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Schools expect 12K to register

LAWRENCEVILLE - While Gwinnett County Public Schools students are counting down the days until summer break (26 including today), children who will be 5 years old by Sept. 1 will soon be registering for kindergarten.

The school system expects 12,679 kindergartners for the 2008-09 school year. The enrollment for the district is projected to be 159,661, an increase of more than 4,000 students.

Kindergarten registration will take place May 1 at the elementary school the child will attend this August, with the exception of the three new schools currently under construction, said Jorge Quintana, a school district spokesman. Kindergartners who will attend Trip, Puckett's Mill or Rosebud elementary schools should be registered at the school they were zoned to attend before the new attendance boundaries were approved.

Although children can be registered after May 1, school system officials are encouraging parents to enroll their children that day.

"It's very important for parents to (register their children for kindergarten) before the summer so students can participate in summer activities," Quintana said.

Many elementary schools plan activities such as kindergarten camps to get children ready for their first day of school on Aug. 11.

Parents who are unsure which school their child will attend should call the Planning Department at 678-301-7085. The school system has also posted information about kindergarten registration on its Web site, www.gwinnett.k12.ga.us, under the "2008 Countdown to Kindergarten" link.

Parents and guardians should bring the following to kindergarten registration:

n Their child. Schools may offer activities or screenings on registration day. Check with local schools for details.

n A copy of a prekindergarten progress report if the child has attended a state prekindergarten program. This can be helpful information for the child's new kindergarten teacher.

n An official document showing proof of the child's birth date. Examples include an original birth certificate or birth registration, an official state or federal form with date of birth, or a passport.

n Evidence of vision, hearing and dental exams obtained in the past year. This information should be on Georgia Form No. 3300, available from the health department or a physician and dentist. Letters from appropriate health care professionals and out-of-state certificates are acceptable, if completed within the last 12 months and stapled to the state form.

n A Georgia certificate of immunization. State form No. 3231 must be completed by the health department or a private physician. Required shots include the series for Hepatitis B, DPT and polio; an MMR shot, plus additional mumps and measles shots or a second MMR, or health care provider documentation of illness; and two doses of the varicella (chicken pox) vaccine or documentation of illness. A valid Form No. 3231 must be marked in the box with either "Complete for School Attendance" or "Date of Expiration." By state law, a valid immunization form or immunization exemption (for medical or religious reasons) is required for enrollment. You may request an exemption form from your school. For more information, visit www.gwinnetthealth.com and click on "Immunizations."

n Proof that the family lives in the school's attendance zone. Examples include a non-contingent sales contract, lease or deed. A lease or deed must be accompanied by at least one utility bill (excluding telephone bills) with the same address. A contingency contract is not acceptable. If you live with a friend or family member and need information about verifying your current address, call your local school.

n Proof of custody or guardianship. A letter of guardianship is required for registration if the enrolling adult is not the birth parent. To learn more, call the Gwinnett County Probate Court at 770-822-8265.

n The child's Social Security number. State law requires that schools ask for this number at the time of enrollment. Students will be enrolled even if the number is not provided. However, parents not providing a number will be asked to sign a waiver.

n Photo identification. The school may ask the enrolling adult to present a photo ID.

Other public school districts will also begin kindergarten registration soon.

Parents can register kindergartners at Buford Elementary from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. April 29, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 8 and 5 to 7 p.m. May 13.

In Barrow County, kindergarten registration takes place from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 5 to 16 at the Professional Development Center at 179 W. Athens St. in Winder. The exact day depends on which elementary school a child will attend. For more information, visit www.barrow.k12.ga.us.

SideBar: Enrollment history

School Year/Total Enrollment/Kindergarten Enrollment

2003-04/129,014/10,498

2004-05/135,392/11,020

2005-06/144,598/11,817

2006-07/152,044/12,288

2007-08/155,618/12,410

2008-09*/159,661/12,679