I would like to thank Kira Greene and Kirsten Murphy for putting together this comprehensive guide toÂ Providence Public Schools Kindergarten Registration for 2013. They will follow up this post with advice about elementary school lotteries, waiting lists, and suggestions for parents who are weighing options between public and independent/charter schools or who are transferring into the public schools from elsewhere. – Anisa
Heads up to families looking at kindergarten: Providence Public Schools will be registering children for kindergarten and first gradeÂ from January 10-March 1, 2013. The registration is done alphabetically; click here for a PDF of the registration schedule.Â You can visit the Providence Public Schools’ website’s registration section for details about registration requirements and assignment policies.
The registration process for Providence Public Schools can be quite a confusing experience. Please allow yourself time to look over the Student Assignment Policy, as it will be helpful as you move forward with the process. Providence Schools will also hold enrollment seminars for the first timeÂ to help families navigate the registration process. They will discuss the registration timeline and you’ll leave with the forms necessary for registration, as well as a list of important documents needed (such as birth certificate, immunization records, IEP’s etc.) to complete the process. The dates and location of the Info Sessions can be found below and on the registration PDF.
If you did not have a chance to check out schools during December’s Open Schools Week, but still want to visit, both those in your neighborhood (remember, Providence has a neighborhood school enrollment policy for general education students) andÂ those outside your neighborhood that interest you.neighborhood, please call the school principal to schedule a tour. Read below for more information about the neighborhood school enrollment policy.
Enrollment Info Session
Info sessions for families, explaining more about how the registration process works, will be held as follows. Sessions are each open to residents across the city, regardless of neighborhood or school preference.
- Monday, January 7, 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Carnevale Elementary, 50 Springfield Street
- Tuesday, January 8, 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Young-Woods Elementary, 674 Prairie Avenue
- Wednesday, January 9, 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Kennedy Elementary, 195 Nelson Street
- Thursday, January 10, 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Bailey Elementary, 65 Gordon Street
- Tuesday, January 22, 6 to 7:30 p.m. at King Elementary School, 35 Camp Street
- Wednesday, January 23, 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Messer Elementary, 1655 Westminster Street
- Saturday, January 26, 10 to 11:30 a.m. at West End Community Center, 109 Bucklin Street
Kindergarten registration for the Providence Public Schools opens this week, running from January 10 through March 1, 2013. For the 2013-2014 school year, a child must have been born on or before September 1, 2008 in order to be eligible for Kindergarten.
Though registration is ongoing throughout the school year, only those registering within this timeframe will benefit fully from the district’s school choice process – lotteries for popular school choices will be held in March and will include only these “on-time” registrants.
List of documents you need to bring to registration:Â
- Birth certificate, passport, green card, or I-94 card
- Child’s immunization records from pediatrician’s office
- Proof of physical exam, vision screening, and lead test results
- Proof of Providence residency (utility bill or lease/rental agreement)
- For special education students only: bring your child’s current Individualized Education Program (IEP) if s/he has one.
- If a language other than English is the primary language at home, your child will need a language assessment, available by appointment.
- Families of first grade students also need to supply proof of registration in an accredited kindergarten program.
Registration is conducted in person at the Student Registration and Placement Center
Address: 325 Ocean Avenue (formerly 650 Prairie Avenue) in Providence, behind the BJ Clanton School Complex/Woods and Young Schools.
Telephone: 401-456-9297. HAVE SPECIFIC QUESTIONS? Contact Joyce O’Connor (works under the office of Family and Community Engagement) at 401-456-0686 or in person at 379 Washington Street.
The Center hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 3:45 p.m., Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 12:45. Starting on February 18 through March 1, Monday- Thursday closing time is extended to 5:45 p.m. Registration is open to families on certain days, based on the first letter of the child’s last name.
