Enrolling for Fall 2020
June 25, 2020
As summer begins, many families are evaluating their school choice options for Fall 2020. Schools are reporting much slower enrollment rates, especially for Kindergarten, and many parents are confused about what to do. The Covid-19 pandemic has made the process of exploring schools different from years past, but schools have responded by offering virtual tours, virtual parent information sessions, and online applications to make the process as easy as possible. As parents consider their options for this upcoming academic year, it is important to make a school choice decision as early as possible. That way, schools have accurate information to plan -- something that is important every year but even more so now, given health and safety guidelines. Below are some answers that address your questions and concerns about the enrollment process.
Why do I need to enroll my child in school?
State law requires that all students, grade 1 and above, be enrolled in some type of school (public, private, homeschool). As a parent, you can decide what school to enroll your child in, but each child must be accounted for by the Michigan Department of Education.
How do I explore schools for my child?
The first tool you can use is the Detroit Schools Guide! This resource is full of useful, up-to-date information and allows you to search for a school by grade, location, programs, and other criteria. You can learn about the various activities offered at the school and read about points of pride for the school. Each school listing also includes the school’s address, phone number, website, and the name of the school principal -- no need to go searching for that information yourself! Many have provided photos of their schools and students as well, showcasing their school spirit.
In addition to the Detroit Schools Guide, each individual school website offers a lot of information about the school. Many schools are hosting virtual tours so parents can ‘walk around’ the school building from the ease of their computer. Also, many schools are hosting virtual parent information sessions so parents can hear more about the school from the faculty and staff. Parents can request to get in contact with other parents in the school so they can understand more about the school from the parent perspective. Some schools even have student ambassador programs that connect current students with prospective students so students can talk to each other about their experiences.
How do I enroll my child during this period of closure due to the pandemic?
Most schools have their application available online and allow parents to fill it out and submit digitally. Some schools have a paper application, which can be received over email if you are not able to go to the school to fill it out. The best way to find out the process at your chosen school is to call the main office. Most schools’ front offices are open during the summer, and the best times to call are 10:00am to 1:00pm, since some are open for limited hours.
Enrollment processes require that parents submit certain documents, such as a birth certificate or Proof of Immunizations. Most schools have a process that allows parents to email these documents now and may ask parents to follow up and provide them in-person once the stay-at-home order is lifted.
When do I need to enroll my child in school?
NOW! Like they say, there is no time like the present! Schools use enrollment information to plan for class sizes, hiring teachers, ordering materials, creating schedules, and other operational tasks. When schools do not know how many students to expect, they can over budget or under budget, which means that students and teachers may not have what they need when school starts. It becomes very challenging for students and the school when the school needs to hire additional teachers or let go of teachers while the school year is in session. The same is true for materials and other school resources. Knowing who is enrolling allows the school to use the whole summer to prepare for the incoming class and new students, and it ensures a smoother school year for everyone. Currently, schools are planning for multiple scenarios regarding the Covid-19 pandemic, and it is critical that they have accurate enrollment information so each child can have all of the resources they need to be able to function properly and healthily in school. Please do your part by enrolling as soon as possible!