It's that time of year again. Back to School sales are appearing all over the place. The smell of sharpened pencils wafts through the air. It's time to go back to school.
If you just moved here, this is what you need to know to enroll your child in Seminole County Public Schools.
The Enrollment Checklist
Seminole County Public Schools require four types of documentation to enroll your child.
- Residency Documents – you must provide three types of proof of residency in Seminole County
- Prior School Documents – you must show your child's academic records
- Student Information – primarily health information and proof of legal custody
- School Paperwork – your school will need an entry form, emergency information, etc.
If you're moving to Seminole County from another part of Florida, this ought to be pretty easy.
Those of you who are moving here from another state or another country may have some frustration, but you can get through it.
Proof of Residency
You must provide the following documents are proof of residence. Each one must have your current address clearly stated.
- Lease or Deed
- Electric bill or Activation notice
- Driver's License or Voter Registration or Vehicle Registration
If you're moving here from another country, these documents may be trickier than they seem. My wife moved here from Scotland with her daughter. Her name isn't on our mortgage or electric bill yet. She can't even get a Driver's License for several more months. That also rules our Vehicle Registration. Of course, immigrants cannot have a voter registration until years later when they become citizens.
Believe it or not, it took quite a bit of discussion and a signed affidavit from me swearing that my wife and daughter live with me before the school would accept my mortgage, electric bill and driver's license as proof of residency.
Seminole County Public Schools don't appear to have much experience dealing with recent immigrants, which definitely caused some frustration.
That said, they don't ask if you're a legal or illegal immigrant. They merely want proof of residency.
Prior School Documents
You must provide previous school records.
- Withdrawal Packet with Grades
- IEP or EP (if applicable)
We provided a report card from the school in Scotland. The Principal of the school reviewed the records and found them acceptable. We also provided contact information for the school to verify the records.
The IEP, Individualized Education Program, is a written document that’s developed for each public school child who is eligible for special education. If you're from Canada or the UK, the Individualized Education Plan serves the same purpose.
Here are the medical and legal documents required to enroll your child in Seminole County Public Schools.
- Florida Shot Record (form DH680)
- Birth Certificate
- Physical (if the child is from out of state)
- Legal/Custody Documents
The shot records must be certified by a Florida doctor, and they must be on form DH680. Seminole County won't accept shot records from any other source. They're rather stubborn on this issue.
I know, as my wife and daughter both had very thorough physical exams and shots as part of their immigration process. We came armed with those records. You would think that documentation from the U.S. Government would trump a requirement from a county government.
You would be wrong.
Here's the trick. Make an appointment with the Florida Department of Health in Seminole County on Airport Road. For $15, they will review your shot records and transcribe them to the appropriate form required in Florida.
Should your child need additional shots, they can get them at the Department of Health for free. The $15 fee I mentioned is a charge for the appointment. It works whether you need a record transcribed or if you need shots.
Going to the Department of Health is much less expensive than visiting a private doctor for shots, but it's not time efficient. Be prepared to spend time waiting around at the DOH.
You can also get a physical at the DOH. However, there are other options. In addition to your family doctor, you can get a physical at places like Walgreen's Healthcare Clinic for about $50.
The birth certificate requirement is fairy standard, and it can also serve as your legal/custody document. If your child is adopted, please bring the custodial proof with you.
Now we're down to the easy part.
- Completed entry form
- Free/Reduced Lunch Application (if applicable)
- Emergency and Health Cards
Do yourself a favor. Download the student entry form from the Seminole County Public Schools web site prior to visiting the school. It saves you a bit of time filling out forms in uncomfortable chairs.
The Free/Reduced Lunch Application is available on the Food Services web site.
The Emergency and Health cards are to let the school know who to contact in case of an emergency, who may pick up the child from the school, and list any health issues. Please remember to fill out the Emergency card with a name of relatives or close friends who you trust to pick up your child.
The school will not make exceptions. For example, the fact that I'm married to my wife does not grant me a right to pick her up in an emergency. My wife had to specify my name on the Emergency card. The school will not release a child to someone who isn't authorized as a legal custodian or listed on the Emergency form.
Don't Wait To Enroll Your Child In Seminole County Schools
For most Florida residents, the process should go rather quickly. Those who are moving here may find that it can take several days or even weeks to gather the information, make appointments with health professionals, and go through all the motions to satisfy the Seminole County Public School requirements.
Don't underestimate how much time you can spend getting everything together. Unlike some other counties, Seminole County is rather strict about each requirement. If you wait too long, your child may not start at the beginning of the school year without all the requirements in place.
Make sure you call before you visit the school, particularly during the summer months. We found the schools were closed on Fridays, despite information stating they should have been open.