School Enrollment / Early Childhood Learning / Ages 2-18

What Parents Need to Know About School Registration

If you have a 4 year old getting ready for kindergarten, or you’ve recently moved, you might be wondering about school registration. Here’s what you need to know.

School registration can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re new to the country or recently moved to a new city or town. While registration requirements can vary between school districts, most districts require the same types of documents in order to register your child. (If you don’t have all of these things, don’t worry! Scroll down to the bottom for some further tips.)

School registration for new families usually opens several months before the new school year. (So if your child will be ready for kindergarten in the fall, you’ll register them in the previous winter or spring.) Depending on the school district where you live, you might be assigned a school based on your current address, or you might be asked to list a few choices of schools for your child. If you’ve just moved to the area and the school year is starting very soon or already underway, you can still enroll your child. Your school district will identify an open seat in the appropriate grade to place your child.

Here’s a checklist of what you’ll usually need to register your child for school:


Proof of residency.

This could be a lease, a Section 8 agreement, or a recent mortgage payment slip. It could also be a utility bill, like your electric or gas bill, with your current address on it. A bank statement with your address or a letter from a government agency (like Child and Family Services, Youth Services, or Transitional Services) can also work for proof of address. It’s a good idea to have a few of these available since you will often need more than one to register your child.


Proof of your child’s birthday.

Use your child’s birth certificate, passport (from any country), or I-94 form to prove their date of birth.


Your child’s immunization records.

Your pediatrician can provide you with a printed or emailed letter showing the dates of all your child’s immunizations. Since school districts vary in the required vaccinations, it’s a good idea to check what vaccines your child needs in order to enroll.


A record of your child’s most recent physical exam.

Your child’s pediatrician can also provide this document. If your child has an upcoming check-up but you have to register for school beforehand, ask their pediatrician for a record of last year’s visit. You can supply the school nurse with the updated form after your child’s next appointment.


Your own photo identification.

This could be a driver’s license, passport (from any country), or other government-issued ID.

“But what if we don’t have some or any of these documents?”

First, don’t worry. Your child is guaranteed a public education by law. If you’re new to the country, are living in temporary or unstable housing, or are experiencing other circumstances that make it impossible to provide some or all of these documents, go to your local school anyway. The school will ask questions and determine how to place your child in the appropriate grade and classroom. (Any documents you have related to your child's prior educational experience will be helpful in finding the right placement for your child, but are not required.) Here is some additional information on enrolling your child in school if you are currently living in an unstable housing situation.

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