Helpful Tips for Enrolling Your Kids in School Mid-Year
Registering your children for school can often be a rigid process, with specifications you have to follow in order to successfully get everyone enrolled. This is true whether registering at the start of an academic year as a new student, or joining a new school mid-year as the result of a move.
Before you can even begin registering for school, you have to find the right district for your children's needs. Ranked among the top features when house hunting, the quality of the local school district can make or break a potential home's appeal, which makes it important to look at more than just the house when in the market for a new place to live.
Once you find the right home, in the right place for you and your family, the moving process begins. Changes taking place in the middle of the school year can put stress on your kids, but with a few easy steps, you can help make their transition to a new school seamless.
Have all your records in order
Going to a new school will be an adjustment for your kids, but before they even start, you're responsible for getting them signed up. Before you physically go to register your children, make sure you have the right documents to bring with you.
There's nothing more frustrating than getting all the way to school only to have to turn around and go home because you're missing a document they require for registration. You can often look up this information on the district's website or simply call the school and ask, but there are a few items that are pretty standard.
Proof of residency
Once you've signed all the papers on your new residence, a copy of your current lease or house title establishes proof of residency.
Important note: Whichever parent registers the kids needs to have their name on these documents in order to make them valid.
Make sure to get your children caught up on all their shots and then bring an up-to-date immunization record from the pediatrician. Also bring with you any special doctor's letters you need the school to review, especially if your child will require some additional services.
The school will most likely need to see a copy of your child's birth certificate.
Previous school records
Even though your previous school should send transcripts to your new school if you request it, make sure to get a copy and bring it with you just in case.
If you can, compile these documents before you pack up your old home and keep them with you during the move. Transporting them on the moving van increases the risk of them not getting unpacked in time, delaying school registration.
Although it's not required, it may also be helpful to get a copy of the current coursework from your child's previous school to bring in to the new school. Seeing where a student was can help their new teacher acclimate them easier to their new curriculum.
Get to know your new school
Getting to know your new school means more than just ensuring you know where the school is and what it looks like. Although it's important to drive past the school with your kids so they can see the building, and even try to go on a tour, getting to know the school extends beyond the basics.
- Review school guidelines and procedures such as carpool, dress code and policies around absences and tardies.
- Walk the route to and from school on a few "practice runs" if you live close enough.
- Shop for appropriate school supplies (get a list from the school) so your child comes prepared on their first day.
- Get involved if you can through the PTA, with general volunteering opportunities, or even by supporting an extracurricular activity. This not only helps you get to know the school and the people in it, but you can meet other parents, and be a familiar face for your son or daughter to see in the halls. Any amount of time can be beneficial, even if it's spending an hour once a month shelving books in the media center.
- Sign up for social media to get involved in relevant conversations between faculty and parents on Facebook or Twitter to help you immediately become aware of the latest events at school and opportunities to interact with school families.
Be ready for a tough transition
While it's not guaranteed your child will hit some rough spots when transitioning schools mid-year, it's best to prepare. Before your child starts school, connect with the counselors. Introduce yourself, make them aware of who your children are and explain your situation. Include any information on what else your child may be adjusting to in addition to a new school, and if you have any concerns about all the changes. Then, check back a month or so later to get a progress report of how your child continues to handle the adjustment.
While the process can feel rigid and complex, enrolling your kids in a new school mid-year is really no different than registering them over the summer. With careful attention to detail and time to plan ahead, you'll be saying, “Happy first day!" with ease.