Hey, Turlock! Hilary here. When HeyTurlock first partnered with the Turlock Unified School District, I knew immediately that I wanted to do a post about how to register kids for Kindergarten. Having just gone through the process last year with my son, I know first hand that it can be a daunting task – so many dates! So many great schools and programs! How to choose?? But I learned a LOT, and I’m here to share that knowledge with the world!
So below, I have compiled all of the important dates you need to know (straight from the TUSD office itself!), and my lessons learned from going through it all last year.
Lesson #1: The school closest to you may not be the school of your home attendance area
You heard that right. While the attendance area boundaries are drawn directly around each school, there are some blocks whose closest school is not their school of attendance. And there’s also a little sliver of northeast Turlock that, while within Turlock city limits, is actually in the Denair School District. Please, please, please be sure to check out this Boundary Map on the TUSD website and verify what your child’s school is before going any further!
Lesson #2: Turlock has some amazing special school programs!
In addition to the awesome public schools in the Turlock Unified School District, there are four schools with special programs that you should definitely check out as well:
1) Osborn Two-Way Immersion Academy
The Osborn Immersion program allows kids the opportunity of developing literacy in both Spanish and English while mastering all of the usual school subjects they’d get anywhere else. Half of the kids enter the program English speaking-dominant, while half are Spanish speaking-dominant…and the goal is for all to come out bilingual! And it’s not all about language; Osborn emphasizes cultural understanding as well.
To learn more about the Osborn Immersion program, be sure to attend the Parent Info Night scheduled for January 12th at 6pm.
2) Wakefield Two-Way Immersion Academy
Osborn has been so successful and popular, that last year a Spanish-English immersion program opened up at Wakefield as well. Priority will be given to children living within the Wakefield attendance area, but applications are open to the community.
The learn more about the Wakefield Immersion program, please attend one of their Parent Info Sessions scheduled for January 20th at 8:15am and 12:15pm, January 25th at 5:30pm, January 27th at 8:15am and 11:25am, January 31st at 5:30pm, February 2nd at 6pm, February 7th at 9am, February 13th at 8:30am and 12:30pm, February 14th at 8:15am and 12:15pm, and February 22nd at 5:30pm. (Please note that these info sessions take place at different locations, so be sure to check details!)
3) Walnut Elementary Education Center
Walnut is an elementary school with two “magnets”: the Discovery Math/Science Magnet and the Renaissance Visual & Performing Arts Magnet. All subjects are taught to Walnut kids, albeit with different approaches based on Magnet. Renaissance teachers use visual and performing arts to enrich instruction, while Discovery students see things through the lens of math and science. Plus, beginning in 2nd grade, Walnut students get to choose elective classes specific to their Magnet.
For more information about Walnut, you can attend one of their Parent Info Nights, scheduled for 6:30pm on January 10th in the Dutcher Cafeteria, January 17th at the Salvation Army, and January 24th in the Walnut Cafeteria.
4) Julien School “POD” Program
The POD is a Kindergarten through 3rd grade program within Julien Elementary School. All four grades are housed within the same large room, with individual grades sectioned off in the four corners. In Kindergarten, kids are assigned a “home room” with a mix of grade levels, which they will stick with all four years. The POD offers a warm learning environment and a chance for students to really get to know each other and their teachers. (Disclaimer: I myself was a POD kid in the ‘80’s, so I’m a little biased…but it was wonderful. 🙂 )
If you’re interested in visiting the POD to see what it’s like, be sure to give the Julien School office a call at 667-0891 to set up an appointment.
Lesson #3: Registration is easy – once you know the dates and deadlines!
If you’d like to sign up your child for the school whose attendance area you live in, it’s easy as pie! Just check out the info in the Important Dates section below and show up on the right day/time with 1) Immunization Record, 2) Original Birth Certificate, Passport, or Baptismal Certificate (to prove birth date), 3) Proof of Residence (like a TID or PG&E bill or rental agreement), 4) your photo ID, and 5) your school’s registration packet, which can be picked up one week prior to the registration date. Make sure you review that packet to double check that you have all the right documentation as well.
If you’d like your child to attend a school outside your attendance area (like, if you live in the Julien area but would like your child to attend Medeiros), you will need to complete an Intradistrict Transfer form ASAP. Students will be placed in requested schools as space allows. Please see the TUSD website for more info.
If you’d like your child to attend one of the special programs listed above (Osborn, Wakefield, Walnut, and/or the POD), you’ll need to do a little extra work:
- For Osborn, you first need to register at your home attendance school (see above). Then you will need to pick up an application, turn it in, and complete a language assessment for your child by 5pm on February 24th. The language assessment is completed at Osborn and takes about 15 minutes (they ask a set series of questions to determine whether your child is naturally English or Spanish dominant – super easy). Acceptance is based on a lottery – kids’ names are placed in a big bowl and the principal draws names randomly to determine who gets in and who is on the wait list. Note: you do not need to attend the lottery; they will let you know the results if you can’t make it.
- For Wakefield, the process depends on where you live. If you live within the Wakefield attendance area, you may sign up your child on registration day on February 8th. If you live outside the Wakefield attendance area, you will need to first register your child at your home attendance school (see above), then turn in your Wakefield application and have your child complete a language assessment by 5pm on February 24th. Priority will be given to Wakefield attendance area students, but there will be a lottery held for any remaining spots.
