Grayslake Dist. 46 seeks to stop to last-minute student registration
Grayslake Elementary District 46 officials say they want to stem a trend of parents registering their children for school at the last minute before the start of classes.
Superintendent Ellen Correll said "the Labor Day phenomenon" may be a contributing factor in some parents not registering their children until the first day of school.
"Many families don't think they start school until Labor Day," Correll said at a meeting last week. "And Labor Day is so late this year."
District 46 students in grades 1 through 8 began the 2015-16 season Wednesday. Kindergarten students will start Thursday.
How many students will start the academic year in the district's seven schools is not immediately known because of the trend of last-minute registrations, officials said. An accurate enrollment figure matters because the correct number of teachers is needed in each building so class sizes are kept within reason, officials said.
Correll said 55 children were registered at the last minute at Woodview School in Grayslake a couple of years ago.
In discussing ideas on how to spur parents into registering their children before the first day of the new school year, board member Kathleen Parkinson recalled an effort she was part of when she worked for the Tempe Elementary School District in Arizona. She said teachers traveled on school buses into neighborhoods and placed fliers with registration reminders inside the doors of houses.
"It was kind of a nice team-building thing," Parkinson said.
District 46 board President Steven Strack said one solution could be allowing initial fee payment and registration online. Strack said parents then would go to central registration to obtain their children's class assignments.
Board member Tom Meskel said PTO leaders at schools could be enlisted to spread the word about the importance of the district knowing the anticipated number of students for planning purposes.
"You could say we're OK, we've got just about all of the kids except 8 (percent) or 9 percent, but any principal will tell you this drives them nuts those first couple days of school," Meskel said.
District 46 already provides detailed information about student registration in English and Spanish on its website. Correll said important dates also are listed on message boards outside of schools.
Registration was supposed to be completed Aug. 5 and 6. Families were directed to finish the process at central registration at Frederick School in Grayslake.
School board member David Northern said an increase in rental housing within the district's borders may be a factor. Northern has industry knowledge from his job as executive director of the Lake County Housing Authority.
"This is the moving season for families, so that's what it is," he said. "They don't worry about registering until the last minute. They move in and worry about getting their lights and gas on and things like that."