School bells ring starting next week
With the start of school right around the corner, Warwick Public Schools are in the swing of things, planning for enrollment, bus schedules, new volunteer requirements and orientations for students.
The new school year will start Wednesday, Aug. 28 for all elementary students as well as incoming seventh graders and ninth graders; the eighth graders and remaining high school students start school Thursday, Aug. 29.
To help transition seventh and ninth graders to their new schools, a number of orientations have been scheduled. At the junior high level, Aldrich Junior High’s seventh grade orientation will occur at 6 p.m. tomorrow and Winman Junior High will host their orientation on Monday, Aug. 26 at 6:30 p.m. Gorton Junior High hosted their first orientation last night and will host a second one tonight at 6:30.
At the high school level, Pilgrim High School’s Freshmen Orientation is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 22 at 6:30 p.m. Warwick Veterans Memorial High School hosted their orientation back in June.
As for Toll Gate High School, due to fire code updates still being done on the building, no orientation will be hosted prior to the start of school. However, parents are invited to attend a special hour-long meeting on the first day of school in the morning at the start of the school day.
At the moment, Superintendent Dr. Richard D’Agostino estimates the school population will be close to 9,400 students. “We are in that process now,” said D’Agostino about enrollment, admitting that the numbers change often during this point of the year.
School enrollment has been hosted at the Administration Building for the past few weeks and will continue through the start of school. Parents or guardians and their students can stop by the Administration Building at 34 Warwick Lake Avenue, off Warwick Avenue, to register between 8 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. or make an appointment by calling 734-3085.
To register a student for school, parents must bring their driver’s license, the student’s birth certificate, proof of Warwick residency, and a health exam and immunization record. If the student is transferring into the Warwick school district, they must also supply their most recent report card.
If applicable, proof of custody, court guardianship, and IEP or 504 plans must also be provided at registration.
The required school forms can all be found on the Warwick Public Schools website and include a new student registration form, a release of records form, health history form and a home language survey. There is also a state of Rhode Island school physical form that must be completed by a physician.
Although kindergarten registration occurred between Feb. 25 and March 1, students are still able to register through the start of school. To enroll in Warwick schools for kindergarten, the student must be 5 years of age by Sept. 1, 2013 and present a birth certificate, proof of residency and proof of immunization. Kindergarteners must have proof of immunization against DPT, Polio, MMR, Hepatitis B and Varicella (chicken pox). They must also have completed a physical exam with vision and dental screening.
“They will not be let into school without their shots,” said D’Agostino.
There are also new requirements for school volunteers. Any adults that volunteer for schools in Warwick, or any other town, are now required to have a Criminal Background Check. Those can be obtained at the Attorney General’s office for $5 or at the Warwick Police Station for free. A license or other valid I.D. is required.
D’Agostino said his office would likely be sending out a ConnectEd call to remind parents about the new state mandates requiring volunteers to take part in the BCI. But he pointed out that the checks are done locally, and those parents and guardians simply need to bring the stamped receipt from the police office to their school to show proof of the check. Forms to fill out for the background check are also available on the school department’s website.
Parents of students with special needs who ride the special education bus can expect to learn about their pick-up times beginning at the end of this week. Susan Barber, manager of First Student in Warwick, explained that the transportation department receives that information from the Special Education Department and creates routes for the drivers.
“We are given a route and our drivers call the parents to set up a pick-up time,” said Barber.
She added that those calls could begin as early as Friday, or the beginning of next week at the latest.
For this school year, many students will also be preparing to take the New England Common Assessments Program (NECAP) tests. According to Elliot Krieger, director of communications for the Rhode Island Department of Education, the testing is scheduled to occur throughout the state between Oct. 1 and Oct. 23. The almost 4,100 Rhode Island seniors who received a 1 on their math NECAPS during their junior year will need to retake the test in October but will also be allowed to submit scores from alternative tests such as the ACT or SAT to meet graduation requirements. A total of 253 Warwick seniors are affected. Krieger said they would be able to submit those alternative scores only after they receive their scores from October’s test.
For more information on the start of the 2013-2014 school year, log onto the Warwick Public Schools website at www.warwickschools.org.