Vail Daily column: Getting a good start | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily column: Getting a good start

Jason E. Glass
Valley Voices

Many of our families may still be emerging from the haze of holiday bliss, but the new year is coming up on us quickly and that means registration for kindergarten students wishing to attend any elementary schools that are part of Eagle County Schools. It’s also a time when parents who wish to have their student attend a school other than their community school can request a spot through a process we call open enrollment.

For the upcoming 2016-17 school year, we’ve merged the timelines for kindergarten registration and open enrollment into the same window, which runs from Jan. 4 through Feb. 8. Registering for kindergarten or for open enrollment during this time frame gives your student the best probability of attending their school of choice within the district. We do accept and look at late requests after this date, but requesting during this time period provides families the greatest number of options.

All the information families need for kindergarten registration and open enrollment can be found on the Eagle County Schools website at http://www.eagleschools.net/registration. That page includes an overview of both of these processes as well as detailed guidebooks (in English and Spanish) to walk families through the steps.

Our registration and enrollment is now completed online so parents can complete it at a time and location of their convenience. However, office staff at every school has also been trained to support parents on completing this process if they need additional support. Parents can come to any of our community schools and get assistance in completing the process.

For kindergarten families, our elementary schools will host open houses in January where you can visit and learn more about the programming at each school. Principals and key school staff will be on hand to answer questions about the school and parents can get a feel for the educational environment. The dates for these open houses are listed on the registration Web page so check those out now and mark your calendars!

Open enrollment is the process families use if they wish to have their child attend a school other than their community school. Eagle County Schools supports school choice options for our families. There are a variety of reasons a family might choose a different school other than their closest community school. Sometimes, one school’s academic programming is attractive or a better fit. In other cases, the choice has to do with the parent’s work commuting patterns. Sometimes, it has to do with siblings or friends. In any case, we leave those choices up to families.

Limitations on open enrollment are based on availability at the school (both in terms of physical space and staffing limitations) and do note that families of students who open enroll are responsible for their own transportation. We have some schools that will turn students away due to available space constraints, but we do try to accommodate every family’s requests. Again, making your preferences known during the open enrollment window of Jan. 4 through Feb. 8 is the best way of getting your first choice.

A few of our schools have special enrollment steps that need to be followed. The Eagle County Charter Academy and Edwards Elementary School have lotteries that determine who gets into the school. Red Canyon High School is an alternative high school program, focusing on students who need a different educational environment than the traditional high school. And, the Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy operates as a magnet school for students wishing to compete at a high level in snowsports. Each of these schools has special enrollment procedures and you should contact the school directly to learn more about enrolling in these schools.

Our unshakable goal in Eagle County is to have an abundance of high quality options for families to consider in every community. If you have a Kindergarten student who will be attending school next year or if you wish to enroll in a school option through open enrollment, take note of the enrollment window of Jan. 4 through Feb. 8 and learn more at http://www.eagleschools.net/registration.

Final determinations will be made in February and March and families will be notified of their placement no later than March 31. We are excited about this time of year and believe #ecsrocks! Welcome aboard!

Jason E. Glass is the superintendent of Eagle County Schools. He can be reached at jason.glass@eagleschools.net.