Superintendent's Corner

Consider the choices when enrolling your kids in school

Happy new year 2018, and welcome back for the final stretch of our school year.

I had an opportunity to visit with my niece this holiday season and "talk shop" about our much-loved profession: education. It was fun to talk with her not just because she is an enthusiastic second-year teacher, but also because she is a kindergarten teacher. Her energy and enthusiasm for her young students reminded me of how important those early years are for our children. The excitement I saw in her I've also observed in our kindergarten teachers here in Eagle County Schools.

This week we begin kindergarten registration for the 2018-19 school year. It's always an exciting time for parents, schools and our future students. If you have a child entering kindergarten next year, then we hope your family will choose to enroll in your community school. That first school experience will capture your child's interest and heart.

Online registration began on Monday, Jan. 8, and closes on Friday, Feb. 16. If you have a youngster who is of kindergarten age, please check out our district website, www.eagle schools.net/registration, for all of the details about registration.

There is a schedule of open houses for families to explore and learn more about the kindergarten programs at each school. We encourage families to consider their community school, the school designated based on where they live, as the first choice for their children. Attending a school close to home helps children and their families develop friendships and a strong sense of connection to their neighborhood, year-round.

During this same timeframe, the district is also offering its open enrollment request window. Open enrollment provides the opportunity for families to request a school of their choice if they prefer options other than their community school. Families choose open enrollment for a variety of reasons, including school-specific programs, greater convenience for a parent's work schedule or location or attending a school where a sibling already attends.

Open enrollment requests are considered based on space and staffing availability at the school. Families are responsible for providing transportation for their children to the choice school. A few exceptions to the transportation rule include all children attending Red Sandstone Elementary School at Maloit Park next year and students with special education needs. Though space availability is not guaranteed, we make every effort to accommodate our families' requests.

Open enrollment requests must be completed online by the Feb. 16 deadline. Please feel free to visit your community school or school of choice if you want to explore your options, take a tour or need assistance. Students currently attending a school under open enrollment do not need to reapply and may matriculate to the next grade or school level. Families choosing open enrollment to a school other than their community school will be notified of their placement at the end of March.

There are additional steps for parents inquiring about Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy, our district's magnet school for students qualifying for competitive snow sports; Red Canyon High School West and East, which offer an alternative high school program; or Eagle County Charter Academy. All of these schools require additional steps in the open enrollment process. Please contact these schools directly for more specific information on registration steps and deadlines.

At Eagle County Schools, our goal is to provide exceptional community schools in every neighborhood, as well as a variety of educational options to accommodate all of our students' needs. I encourage you to visit our schools and see what great things are happening for kids in Eagle County Schools.

Maggie Lopez, Ph.D., is the interim superintendent of Eagle County Schools. She can be reached at margarita.lopez@eagleschools.net.