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Have you had your kindergarten roundup yet?

Grout_school
I'm not great with details, I'll admit it, and dimly recalled that March was the month to register kids for kindergarten in the fall. Wasn't I surprised a few days ago when I stopped by my neighborhood Starbucks and saw a flier for kindergarten roundup at Grout Elementary -- where Everett will be going in the fall -- and saw that it was Thursday, February 15 (at 6:30, if anyone's in my neighborhood). Gulp.

That's when I started Googling for the district-wide calendar [pdf link] and realized, much to my consternation, that the "roundup" had already passed for most schools in the city. Never fear, though, if you're the parent of a kindergartener-to-be at schools including Abernethy, Atkinson, Bridger, Creston, Hayhurst, Humboldt, Irvington, James John, Kelly, Lewis, Llewellyn, Markham, Peninsula, Rigler, Rosa Parks, Scott, Whitman, Woodmere, or Woodstock, you still have time to make it -- barely. Most of the roundups are this week or next week, so make sure and give your local school a call or check the link.

Of course, you can always register for your neighborhood school, even if it's the day before the school year begins next September. And I'm not even sure what happens at these roundups, but I understand it's harder to get into full-day kindergarten (free at many neighborhood schools, like Grout) if you don't register early. If you're interested in entering the lottery for special programs like language immersion or charter schools, you'll need to start filling out forms now.

Although I'm very eager for Everett to start school and I'm happy with my neighborhood choice, I'm terrified -- I feel behind the ball already! Anyone want to report on kindergarten roundup and help ease my fears?

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We're also considering, maybe not entirely seriously about the Richmond Elementary Japenese Immersion pre-K program. Anyone with experience with this program?

Many schools have secondary open houses in case you missed the first one. There is a list here for elementary and middle schools:
http://www.enrollment.pps.k12.or.us/.docs/pg/400/rid/12284/f/e_ES_MS_MM_INFO_07.pdf

I went to quite a few of these last year while looking for kindergarten for my daughter. It was overwhelming, especially since my neighborhood school was one of the last open houses, and I didn't know what I'd think about it. If it is your local school you are visiting, they'll give you a complete registration packet, and it is a nice time to see the classrooms, meet the principal, see your neighbors, and possibly meet the teachers.
As someone who was shopping for schools, I liked seeing the classrooms, getting a feel for what priorities the teachers had in each school. It was also nice hearing the intro talk about the schools main focus, and what different programs they have.

One of the really important things to keep in mind as you go through this process is that you aren't just looking for kindergarten, you are looking for a school for the next 6 or 9 years, depending on the K-5 versus K-8 makeup of the school. Just because you love the teacher that you meet, make sure that the program (and possible commute) are the place for you in the long run.

I mentioned this in a previous school posting, but in case you missed it, here is a list of the predicted transfer slot openings for next school year:
http://www.enrollment.pps.k12.or.us/.docs/pg/11815

PPS has a number of PreK programs to consider too. Both half day and full day programs, some are language immersion. Most are in N or NE neighborhoods, and most are free. Children must be 4 by September 1, 2007 to be eligible. Application deadline is March 23rd.

http://www.earlyed.pps.k12.or.us/www.pps.k12.or.us/depts/kindergarten/prekindergarten/pk_options.html

We've been really interested in exploring the many alternative education options PPS offers. I noticed that Portland Village School will be a new Waldorf-inspired public charter school that opens in Sept 2007: http://www.portlandvillageschool.org/

Also, today's paper had an article about the Creative Science School: http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/portland_news/117142532269830.xml&coll=7&thispage=2 and it also sounds like an interesting option.

It can all be a little overwhelming ...

Has anyone here every considered Ainsworth's Spanish immersion program. I never hear it mentioned, but I think it is worth people considering even though it may be a trek for some of you: It is right on a bus line and though it is in the west hills, it is really on about a minute or two from PGE park.

The key thing to remember with Ainsworth Spanish immersion is that you are guaranteed that your child will continue in the Lincoln cluster all the way through high school--and it is next to impossible to get into Lincoln which has consistently been the high performer in PPS (Plus, your child has the ultimate urban high school experience).

Although this may seem a conventional route to some, I thought some of you might appreciate a heads-up.

