things happen for [the students] if I can,” Fernandez said.

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