Parents can begin contacting South-Western City School District elementary buildings on Monday, Feb. 4, to schedule kindergarten registration and screening appointments for the 2013-2014 school year.
Any child who will be 5 years old by Sept. 30, 2013, is eligible to enter kindergarten next school year, said Patrick Callaghan, executive director for elementary education.
"We don't turn anyone away," he said. "It's the parents' decision as to whether they think their child is ready for kindergarten."
Starting Feb. 4, parents should call the elementary school in their attendance area to schedule appointments for registration and screenings, Callaghan said.
Student registration appointments will be held between Feb. 13 and April 30 at the district's Student Enrollment Center, 4079 Gantz Road, Suite C2 in Grove City, he said. Children do not need to be present for this appointment.
"When you schedule the appointment, the school will send you a packet containing all the forms you need to fill out," Callaghan said.
Parents must bring to the registration appointment a signed lease or deed of property ownership and two current utility bills to prove their family lives in the district, or, if the child is living with someone other than a biological parent proof of custody or guardianship. The child's birth certificate must also be provided along with verification of immunizations.
Youngsters must have all of their immunizations completed before the start of school, Callaghan said.
Parents can indicate whether they prefer their child to follow the blue schedule, in which they attend kindergarten on Mondays and Thursdays or the green schedule, Tuesdays and Fridays. The two student groups also attend class on alternating Wednesdays.
The second step of the enrollment process involves scheduling a separate appointment for student screenings, which take place in May at a child's home school.
Children must be present for the screenings, which help identify students who have disabilities or special needs, Callaghan said.
A list of the screening dates at each school is available on the district website, swcs.us. Information is also posted on the doors of elementary schools and at local libraries, child care centers and preschools.
During the first week of school, students' math and literacy skills will be evaluated, Callaghan said.
"We wait until after school starts for those type of evaluations because the level of growth and development a child can undergo during the summer can be huge," he said.
The registration process is important to help the district gauge the number of kindergarten students that will be enrolled and teachers needed at each school, Callaghan said.
"We also do internal projections based on past enrollment trends," he said.
Because many students move within or into the district during the summer, or some parents forget or neglect to register their child, as many as one-third of incoming kindergarten students are not registered during the designated time frame, Callaghan said.
This year, the district has about 1,500 kindergarten students, he said.
The registration period "is always an exciting time for us," Callaghan said. "It's exciting to see these children prepare to begin school."