Officials urge parents to enroll new students soon

Uncertain numbers make it hard to assign students to classrooms

Posted: Thursday, August 17, 2000

Kathy Lorenz, who moved here from Sitka this summer, watched the Juneau School Districts cable television channel to know when to register her two daughters for classes.

Its a lot easier than I thought it was going to be, Lorenz said Tuesday at Dzantiki Heeni Middle School. I was dreading the process because were new to Juneau.

School district officials wish everyone was as conscientious about registering promptly for school. The district set aside Tuesday to register kindergartners and other new students in the elementary and middle schools. New high school students should register today.

Its too early to say what this years enrollment will be. There were 5,387 students in the school district toward the end of last school year. An official count in October determines the amount of state funding.

But principals will assign students to classrooms soon, and they need to know how many students they have. Schools look for a balance of sex and ethnicity in homerooms and classrooms. They also need to know whether new students have special needs.

We really want to know if the number ranges enough that I need an additional teacher, said Les Morse, principal at Dzantiki Heeni Middle School.

The district prefers to add teachers before school starts because it disrupts the children to have one teacher for a few days and then switch to another classroom, Morse said.

Last year, a surge of students just before the school year forced Harborview Elementary to add a teacher at the last minute.

Please get in as early as possible, said Cyndy Gulyas, an administrative assistant at Harborview. For a kindergartner, its a new beginning. Lets try to make it as smooth and comfortable as possible. And of course for a transferring student, change can be difficult, and the earlier theyre in to register and get familiar with the environment, the better.

Schools have information about bus schedules, lunch programs, the RALLY before- and after-school program and student activities. The schools will be open their usual hours from now on to register students.

New students also need time to get the required shots.

Chris Erickson, a nurse at Harborview, said incoming kindergartners usually still need a polio shot and a shot for diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough. Students transferring from other states often dont have the required second mumps, measles and rubella shot, she said.

The Juneau Public Health Center, at 3412 Glacier Highway, is holding a free shot clinic noon to 5 p.m. from Aug. 22-25. Parents should bring the childs shot records.

Tests for tuberculosis, which are required for kindergartners, seventh-graders and students new to the district, will be offered on Aug. 22 and 23.

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