Smoother enrollment, new schedules start school year in North Providence

Smoother enrollment, new schedules start school year in North Providence

School starts Aug. 27 for grades K-9, Aug. 28 for grades 10-12

NORTH PROVIDENCE - The School Department's student enrollment process has been streamlined this summer, said Supt. Melinda Smith, meaning parents should not expect last-minute phone calls about volunteering to send their children to a different school.

That was what happened last year, when parents at Greystone Elementary School got phone calls the day before classes began once data indicated that some schools would be more overcrowded than others.

This year, Smith said, instead of school secretaries entering information after returning from a summer away from work, one employee at the central administration building was responsible for updating enrollment information as students registered all summer long.

Already Greystone's grade 5 is full, she said, so any new students will be sent elsewhere.

"We're paying attention to classrooms at capacity," Smith said, to prevent "a last-minute scramble."

However, she did caution that the new process was "not going to be perfect," only that there should be fewer discrepancies moving forward.

"I believe it's going a lot smoother," she said. "We hope the parents will be patient."

Patience may also be needed as students at the elementary and middle schools adjust to new schedules.

While the elementary school start and end times are changing - see story on page one - both middle schools are syncing up to the same schedule, which includes extending periods from 45 to 62 minutes each.

Middle school schedules, which Smith said have been discussed since last November, will also include library media center times once the installation of computers and equipment is completed this fall.

It is in these library media centers that a digital science textbook will be piloted for 7th-graders, Smith said, through a partnership with Discovery Education. They will also have the EasyTech program for computer literacy from Learning.com.

Parents should have received a newsletter in the mail detailing changes and important back-to-school information, Smith said, adding that this is the first year such information has been sent to parents before the start of school.

In addition to updates from Smith and Asst. Supt. Lisa Jacques, the following are some of the newsletter's key points:

* School starts on Tuesday, Aug. 27, for students in kindergarten through grade 9, as well as special education pre-kindergarten. Grades 10, 11 and 12 start Wednesday, Aug. 28.

* The North Providence High School day runs from 7:30 a.m. to 1:55 p.m.; the middle schools run from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; and the elementary schools run from 8:55 a.m. to 3:12 p.m.

* Bus pass applications for those eligible are included in the newsletter and must be returned to the child's school by Aug. 27.

* Breakfast costs 75 cents at the elementary schools, $1 at the middle schools and high school, and 25 cents at all schools for those who qualify for reduced priced meals. Lunch costs $2.25 at the elementary schools, $2.50 at the middle schools and high school, and 40 cents for those who qualify for reduced prices.

* Meals can now be pre-paid online. Visit www.myschoolbucks.com for more information, and to sign up for a free account.