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Enrolling Your Child in School

Enrolling your child in an American public school requires a few simple steps.

You will need your child’s birth certificate, passport, or other proof of birth, age, and name. Your child’s social security card may be required. You will also need some proof that you actually live in the school district. Commonly this is a driver’s license, an apartment lease, a real estate tax bill, or a telephone, electric, or cable television bill.

Nearly every school district requires some health information in order to enroll your child. Most common is proof your child has undergone certain immunizations. The school will often have a special form for your child’s doctor to fill out and sign. Districts also have varying immunization requirements for students depending on age, so you will need to coordinate this with your doctor. In some districts, you may also need to provide dental records.

In order to avoid confusion, it pays to make a query to the school well in advance of the beginning of the school year. This way, you will know exactly which documents you must bring, the office you must go to, and the date and time enrollment is open. Some districts allow early registration to accommodate parents who work.

If your child is transferring from another school, you will need to arrange for his or her records to be transferred.

Note, importantly, that there are no citizenship requirements, either for you or for your child, to enroll your child in a public school. Schools do have age requirements, however. Commonly a child needs to be aged five by a certain date to enter kindergarten, age six to enter the first grade, and so forth.

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