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Kindergarten enrollment nears

Submitted by on 1, January 13, 2009 – 10:00 amNo Comment

It’s that time of the year again … kindergarten enrollment time! It’s a time of awkward informational meetings … of mountainous paperwork … of nail-biting lotteries!

Ah, but I digress.

The festivities kick off with a series of Kindergarten Information Night meetings, which will be held from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, January 15 at each elementary school (and if you’re not sure which one is your neighborhood school, give the district a quick call at 337-7000). At those meetings, principals and school staff will make some presentations, hand out enrollment packets and answer questions about the enrollment process. Parents can also sign up for school tours.

Then, from January 20 to February 3, it’s Kindergarten Roundup time (yee-haw!). If you’ve got a prospective kindergartner to sign up for school, now is the time to fill out that aforementioned mountain of paperwork and hand it in.

And if more kids sign up for kindergarten at your neighborhood school than the school has room for, you’ll move on to Round Three of this exciting process: the lottery!

Here’s how it works: Siblings of kids already enrolled at the school are given spaces. Everyone else goes into a random drawing for the spots that remain (last year, then-student services director Dave Dierking used a deck of cards to do the drawing). The kids who get picked are in; everyone else is on a waiting list. If the school has way more applications than spaces, the district could open another kindergarten section. Or it could move the remaining kids to another school.

Jeff Knoth, who took over as student services chief this year, said he hasn’t yet got projections for next year’s classes. He said preliminary projections should be out later this month. In light of the economy and probable state budget cuts, Knoth said the district will be conservative in its projections, in an effort to save the district’s cash.

Last year, both Edison and Franklin schools held kindergarten lotteries. Conversely, Bay Farm School had far fewer kindergartners show up for class than had applied, and the district moved a handful of students to Amelia Earhart.

If you’re feeling ambitious, you can check out the district’s enrollment policy on its website. It’s in the middle of the left rail, under the “student services” heading.

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