San Carlos Kindergarten Registration Deadline is March 4.

February 8, 2011


High Anxiety.

It's that nail-biting, gut-wrenching time of the year again in San Carlos when parents of kindergarten-age students register for the 2011-12 school year.  In a perfect world,  one would simply sign up and their child would start kindergarten at the school in which their home is zoned for.  But we don't live in a perfect world, and with more and more families with young children moving into San Carlos to attend our outstanding schools, there's often more demand than there are seats at some of our elementary schools.

It was just two years ago that the School District made the tough decision to re-zone the district to help mitigate the chronic over-enrollment at White Oaks and Arundel Elementary Schools, after some families who lived only a few blocks from White Oaks were vectored to Heather Elementary because there was simply no room at White Oaks.

Registration Deadline Approaching.

To help the District better understand the enrollment dymanics and to plan staffing accordingly, they require all incoming kindergarten students to register each year.   This year's deadline for registering your kindergartner is March 4, 2011.  So if  you haven't yet registered your child for kindergarten, you only have a few weeks left to do so.   Here's the link to the School District website with all the information and forms that you need:  San Carlos School District Registration Page.

Since San Carlos residents obviously get priority when placement decisions are made,  one of the key requirements when enrolling is proof of residency – applicants must be able show that they live within the San Carlos school district boundaries, regardless of whether they own or rent…which makes me wonder whether that spike in home sales last week had anything to do with families trying to secure a San Carlos address before the March 4 deadline?   Hmmmm.

The Waiting is the Hardest Part.

According to the registration website, the District will conduct a lottery (if necessary, to resolve any over-subscription issues) on Monday March 7, and will then notify parents which school they are enrolled in for the coming year.   So the weekend of March 5-6 will be an anxious one for many parents in San Carlos as they wait to hear…

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  1. Seth on February 8, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    Chuck — thanks for posting this. To clarify, March 4th is the deadline for the first round of registration. By both law and district policy, parents can register their students for kindergarten at any time, and if they are residents, they are guaranteed a spot at one of our schools. However, the district does need to pick a single date in order to start making confirmations of student enrollments at specific schools. Having once been a parent who registered his newly entering Kindergartner, I understand that there is some anxiety about this process. However, the good news is that since we made the changes in the school boundaries, this process has been much smoother and predictable. Of course there are no guarantees about specific school placement, but last year almost all students wound up going to their neighborhood schools. And last but certainly not least, as you know, this District has been very successful in ensuring that all of its schools provide an equally exceptional education!

  2. Chuck Gillooley on February 11, 2011 at 2:54 am


    Thanks for the clarification and for the additional info. Funny, the key phrase in your comment that always freaks everyone out is “‘almost’ all students wound up going to their neighborhood schools.” Because buyers often times choose neighborhoods based upon the school boundaries, it’s tough if even one family doesn’t make it into their neighborhood school. But here’s to hoping the everyone gets into the school of their choice this year.


  3. Seth on February 11, 2011 at 7:29 am

    I want to clarify. Last year, all students who registered before the first deadline got into their neighborhood schools. There were a few kids whose families moved into town later in the year or even after the school year had started who did not get into their neighborhood school because it was full. Of course, one can not guarantee that this will happen again this year, but clearly the system is much improved and the boundaries more balanced. Regardless, Chuck, I would like to express my hope that you make a point of informing your clients that their elementary school should not be a factor in deciding where they live in San Carlos. There is no material difference among our schools, and they all provide an equally excellent education. Clearly one of the advantages of moving to a town like San Carlos is the very fact that you don’t need to worry about which side of town you live on to ensure your kids get an opportunity for a great education.

  4. Chuck Gillooley on February 11, 2011 at 4:50 pm


    Thanks for your follow up comment. I agree with all of your points — one of the things that makes San Carlos a desirable place to raise kids is that you can’t go wrong with any of the schools, whether it’s elementary, middle, or even high school. I make that abundantly clear to clients when they’re looking for a home in San Carlos. On that note, don’t sell today’s buyers short in that respect. Buyers are pretty savvy, and they have already done their homework on each of the schools — they know the API scores, and have likely spoken with friends/neighbors about the schools long before they engage with a Realtor. And indeed the District has done a very good job of load-balancing the enrollment of all of the elementary schools — I have applauded the Board’s efforts in this respect several times on the site.

    But you have to understand that some people will still have a desire to attend a particular school….. for whatever reason. For example, most of this discussion seems to have focused on families who are just moving into the area. But one group that we can’t forget are the families who have lived in their neighborhoods for a number of years, and finally have a child ready to enter kindergarten. Their desire to attend a particular school probably has less to do with who has the highest API score, and more about just wanting their kids to go to the neighborhood school with the other kids on their street who they’ve grown up with. For that group, the registration process is probably even more nerve-wracking because they have a bit more at stake than someone who just moved into the neighborhood.

    That’s really the impetus behind my comment that it’s always tough even when a small percentage of families don’t get into their neighborhood schools.

    I’m afraid you’ve taken this post as a criticism of the school situation in San Carlos, and indirectly the School Board. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Success can bring challenges (such as our ever increasing enrollment) and I think the Superintendent and the Board have done a marvelous job navigating through this important phase of the City’s growth.

  5. Seth on February 11, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    I think we’re actually in complete agreement here, and I do appreciate your support of the schools and the district. The school district and the citizens of San Carlos definitely value neighborhood schools, and we should do our best to make sure to promote that. I agree we have a “high-level problem” of very strong demand relative to limited capacity. It creates some issues, but is certainly better than the alternative! My hope is that in the not-too-distant future we will be able expand the capcity of the school district, either by building an additional school and/or expanding some of the existing schools.

  6. Anonymous on February 11, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    What is the process and timeline for registering students graduating from Arundel and entering TL?

  7. Seth on February 13, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    For in-district residents, the process is automatic. The student doesn’t need to register for TL. (The only exception to this rule is for out-of-district residents who wish to attend Central Middle School. Since Central is not a charter school, an inter-district transfer form is required).

    BTW, another date to remember for students entering TL next year is instrument selection day. If your incoming 5th grader has any interest in being in band or orchestra, they should attend this, which I believe this year is on March 24th. But I’m certain the schools will send out more details.

  8. Jane Chen on February 20, 2011 at 5:13 am

    Seth, thank you!

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