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Important Message From Bright Lights

Dear Bright Lights Families,

We wanted to take a minute to apologize for the registration troubles this year and to let you know that we share your frustrations. Specifically, we wanted you to know that after the online registration issues last year, we spent substantial time and resources to make sure we did not have the same system overload this year. Behind the scenes we changed our registration process to use higher performance servers and eliminate slower steps that would create performance bottlenecks.

When registration opened on Sunday, April 1, at noon, the load of everyone trying to sign up for classes again overwhelmed the new server. After a quick assessment, we were informed by the server team from our service provider that the problem could not be fixed quickly and we stopped the registrations to resolve the issue. (As stated online and in our brochure, we enacted our emergency plan by closing registration and resuming on April 2 at noon so that you would not have to monitor the website thoughout the afternoon.) The server team worked through the night to move the registration system to one of the highest performing commercial servers available. When we re-opened registration on Monday, the new server was still overwhelmed with the sheer volume of Bright Lights families registering. This time, however, the server was able to weather the storm without completely crashing and continued to process registrations. Once it got through the initial burst of traffic, it was able to keep up and should not have any problems for the rest of this registration season.

We appreciate so many kind words from our Bright Lights families and we do understand your frustrations with the system. We want to assure you that we feel this year's failure was unacceptable. We are again working to find another solution which can keep up with the pace of registrations and provide the best service to our families.

We are considering other alternatives including:
Moving to a third party registration system (both expensive and does not offer very much customization).

Staggering registration times (while it would reduce server load, it would also make it more difficult to sign up students for multiple classes and/or signing up multiple students).

Going back to paper registrations (very slow to process, can take weeks to process initial round of registrations, dramatically increased staff time, and not very feasible with the increased volume of registrations).

Buying or renting an entire bank of servers, such as moving the servers into "the cloud" (both very expensive to develop and very expensive to maintain when we only need the massive capacity for about 30 minutes every year).
There is no magic bullet to fix the problem. We understand that as parents you want to register as soon as possible to ensure that your son or daughter can get into the unique classes they desire. Your desire to be part of the Bright Lights program is our greatest compliment. We want you to know that every year we look for ways to increase the number of our most popular classes; however, due to space, staff, and equipment limitations we can only offer so many.

Once registration has closed for this year we will immediately begin addressing changes necessary for next year. If you have thoughts about how the process can be improved, please e-mail us at info@brightlights.org. We will compile all your suggestions and include those as part of our decision making process.

Thank you for your continued support.
--The Bright Lights staff

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