In the beginning of the year, we apply for the August start of the new school year. We are planning eight months out! So, as a mom of two this is actually my first time going through this process because my oldest had an IEP. Because we were already in the preschool system with an IEP we were placed during our annual meeting. I didn’t have to do all this registering online. I wanted to post this week for all the parents out there thinking and going through this process. (end date February 2nd)
This is the process for a typically developing child, age 4, to enter the public school’s volunteer preschool program. If you want to go to a private school, you would apply for the voucher and take it to the private school of your choice and go through their procedures.
- prepare all those necessary documents. You will need to scan a form of identification that proves your address and residency and you will need to have an electronic copy of your child’s immunization, birth certificate, or something that proves the child’s date of birth.
- go to the school to get your PCSB (Pinellas County School Board) user ID and password to register for a public school VPK program.
- Now, go to obtain the Certificate of Eligibility online. (vpk.pinellas.net) This is where you will need at least 30 minutes and all those electronic copies of forms to upload. It says that you will be processed and should have your voucher by February 19th.
- Back to the school district; you will want to apply for the school of your choice at (reservation.pcsb.org). This takes probably 10 minutes if you know the school(s) you want. This is school lottery, allowing families to select any school they prefer in the district as long as it has a seat available. We are going to our neighborhood school so we are not mad or fighting to get into the “best” schools.
- Between February 19th and February 28th, you must log back into the school district site with your parent log in and review the results of the lottery. You can accept your choice at that time.
- March 1st through March 16th, you go to the school you selected and take your voucher to enroll in VPK at that school. You should also be prepared to pay the registration fee of $104. At this time, they should also tell you when and how you pay the additional $65 a week for the afternoon hours. Only the first three hours of the day are free with the voucher.
My last suggestion and advice to parents of typically developing children is that when you enter your child into the VPK program at a public school that those classrooms are blended. As parent of a child with special needs I have a message for you: please realize that your child will be around different children and that your job as a parent is to celebrate and support that diversity. My typically developed child has excelled in a blended preschool model and yours can too!