Enrolling your first child into Kindergarten and wondering what paperwork you’ll need?
Here’s how it will go down and what you need to gather before they just hand over your enrollment packet.
Note: This information applies to enrolling in your neighborhood public school. It will be a slightly different process to enroll in a charter, magnet, or specialized school such as a language immersion, although aside from the first step, much of the paperwork requirements will be similar.
Also note that the more desirable (full) the school is, the more stringent you can expect the paperwork requirements to be. On the contrary, an under-enrolled school might be a little more lax about paperwork requirements for incoming students. Ok, let’s get started.
The first and biggest step is Proof of Residency
You will need to bring a recent utility bill such as your DWP, Edison or Gas Co bill, (NOT a phone bill), showing your address lies within the attendance area of the school. Some schools, in addition to the utility bill, will also need to see a rental/lease agreement, escrow papers or homeowners property tax bill, or some other official US Government mail (IRS, Social Security, CA State tax) with the same residential address. Most schools need one or both of the above AND you will also need to show your CA Driver’s License that matches the address. Copies will be made and kept on file.
Having just renewed my drivers license and asked them this very question recently, by law you are required to update any change of residential address within 10 days of moving. Your drivers license should reflect your current residential address, not a mailing address. (I know many people don’t follow that rule, but that is the law.)
If you have just moved over the summer, get your driver’s license taken care of ASAP so you have no problem enrolling. For what it’s worth, my drivers license renewal came within about a week to 10 days of turning in the paperwork at the DMV.
You will also need to show Proof of Child’s Birthdate
In order to prove your child has met the state’s Kindergarten Age Requirement, you will need to present your child’s birth certificate, passport, or baptism certificate showing proof of age. CA state law requires your child must turn 5 by September 1 in order to enroll in Kindergarten that fall.
Once you pass those two hurdles, (Proof of Residence and Proof of Child’s Birthdate), you will be handed your enrollment packet. Thud.
I will not lie to you, for Kindergarten it is usually about a stack of forms 1″ thick, somewhat intimidating, with many different pages of requests for info and documents to sign. You will have until just before the start of school to get that baby turned in. (For LAUSD that is mid-August!) The earlier you do this, the better. Don’t wait until the day before school starts.
In the enrollment packet you will be asked for general family contact information, immunization records including dates administered, healthcare provider and insurance carrier info, other health history questions including developmental milestones (just do the best you can to fill in all the Qs), last dental visit info, home language survey, an emergency contact card – where you list relatives and who to call if they can’t reach you in an emergency situation, previous school enrollment info, release of records and transcripts if you are transferring into a grade higher than Kinder, a meal application to see if you qualify for free/reduced lunch, a blanket release authorization should your child be photographed and the district wants to use it, and likely the school’s bell schedule and events calendar will also be included.
You might also find additional requests for info from the PTA/PTO or Booster Club including parent liaison/room parent contacts, opportunities to join committees and such, opportunities for summer family meet ups, and a school roster info request. If the school is uber-organized, they may even start hitting you up for money for their annual giving campaign or invite you to upcoming fundraiser events.
Let me tell you, this pack of paperwork is not something you can just stand at the counter and fill out. You will definitely need to take all this home, gather the necessary information and fill it all out, then bring it back to the school office before the start of the school year.
Just a heads up, most school offices tend to open up about 2-3 weeks before the start of school, and will be shut down for most of July.
And, remember, you are not officially enrolled until you have submitted all your paperwork to the office and they have added you to their system.
If you’re looking ahead to next year, most neighborhood schools hold a “Kindergarten Roundup” sometime in early spring (late February to mid-March) where local residents meet the principal, hear a pitch about the school, some of the kids may perform or special projects are displayed prominently, and the parent organization extends the welcome wagon out to incoming neighborhood families. With proof of residency, you can pick up your enrollment packet right then and there and get started filling that out.
If you just moved into the neighborhood this summer, get on that enrollment packet asap.
Hope you found this helpful. Good luck!