Has anyone here every considered Ainsworth's Spanish immersion program. I never hear it mentioned, but I think it is worth people considering even though it may be a trek for some of you: It is right on a bus line and though it is in the west hills, it is really on about a minute or two from PGE park.

The key thing to remember with Ainsworth Spanish immersion is that you are guaranteed that your child will continue in the Lincoln cluster all the way through high school--and it is next to impossible to get into Lincoln which has consistently been the high performer in PPS (Plus, your child has the ultimate urban high school experience).

Although this may seem a conventional route to some, I thought some of you might appreciate a heads-up.

We looked into Ainsworth last year. It used to be relatively easy to get into from outside the neighborhood, but not so anymore.

Ick. I went to kindergarten roundup last night, bringing Everett's social security number with me and patting myself on the back for being so involved. after the opening activities (multi-cultural dinner in the cafeteria, inexplicable assembly with 3rd- and 4th-graders playing the violin and a slideshow that incoming kindergarteners couldn't possibly read), I went downstairs to the kindergarten rooms. There was a sign-up sheet outside, empty but for one other name. A little "31" was written in pencil in the upper right corner.

"You haven't registered yet?" the secretary said, seeming a bit bemused. That "31" was the number of people, out of 24 possible spots, already registered for full-day kindergarten, with the much-loved "Teacher Bob." I wrote Everett's name on the list, picked up the forms, and in I went to meet Bob. He was great. Everett loved his classroom.

A little while later we went into the other, half-day teacher's classroom. It made me sad, in comparison to Bob's bright, interesting room. The teacher was the sort of woman who talks to adults like children and children like babies. She won't get Everett, I'm sure. Another mom came in with her little girl. "We came really early on the 5th," she said, "but we're still not in the first 24. I had to come and meet you just in case!"

Evidently (I learn now), if you're in a school district where the choice between kindergarten teachers and programs matters to you, you must go on the first day of registration and be standing in line at the front door, immunization records and proof of residency in hand (driver's license won't work, but utility bills, proof of insurance, real estate documentation, etc. will), when the office opens.

How are you supposed to know this? Geez, I suck. Anyway, now I'm faced with the sinking feeling that I *must* get Everett into fullday by hook or crook. Do you think school secretaries accept bribes of handknit hats and lovingly-baked cupcakes?

I have a couple of friends whose children are in the Japanese program at Richmond and are really happy there.

We are looking into the Mandarin program at Woodstock, but are afraid that we won't get in. They give priority to siblings, then to folks who live in the neighborhood. All other available seats are offered through lottery.

Giving our daughter a bilingual education is a real priority for us. We went to an open house at the International School last night. They offer immersion programs in Spanish, Japanese, and Chinese from pre-school to grade 5. Does anyone have any experience, both positive and maybe not-so-positive, with the International School?

Thanks in advance for any feedback :)

OK, so are the Roundups for anyone who's interested in the school, or just if it's your neighborhood school? And do you get a tour at the RoundUp or do you need to do that separately, if at all? I'm so confused. I thought I knew what I was doing, and have a bunch of Roundups on my calendar, but now I'm not so sure.

Regarding the International School. My 4 year old son currently attends and in is the Japanese program. This is his second year there and we love the school and particularly love the class size and parent involvement. It is a great community. He is thriving there and has really achieved a good grasp of the language in his time there. You are correct...they offer Spanish, Chinese and Japanese language tracks. I konw some are more difficult to get into than others. The school had record enrollment this school year which I think is a very good sign. If language is a priority for you as a family, the International school is an excellent choice.

Anyone have any personal experience with Portland Village School or Cedarwood? We're having a hard time deciding between homeschooling with a waldorf curriculum or these schools. Thanks.

Peninsula K-8 Kindergarten Round Up (8125 N. Emerald)
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
6:00 - 7:00 p.m.

I have two children at Peninsula K-8 (fifth and Kindergartener). I really like the smaller classes (25 is largest class), and the teachers are dedicated and enthusiastic. Special ed staff is stellar--my son is mainstreamed with assistance. The parent involvement is growing as people are starting to find this little gem. Not a perfect school, but it is on the uptick socially and academically . Offers cultural and economic diversity. The principal is welcoming to non-neighborhood residents. I like having a school where students, teachers, and parents recognize me. And I can have as big an impact as I put into it.

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