Five Steps to Enrolling Your Kindergarten Student in Urbana Schools
In this community, there’s a lot of discussion and information regarding the Champaign Unit 4 Schools of Choice kindergarten registration process. We write all about it, starting in January, giving out important dates and information. We are now following a family as they evaluate the options and navigate the 12 different elementary schools for their Champaign kindergarten student.
If your family lives in the Urbana school district, you may be wondering: how do I get my child registered for kindergarten?
In Urbana, getting a child registered for kindergarten is bit more straightforward. But if you’re new to the community or this is your first child headed to kindergarten, there’s a learning curve regardless of the district.
We spoke with Andrea Jackson, Family Engagement & Curriculum Coordinator at Urbana School District 116, to get the skinny on the Urbana schools kindergarten registration process. We’ve broken it down into five steps.
- STEP 1: Figure out your child’s “home school,” based on the map below. In Urbana, children are assigned to schools by where they live; the concept of neighborhood schools is alive and well. See the map below, which is up to date as of today’s posting. Use this map to figure out which school your child will attend; there are six elementary schools in Urbana.
- STEP 2: Investigate the dual language program (optional). Urbana is well known for excellence in its dual language programs. It has six dual language kindergarten classrooms, including five Spanish/English classrooms and one French/English. Schools that support the Dual Language program are Leal Elementary School (Spanish/English), Dr. Preston L. Williams Jr Elementary School (Spanish/English) and Yankee Ridge Elementary School (French/English 1).Families must apply for admission into the dual language program; three forums will be held to address parent questions about the process. The Spanish Dual Language Parent Informational Forum will be held at Leal at Feb. 27 from 5-6 pm; the French Dual Language Parent Informational Forum will be held from 7-8 pm on March 6 at Yankee Ridge. The second Spanish Dual Language Parent Informational Forum will be held on March 27 from 6 to 7 pm at Williams. The dual language application is due Friday, April 12.
- STEP 3: Visit your home school (optional). Urbana schools offer families the opportunity to visit and observe kindergarten classes. Leal has open visitation days, without an appointment; other schools request that parents visit by appointment only. Each school has its own kindergarten transition contact, more information is available HERE.
- STEP 4: Attend Kindergarten Connection in early April to pre-register. A kindergarten pre-registration event, known as Kindergarten Connection, is held for Urbana students in April (this year April 4 at Lincoln Square Mall, CLICK FOR MORE INFO. There are many documents to bring, so plan ahead). Each family attending Kindergarten Connection will receive a bag full of activities and materials to take home to your child. Staff will be available to guide and answer questions throughout the process.
“Any parents that may miss Kindergarten Connection, they can pre-register their child at their neighborhood school,” Jackson said. “They will take that preregistration up until the end of the current school year.”
- STEP 5: Urbana’s centralized registration event is the final step to getting to the kindergarten registration finish line. Towards the end of summer (typically the last week of July or early August), USD #116 hosts its Centralized Registration event, which is where families officially register their students, pay fees, learn about afterschool programs and much more. This is also when the district collects its standard $100 registration fee per student; if your family qualifies for free/reduced lunch, this fee may be reduced or waived.During centralized registration, kindergarten screenings will be held.
“The screening is to give us a base line of the skills the child know coming into kindergarten so we can support their academic growth,” Jackson said. “Social workers will do an interview with parents, so parents can say if there’s any special needs the school should know about ahead of time.”
Jackson said that a frequent question parents ask her is about the petition process, which allows parents to request that their child get assigned to a school other than their “home” school. That petition form is found at the central district office; families don’t find out the results of such requests until after centralized registration. “Principals have to get together and figure out how many students have registered, it’s really a numbers game,” Jackson said. Petitions have to be filed every year, she said.
More on getting your child ready for kindergarten: