Above, parents register their students for bus transportation at Open Registration for new students, held last Wednesday, July 18.
Parents with students new to the Pickens County school system filled tables and chairs at the board of education office last week during Open Registration, which officials say was busier than usual.
Assistant Superintendent Tommy Qualls reported that 120 new students signed up to attend school in Pickens, including 29 new high schoolers, but he says the final student count for the system will not be known for a few weeks.
“We won’t really know until after school starts,” Qualls said. “We have a good idea of the number coming in, but those students that are leaving, we won’t get records requests until the first of school.”
Qualls noted that while this year’s registration day was busier than in the past, the actual number of new students who registered was about the same.
“A lot of people came to change from one school to the other,” he said. “They don’t have to do it [at Open Registration], but that works. It makes the transition easier on the system. I’d say we had about 15 to 20 come and change schools.”
Pickens County Federal Programs Director Susan Reeves echoed Qualls. Reeves said while she couldn’t be certain of the size of the system’s student body this year, she suspects numbers may be down, especially in elementary schools.
Reece said couples are having fewer children now than in the past, and that there have not been as many new people moving into the county.
“As [the students] move up [in grades] they don’t have any younger siblings coming through the elementary schools,” she said. “We’ll see how it goes, but hopefully we’ll have good enrollment.”
Qualls said it is not uncommon for unregistered students to arrive on the first day of school, and he strongly encourages parents to get their children signed up before August 7 to help alleviate some of the first-day chaos.
“Just call the school they will be going to and someone should answer. They can give you some information,” Qualls said. “We would prefer that parents do that and not blast us the first of the week. The first day of school is chaotic at best, especially in elementary school with kids who have never been before.”
Qualls said items parents typically forget to bring to register their students are shot records and, if the student is transferring from another school, a transcript.
Another issue, Qualls said, are home schoolers who do not have proper documentation of promotion from one grade to the next.
“They need something that says they have been promoted to the next grade level,” Qualls said. “This is especially an issue when the student goes from eighth to ninth grade. If we don’t have the documentation we don’t know.”
Students who are transferring from home school or another non-accredited school have also had problems gaining credit for some courses in which the state requires end-of-course tests.
Students enrolling from these non-accredited programs are required to take and pass the test prior to receiving credit for the course.
Some religious-based schools, for example, use a different science curriculum than what is used in the public school system. School administrators must ensure the student knows the material required by the state before they enter the public system.
On registration day, students and parents also waited in line to sign up for bus transportation, and Qualls said the system will have bus schedules posted before school starts.
If you need more information about bus schedules call the school’s transportation department at 706-253-1727.
If you live out of district and you have used a school choice waiver your child cannot use school transportation.
To make registration move along quicker, parents can find and print all new student registration forms on the school system website at www.pickens.k12.ga.us.
Click on the “Download Pickens County School System 2012-2013 Registration Forms Here,” link on the homepage. You can also view Open House dates and school supplies lists on the site.