EDITOR’S NOTE: We will be following the Baker’s journey through the Champaign Unit 4 Schools kindergarten registration process. If you want general information about the Champaign kindergarten process and timelines, visit our overview for 2018 HERE. Read the Bakers’ first installment here.
By Amanda Baker
I’m ashamed. I put this whole process on the back burner until I found more time. Ha! I’m a busy mom of two, between parenting a four year old and a six month old, running my business, and running my house, kindergarten registration was just a low priority until it absolutely needed to get done.
But, we did manage to go to an open house and a tour. We visited the South Side open house in early February. There were several open houses that night, but we only had time to visit one school. It’s a two strand school that was highly recommended to me by some friends. It’s also on the docket for a big renovation to address current building challenges and student needs. Unit 4 unveiled the plan at an community info night on April 3. We met the two kindergarten teachers, saw the two classrooms, and walked around the school. We happen to run into one of my daughter’s preschool friends and her family. They got to play around in the gym for a bit.
While the open house was fine, the day-time school tour that my husband and I went to on the very last tour date in March was very helpful. We toured Bottenfield. It’s our number one choice, and our proximity, so we were eager to see it. It did not disappoint!
The tour was led by a staff member, four students from the student council, who were quite knowledgeable and friendly, and a Bottenfield parent. They led us through the school, we focused on the kindergarten hall and allowed us to walk into the classrooms. It was not hard to picture my daughter in the classroom with the other kids.
I happened to know the parent who went on the tour with us, so we were at ease asking her questions. We walked over to the lunch room, specialty classrooms, learned about the new playground that the Bottenfield PTA is raising money to build, and the Kids Plus program.
My husband and I filled out the registration form, which takes some time, so don’t try to do this with children running around. He dropped it off at the Family Information Center.
Bottenfield is really the no brainer for us, it’s proximity, it’s a late start, active PTA, and a well established beloved school it seems. But it’s small and competitive. My husband said that the staff member at the Family Information Center commented that Bottenfield had almost reached its capacity for next year, meaning that the number of parents who made Bottenfield their #1 choice was close to equal the amount of seats that Bottenfield has, and there was still 8 days until the end of registration.
According to the historical data this is typical for Bottenfield. Last year 114 parents made it their first choice, of which only 55 also had proximity. Forty-nine of those 55 students were awarded a seat at Bottenfield. If the numbers are similar this year, we have approximately a 90% chance of getting in. I’m liking our chances.
And now we wait to find out our assignment.
Here are our final fives: 1. Bottenfield; 2. Southside; 3. Barkstall; 4. International Prep; 5. Carrie Busey
Amanda Baker has been a proud member of the Chamabana community since 2009 with her husband, Seth, and two kiddos, Zoe and Luke. She’s the owner of Five Foot Productions (yes, it’s because she’s 5 feet tall), a local video production company. She has a Masters in Arts Journalism from Syracuse University.