Registrar Community of Practice (CoP) Event: Best Practices on Setting Up Student’s Cumulative Files

Last week, school registrar and front office staff  from all over the city gathered for a two-hour session  to learn best practices from their peers and DC PCSB, on collecting and maintaining accurate student records and information.  Jiselle O’Neal, the Senior Specialist for Intergovernmental Relations and School Support, and Nicole Newman, the Senior Specialist for Community Relations decided to host this session to help school staff prepare for this year’s enrollment season, and learn how student records and registrar work fit into schools accountability and overall success.

Topics discussed were:

  • Challenges and best practices in student enrollment and record keeping

  • What should be maintained in a student record

  • How to best prepare student records for the transcript audit process

  • Universal Health Certificates and building relationships with nursing staff

What’s in the cumulative file?
Every student needs to have a cumulative file from their current school when they are enrolling in a new school or moving to a different school. This file should include enrollment documents (including residency forms), academic documents, disciplinary documents, and immunization forms. All of these documents complete a student’s file and ensure a smooth transition for the student from one school to the next if they choose or have to change schools.

Every file includes the enrollment documents that have all enrollment information from the students prior years attending any school. Academic documents in the file include all report cards and PARCC scores, if applicable. Disciplinary documents are also required to be in a student’s cumulative file when moving to a new school to ensure that the student's previous behavior is noted prior to joining a new school community. These documents also include any information on the student that deems them as truant.

Lastly, immunization forms are imperative to a students’ file as this will give the school nurse or staff member trained to administer medication correct information on how to treat the student if an incident occurs at school.

Finally, Abby Getzel, the Equity and Fidelity specialist, shared information on what is included in a high school file to the group. A student enrolling in a high school as a freshman would need to have their most recent report card in their file. All students enrolling in the 10th, 11th, or 12th grade need to have their final transcripts from their previous school in their file and their most recent report cards. When only one of the two options are available, the registrar is asked to request the transcript as that is more heavily weighted than the report card. ]

Best Practices Shared
Several registrar staffers at the event voiced their concerns that parents do not prioritize sending the completed Universal Health Certificate (UHC)  to the schools. As a best practice offered, schools suggested that letting parents know up front the importance of giving their kids immunization records to the school, will push families toward scheduling appointments to have the information ready prior to the school year starting. Another idea shared, included explaining to the parents' the importance of the UHC form.  The forms allow their child’s school to have adequate nurse coverage for the school year. Lastly, the Department of Health explained that if a parent comes to your school with an appointment card and the school grants an extension, to follow up with the parent directly following the appointment date to ensure the parent gets those forms to your school at their earliest convenience.

If you would like to be a part of our next Registrar Community of Practice session and/or if you have suggestions for future topics, please reach out to Jiselle O’Neal at or Nicole Newman at

This school year, DC PCSB has hosted more than a dozen professional learning sessions for school staff on various topics ranging from preventing and managing sexual abuse to supporting English learners.   


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