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Kindergarten pre-registration is now open

By MEGHAN BRADBURY - | Oct 6, 2021

news@breezenewspapers.com

Pre-registration has opened for children who will enter kindergarten in the fall.

The School District of Lee County opened its kindergarten pre-registration for August 2022 on Monday. Pre-registration gives parents an opportunity to secure a seat at an elementary school where a sibling is already attending, as well as beating the lengthy wait times during traditional student enrollment.

Parents can pre-register their child, who must be 5 years old on, or before Sept. 1, 2022 until Nov. 30. District Spokesperson Rob Spicker said they want more families to participate in the pre-registration as it is a time saver and helpful to the district to be ahead of the curve when open enrollment begins in January.

The documents needed include a physical exam dated within the last year; Florida certificate of immunization; proof of address; original birth certificate; Social Security card if available; custody documents if applicable; parent photo ID and a registration form, which can be found at https://bit.ly/3ug6gY6.

The easiest way to complete the pre-registration is by emailing the documents to studentenrollment@leeschools.net with kindergarten pre-registration in the subject line.

Parents also can mail the documents, submit it by fax to (239) 335-1417, or place it in the secure drop box outside the Student Enrollment Office entrance, which is located inside the Lee County Public Education Center, 2855 Colonial Blvd., Fort Myers. Individuals can also stop by the office from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“Last year we had 2,500 new kindergarten students who could have secured a seat in the same K-5 elementary school as their older siblings by registering early, and only 500 did so,” Student Enrollment Executive Director Soretta Ralph said in a prepared statement. “Some of those remaining 2,000 kindergartners are attending different schools than their brother or sister right now because they waited until open enrollment or later to register. Every family can avoid that happening to them by taking advantage of pre-registration and enrolling their incoming kindergartner now.”

Spicker said they anticipate between 5,000 to 6,000 new kindergarten students every year. If the district can reach the majority of those students during pre-registration, that will make open enrollment that much easier.

“If you have a 4-year-old that is going to start kindergarten, register now, or through open enrollment. If you come to us after all that is over it is going to be difficult to give you the school of choice,” he said.

The district uses a parental “choice” system for school assignment but gives priority for a child to attend a “first choice” school if a sibling is already attending that school or if the child lives within a designated proximity. Otherwise, depending on seat availability, a child may be assigned to a school other than the parent’s first choice within their school zone.

The biggest advantage to pre-registration, Spicker said is when there is a sibling already enrolled at the school. The family is more likely to get sibling guarantee of attending the same school, he said.

“The longer you wait, the harder the sibling preference becomes,” Spicker said. “If they come to us in June, July and August we will only be able to put them in schools where there is room.”

He said the district knows siblings at different schools happens at the high school level as there are different choices, but in elementary school he would think parents would want their children at the same location for the simplicity.

“With the sibling preference we may be able to go ahead and lock that in if you register early,” Spicker said.