- For Walnut, you will need to first register at your home attendance school (see above). Then, pick up and turn in a completed application by 4pm on Friday, February 10th. You can apply for one or both of the Magnets and placement is based on lottery here as well.
- The Julien POD is slightly different. The sign-up day is Wednesday, February 1st from 1-4pm and acceptance is given on a first-come-first-served basis, with priority given to siblings and children who live within the Julien attendance area. If you live outside the Julien area and your child is accepted into the POD, Julien staff will help you complete an Intradistrict Transfer. If your child is placed on the wait list, you will need to register at your home attendance school.
Lesson #4: I did all of that worrying for nothing.
Let’s get personal for a minute. I was majorly stressed out about where my son was going to go to Kindergarten. I figured that if he wasn’t in the school and/or program that was absolutely perfect for him, he would be doomed for the rest of his life. So we applied for everything. Every. Single. Program. Just to cover our bases.
And here’s what happened.
(Please keep in mind that every year is different, so our experiences last year may not be any sort of indication of what happens this year.)
- I was first in line at the Julien POD sign-up, but because we live outside the Julien attendance area, my son ended up 8th on the wait list once they had taken all the sign-ups for kids in the Julien attendance area as well as siblings of current POD-goers.
- We showed up super excited to the Osborn lottery, but soon learned that once they had accounted for all of the siblings, kids of teachers, kids who went to Osborn TK, and kids from the Osborn attendance area (who all get priority), out of the 66 available slots there were only TWO open for English-dominant kids, and only ONE for Spanish-dominant! My little guy ended up 18th (out of 30) on the wait list. (And there weren’t any openings at Wakefield.)
- SO MANY PEOPLE applied for Walnut. Priority there is given to siblings as well as children of Walnut teachers, and after that there were 43 openings on the Math side and 36 on the Arts. When all was said and done on lottery-night, my son was 46th (out of 84) on the Math/Science wait list and 28th (out of 80) on the Visual & Performing Arts Wait List.
So….he didn’t get into any of the special programs, and I figured he was meant to go to our home attendance area school.
But here’s the crazy thing. There is a TON of movement on those wait lists. People move, people change their minds, and type-A parents like me apply for everything and have to choose one, which ends up freeing up space amongst the programs. One week after the Walnut lottery, I received a call that my little guy was accepted in the Visual & Performing Arts Magnet (up from 28 on the wait list in one week!). Then, this fall on the second day of Kindergarten…he got into the POD. Then the third day of Kindergarten…he got into Osborn. We have a friend who was 76th on the Walnut VPA waitlist and ended up getting in by the end of November. See what I mean about a lot of movement?
The thing is, all of the Turlock schools are fantastic in their own way. But if you have your heart set on a specific program, based on my personal experience, it is likely that your child will eventually get in, even if it doesn’t happen at first.
Let’s wrap up with a summary of all of the important dates you’re going to need to remember to get your child all good and registered, shall we? You can also check this stuff out on the TUSD website as well. Good Luck mamas and daddies!
IMPORTANT DATES FOR TUSD KINDERGARTEN REGISTRATION:
January 10, 2017 @ 6:30pm: Walnut Info Night, in the Dutcher Cafeteria – more info
January 12, 2017 @ 6pm: Osborn Immersion Info Night, in the Osborn Cafeteria – more info
January 17, 2017 @ 6:30pm: Walnut Info Night, in the Salvation Army SALT Room – more info
January 24, 2017 @ 6:30pm: Walnut Info Night, in the Walnut Cafeteria – more info
January 25, 2017 @ 5:30pm: Wakefield Info Night, in the Wakefield Cafeteria – more info
February 1, 2017 @ 8:30am-4:00pm, Dennis Earl Elementary registration, in the Dennis Earl cafeteria – more info
February 1, 2017 @ 12:30-2:30pm, Brown Elementary registration, in the Brown cafeteria – more info
February 1, 2017 @ 12:45-3:30pm, Crowell Elementary registration, in the Crowell cafeteria – more info
February 1, 2017 @ 1-4pm: Julien POD Registration, in the Julien office – more info
February 1, 2017 @ 1:30-3:30pm: Medeiros Registration, in the Medeiros cafeteria – more info
February 7, 2017 @ 9am: Wakefield Info Session, in the Wakefield Cafeteria – more info
February 8, 2017 @ 1:00-4:00pm, Cunningham Elementary registration, in the Cunningham cafeteria – more info
February 8, 2017 @ 1:00-4:00pm, Julien Elementary registration, in the Julien office – more info
February 8, 2017 @ 1:30-4:00pm, Wakefield Elementary registration, in the Wakefield cafeteria – more info
February 10, 2017 by 4pm: Walnut applications DUE to the Walnut office
February 22, 2017 @ 5:30pm: Wakefield Info Night, in the Wakefield Cafeteria – more info
February 24, 2017 by 5pm: Osborn applications DUE to the Osborn office
February 24, 2017 by 5pm: Wakefield applications DUE to the Wakefield office
March 2, 2017 @ 5:30pm: Walnut lottery in the Walnut Cafeteria – more info
March 2, 2017 @ 6:00pm: Osborn lottery in the Osborn cafeteria – more info
March 2, 2017: Wakefield lottery in the Wakefield cafeteria – TBD