Main web page:Â http://www.providenceschools.org/inside-ppsd/registration.aspx
Contact information (including information for speakers of languages other than English):Â http://www.providenceschools.org/inside-ppsd/registration/contact-us.aspx
It is important to note that parents whose children are currently attending pre-school in a district elementary school need not go through the in-person process, but will be provided with packets of school selection information in mid-January. For a complete calendar of the alphabetical schedule, as well as a list of required documentation and forms, and other helpful information, visit www.providenceschools.org/registration. Parents may also call the Student Registration Center at 456-9297, but are advised that call volumes can be heavy.
Achievement First Mayoral Academy
This year, as an added convenience to the city’s families, parents will be able to use the standard public school registration form to indicate interest in the new Achievement First Mayoral Academy. Doing so will enter the child’s name in a lottery for one of that school’s 88 seats. The deadline to express such interest through the PPSD form is February 25, and the Academy’s lottery will be held on March 1.
Neighborhood School Enrollment Policy
Providence public elementary schools are defined as ‘neighborhood’ and ‘non-neighborhood’ schools (this does not apply to charter schools, which have enrollment processes that are separate from the public schools). All children in the city of Providence have at least two neighborhood schools, which are the two closest schools (as the crow flies) to where your child lives. Elementary schools in Providence are not located by ward, and some are clustered in close proximity to each other. Depending on where you live, you may have more than two neighborhood schools. Please note that the definition of ‘neighborhood’ by PPSD continues to confuse many, and the language is currently being rewritten for clarity. The Registration department uses an in-house software program to determine which schools are your ‘neighborhood’ schools. To be absolutely sure which schools are considered ‘neighborhood’ for you, we strongly recommend that you speak with a representative at the Student Registration and Assignment Center (456-9297) who can access the software and give you a definitive answer before you make your application, as the software used calculates distance differently from typical mapping softwares. When you request this information, and any other information, make a note of the date and the name of the person with whom you spoke, along with the information you received, so you can have good records should problems arise down the road. If registration is like last year, you will receive a sheet with four choices. It is important that you write your first choice on the first line.
For those families who are seeking to register students at a non-neighborhood school, here is some helpful information. Because the Student Assignment Policy states that “80 percent of the general education seats in each school will be reserved for students who listed the school as a first choice and live in the neighborhood,” it appears that if you list a non-neighborhood school as your first choice, you are not automatically guaranteed your neighborhood school as your second choice. Therefore, if your first choice is a “non-neighborhood” school (for your address) that is popular and difficult to get into, you may not get into your neighborhood school of choice if it is listed as your second choice. PPSD and the Oversight Committee are looking at ways to address this issue, but it will most likely not be resolved this year. Therefore, unless you are dead-set on choosing only one school, your first choice may need to be your top preference of those schools that are likely to have space for your child. It is also important to understand that being neighborhood is not a guarantee for placement in schools in great demand.
Another implication of the assignment policy’s stipulation that 80 percent of the seats are reserved for neighborhood children is that most of these seats are often allocated in kindergarten, so if your heart is set on a particular school, kindergarten may the best time to take advantage of that policy. Parents who register their children for first grade may not get their choice of schools because seats at neighborhood schools are limited.
Registering your child in the Providence Public Schools can feel bureaucratic and cumbersome. Remember that your experience at registration will have nothing to do with your experience at your elementary school of choice. Please keep this in mind as you go through this process, and also remember that the Providence Public Schools are processing thousands of kids each year. Therefore, we recommend that you understandÂ registration policiesÂ and advocate for your child. Kids can fall through the cracks and mistakes happen.
After you have registered your child, if you are concerned or need confirmation, call the Student Registration and Information Center and ask them to repeat the schools you have applied to and what category (neighborhood/non-neighborhood) your child falls within. At the end of the registration period, you can even ask, for example, how many neighborhood children applied to the school for which you registered your child. If this number is below 80 percent, you know you should get a spot.
For many families, the process goes smoothly, but mistakes happen, and again, we emphasize the need to advocate for your child and urge you to ask for help if you need it. If you are having any difficulty or are worried that the practices do not meet up with the policies, call the principal of the school at which you wish to register your child and reach out to other parents whom you may know at that school or the leaders of the school’s Parent-Teacher Organization (if there is one) for advice.