When should I sign up my child for elementary school?

hello all,

I am a new parent and quite confused about when to visit schools and register etc. my son is 15 months old and I already have some friends telling me that I should have already made my school choice and gotten on  a waiting list! when I inquired at montclair elementary they told me it was way too early and I would have to wait till my toddler was at least 4 years old . can someone provide some information and guidance for me ?



Parent Replies

New responses are no longer being accepted.

Public school?  You're way too early. Private?  It's not time to actually apply, but may be time to make inquiries / get on "interested" wait lists, as appropriate. You'll need to explore each school individually if you're considering private. A call or visit to your school district will help with public, but again, not yet!  Preschools are a whole different ball of wax (your friends are absolutely correct that you need to be getting on preschool waiting lists now), but you mention visiting an elementary school, so there seems to be some confusion there. My answers above are for elementary school (again, because you mention visiting one). Good luck. 

Maybe your friends were talking pre-k or private schools? 

OUSD has a lottery system with preference given to those zoned in the neighborhood school,. (ie. Live in the Peralta neighborhood zone, priority given as a neighbor residing in that zone). That said, some schools don't have space for all the neighbors. 

A child enters as either TK or Kindergarten depending on their birthday.

You apply to the lottery options the Dec/Jan before your kiddo turns 5 (a Dec TK kid may be slightly different).

Tours typically start the month before (Nov). It's preferred to attend without children, and many/most schools require reservations. 

You get to list 6 lottery picks, and hold your breath for 3 months until march, and hopefully don't have to appeal. 

In my experience, there are school tours that you can attend in November or December before the school year in which your child would start kindergarten. Then you register in January. I would look at the school's website and see if you can get on their mailing list. I would have missed enrollment if my neighbor hadn't told me the date. You can also stalk the school's website the year before kindergarten.

I think that your friends are probably referring to preschool programs, particularly if you want your child to attend a fancy private school. Some of those are fed by specific preschools with waiting lists.

Wow, not sure what schools are to which your friends are referring unless they are private schools? Within OUSD, there is one option (well, technically two, but I don't know many folks who do nothing and just enroll the kid into any available space come August). Most folks apply through the Options process, which opens in early December and closes mid-January for the next school year, whereby you can select up to six elementary schools (which should include your neighborhood school if that's one of the schools you'd consider). You'll be notified of what school your kid is enrolled in by mid-March (there's a whole process to appeal, etc.) The youngest your kid can be to enroll (through Options or not) is four years-old with a birthday between 9/2 and 12/2 the year they'd be attending school for transitional kindergarten, or a four-year old with a birth date before 9/2 for kindergarten. Charter schools have a separate application process and are due mid-February, with the same age restrictions.