Everything I learned about kindergarten registration

By Oblivious MaMa

Well, that’s done. Filled out numerous forms and signed the kid up for kindergarten. Tip #1: Check to see if you can fill out forms online first!

Kindergarten registration: Definitely not as stressful an oblivious mama would think!

Where I live, you can enroll your children in any public school. That doesn’t mean the little one will get in, though. Siblings of current students, faculty offspring and in-district residents get first dibs (in that order). But if it’s a charter school, it ends up in a computer lottery of luck.

We checked out four kindergartens after perusing sites like Great Schools and Colorado School Grades, talking to her teacher and our neighbors, and attending the parent information night (usually in January). Narrowed it down to four: Our neighborhood one with declining test scores, another nearby one with excellent test scores, one arts-magnate school and one charter school.

The kid got into all of them!

I’m told this isn’t typical. Especially at the charter school, where she was picked in the first round of the lottery. When we put her name on the list two weeks before the lottery, there were already 250 eager young folk vying for 25 spots. Yes, very discouraging math for a sibling-less kid of non teachers. I met a mother whose daughter attends the same charter school who advised me to keep pestering the school long after the lottery. She did and her kid eventually won. Her kid got called after Labor Day. She’d already started kindergarten at another school!

Crazy lady! At least that’s what I would have said if you told me the story pre-kids. Now I just say, “Am I that crazy lady?” Thank goodness I don’t have to answer that just yet.

We tend not to be lucky.  So, we went ahead an enrolled her at the nearby, high-test-scoring, neighborhood school. And we were getting comfortable with the idea. A 9 a.m. (!) start time (which goes through 5th grade), less than a mile away, accessible by a hiking trail, beaucoup academic awards….

Dot markers. Cool stuff!

Of course, the main attraction personally was a teacher. During the parent-info night, kids were invited. Teachers talked up the program and set out blocks to distract the kids from distracting parents. My kid said “Meh” and stuck by us, wandering in circles and doing what all bored little girls do. Until one teacher beckoned my little artist and showered her with dot markers and paper. Wow, we thought, very observant.

Ultimately, we learned that we weren’t just looking for a good kindergarten, but a positive experience for our child years after the Big K. The further-away arts-magnate school was enticing but only went to 5th grade so she’d have to start over with new friends in middle school. The neighborhood schools are both highly recommended, diverse, close and, well, very good overall. But when offered a chance to get into a top-rated school that lasts till 8th grade …read more

Source: Oblivious MaMa


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