Three new features mark this year’s kindergarten registration: First, the district will be offering all-day kindergarten at all of its schools for the first time ever; second, registration has been moved to a Saturday; and finally, all registered would-be students will take home three books.
Registration will begin April 30, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Field-Stevenson School, 925 Beloit Ave.
“We are hoping to make it just a little easier for our parents. We thought if we opened up to a Saturday, when most people are home, it would just provide another opportunity to register,” said Mary Anne Spratt, assistant to the superintendent, of the new registration day.
At registration, the students who come in will each take home a copy of “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom,” “Dr. Seuss’ ABC” and “Where the Wild Things Are.”
The book give-away was made possible, Tinder said, through a $3,500 donation from Forest Park Commissioner Theresa Steinbach.
“This is something I have wanted to do for close to 20 years as a superintendent,” Superintendent Randolph Tinder said. “And I finally found somebody willing to pay for it.”
The first 160 senior kindergarteners to register and the first 40 junior kindergarteners will each receive the three books for their personal libraries at home.
The money, Steinbach said, comes directly from her salary as a Forest Park commissioner.
“When I ran for commissioner, [the commissioners] gave themselves these $7,000 raises,” she said. She added that she disagreed with the raises and campaigned promising to put the money back into Forest Park.
“I get paid that amount of money no matter what,” she said. “I get the $10,000 gross so I take $7,000 of that and I donate it to various causes in Forest Park.”
This year the book drive will benefit from her generosity.
“Being a teacher, education is very important to me,” Steinbach said. “Not to sound cliché but reading is fundamental”If you can read, you can do a lot. Randy [Tinder] came up with this idea and said this is what he would like to use the money for and I said it was a terrific idea. I didn’t do it for the glory, or to get my name out there, I did it because I think it is important that people read.”
So far, Steinbach has donated her salary raise to the school district and to the dog park. “This check will be my fourth donation and will serve as an incentive to pre-register for kindergarten,” she said.
The registration process is necessary so the district will have a good idea of how many students they will have, allowing them to prepare the rooms and hire teachers accordingly, Tinder said.
The process for junior kindergarten will be open to students turning 4 years of age on or before Sept. 1. There are 40 spots open in this program, 20 in the morning and 20 in the afternoon.
If more than 40 students enroll, a lottery will be held on May 2, at 11 a.m. at Field-Stevenson to select the lucky 40. Any student not selected in the lottery will be placed on a waiting list based on the date and time and of their registration.
For senior kindergarten, students must be 5-years-old by Sept. 1 and, space permitting, all students will be assigned to their neighborhood schools.
Classroom sizes, however will be limited to 20 spots, so if any class is full, students will be assigned to another elementary school with open spaces.
Parents should bring proof of residency and birth certificates to the registration. All students should be potty trained and a complete physical and dental examination, as well as evidence of immunization will be required before the beginning of the school year.
Book rental and material fees of $35 will also be due at registration.