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Registering for Providence Public Schools: 2009-10 School Year

Backpack - register for schoolRegistering your child for public school in Providence can be a challenging experience if you do not have all the right information–what to bring, when to sign up or an understanding of what’s a neighborhood school and how you can request a neighborhood or non-neighborhood school when you register. Thanks to the hard work of a number of parents over the last few years, they have made the registration process more transparent and made the Providence Public School Department (PPSD) more accountable for the information they distribute. The process, far from perfect is improving. As a parent in the Providence public school system, I am happy I had the right information when I signed up my boys for kindergarten. We are now part of a wonderful community of teachers, students, and parents.

Enrollment for Providence Public School kindergarten for the 2009-10 school year begins on Monday, February 23, 2009, and runs through Saturday, April 4, 2009.

The Kindergarten Registration Schedule:
– Kindergarten Registration: Monday, February 23, 2009 to Saturday, April 4, 2009
Click below to view the Kindergarten Registration calendar. Download KG Registration calendar
– Kindergarten Lottery: Monday, May 4, 2009, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Registration & Lottery is at the Student Registration and Placement Center, 650 Prairie Avenue (02905)
– Placement letters: Mailed after Tuesday, May 26, 2009.

Facts you need to know:
– To be eligible for kindergarten, your child must have been born on or before September 1, 2004, and your child must reside in Providence.
– The registration schedule is based alphabetically by your last name. The registration calendar has multiple days for each letter, so find a date that works for you.

Here is a list of documents you need to bring (Download PDF in Spanish /English):
– 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)
– Bring your child for testing, only if a language other than English is spoken at home.
– For special education students only: Bring your child’s current Individualized Education Program (IEP) if s/he has one

Note that you don’t need to bring your child! You certainly can bring him or her, but it is not required.

Helpful Forms + Links:
– Health Requirements for children (Download PDF)
– Health History (Download PDF)
– Educational History (Download PDF)
– Providence Public Schools (PPSD) Click for website

Understanding Neighborhood Schools:

All kindergarteners and first graders have at least two neighborhood schools from which to choose. Elementary neighborhood schools are defined as the two closest schools from where you live. Parents should check their address with the registration department and ask them to tell you your two neighborhood schools. What you consider as your two neighborhood schools may not be the same as the registration department classification so be sure to check first!

Providence public elementary schools are defined as neighborhood schools (this doesn’t apply to charter schools, which have enrollment processes that are separate from the public schools). The school assignment policy (SAP) states that 75% 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. 20% of the general education seats in each school will be reserved for students who picked the school as their first choice and do not live in the neighborhood. 5% of the general education seats will be reserved for students who listed the school as a second choice and live in the neighborhood. PPSD has provided additional information about its school assignment policy in this helpful Frequently Asked Questions page.

This means that you need to know what schools the Providence Public Schools Department (PPSD) defines as neighborhood schools for your child’s primary address, and that you need to be prepared with first and second choices at the time of your child’s registration. If you’re not sure which schools are considered your child’s neighborhood schools, contact the PPSD Student Registration and Assignment Center.

Where to register:

Parent Information and Student Registration Center
650 Prairie Avenue – Providence, RI 02905 (Map it)
Phone: 401-456-1702

Hours of operation are 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on the Saturdays it is scheduled to be open (again, consult the registration calendar for those specific dates).

The center is difficult to find, even with Google maps or Mapquest. Use the directions below or call the center (456-1702) for directions.

If you are heading to the center from the north:
* Take 95 South, Exit 18 – Thurbers Avenue
* Bear right towards Eddy Street
* Take left onto Eddy Street (Burger King and Shell station are on the corner)
* Take third right onto Pavilion Street
* Take right onto Ocean Street
* Take first left into the center

The sign says Parent Information and Registration Department, and the building is straight ahead (a school is attached to the right side).

Details for Registering for First Grade:
For students entering first grade in September 2009–that is, for students who are new to the district, which means those who aren’t enrolled in kindergarten already–registration runs from Monday, March 2, 2009, and runs through Friday, March 27, 2009. You can enroll your child on any date during that period; registration for incoming first graders is not sorted by last names.

For students who are new to the district enrolling in second through fifth grades, registration begins May 5, 2008. You can call the Parent Information and Student Registration Center at 456-1702 for specific information on how to enroll students who are in grades higher than kindergarten or first grade.

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  • Also, just to clarify what’s written above – charter schools ARE public schools. Some serve more than one community (International Charter School serves children from Providence and Pawtucket, for example), but basically operate as their own public school district and are tuition-free.

  • This may be the subject of another post, but the deadlines for Charter School lotteries are coming up soon, too. It’s very easy to apply and some of them have simple applications on their web site that you can download. Our son goes to Paul Cuffee and we love it. Their application deadline is soon – March 6th. Admission is competitive, but is based on a straight lottery, so it’s definitely worth sending in your application if you’re interested. Good luck to all the Kindergarten parents – it’s not always an easy process finding a school that will work well for you.