Enrolling Your Child in a New School in Texas
Before I was a REALTOR, I was a Teacher. I helped many people enroll their kids into schools. Below are some tips to make the situation go smoother.
Texas has uniform enrollment requirements. So, this should be good for ANY school in Texas.If you are moving to a new area and need to enroll your children in school, or, like me, you have a child enrolling in pre-school or Kindergarten, the idea of GOING to the school and waiting in lines to sign your child up, and then NOT having the right paperwork just seems like a NIGHTMARE then hopefully this will help.
FIRST and MOST IMPORTANT TIP: Do NOT wait until the first day of school. That is SUCH a BAD idea! So, find out when early registration is, and go EARLY, like at 7 or 8 am. Don't go up there at lunch time. Those office workers DESERVE a break, just like the rest of us. Be prepared to be there for at least 2 hours.
To enroll a child into school there are a few things you will need to take:
- Proof that you live in that school district. Usually a utility bill with your name and address on it is good enough. If you are living with someone that has THEIR name on the bill, then you need a LETTER from the person that you are living with that states that you are in fact a permanent resident in the house, and the person's proof of residence. If you JUST moved, then a lease or Title papers are also ok, but they are overkill. Districts usually like something that takes up less paper in a file. So, find some type of bill if you can.
- Birth Certificate. It can be from ANYWHERE and in ANY LANGUAGE. Many people are NOT born in the US. That is ok, as long as it is a VALID birth certificate. Some except copies. Some don't. They will make a copy. Be sure you get the orginial back. They really do need to know when the child was born.
- Immunization Record. OR letter stating it is against your specific religion. (I feel you should get your kids the shots. Don't risk my kids friends getting sick because of your religion.)
- Social Security #--is not REQUIRED in Texas but is desired. If you do not know their SS#, then they will assign you child a STATE ID # that will follow them. (I actually recommend you go with the state ID#. The number will be all over all types of documents, and there is no telling who could end up with those papers...)
- Records from the last school attended, such as a report card. If your child has a special education situation, PLEASE bring any records you have, such as an IEP, or 504 plan. The new school will quickly find out there was a special program. They send records. Be up front and honest. It will save you trouble later.
Be prepared to fill out some forms. The forms will ask some information you will need to take with you:
- The name of your child's doctor
- Any medications they take
- Any medical conditions they may have, (asthma, etc)
- The name of AT LEAST 3 emergancy contacts with address AND phone numbers. The more the better
- Last school attended, if any
- Income information, especially if your child will be in free/reduced lunch
- Basic stuff like where you work, names of siblings or relitives at also attend the school district and the name of the school.
Things to BE SURE TO FIND OUT
- Be sure you get the list of school supplies, and
- ask LOTS of questions about the dress code. They vary widely from school to school. One school may require standardized dress, and the building next door may have no dress code at all. However, you do not want to go purchase a bunch of clothes that you child cannot wear at school, so ask THEN shop.
- Bus information. Some districts supply 100% bus service, others do not. Find out which bus they will ride, and when to be at the bus stop, and when they will be home. Where is the bus stop?
- What time do they serve breakfast?
- When and how can you drop off or pick up your child? What is the traffic expectations for the school.
- What time does the TARDY and DISMISSAL bell ring?
- How much does lunch cost? Set up an account if possible. You can send money once a week or once a month. If you are not into school lunch, what are the rules about lunch kits?
One last tip: Make sure to ask to be able to TOUR the school, so your child will know where things are and what the building looks like. This will greatly reduce anxiety on the first day. If you can find out which class they will go to first thing on the first day, this will help. Not all schools allow this, however. Some post class assignments on a window the night before the first day. Be sure to find out how that works for that building.