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A child may be enrolled by a parent or guardian, foster parent, caseworker, caregiver with whom the child resides, or any other person with "charge or control" of the child.
To enroll a student, the school district or charter school must obtain proof of the child's age; proof that the child is immunized; and proof of residency; No other information can be required, as a condition of enrollment, (other than in the question immediately below).
The school district or charter school may ask for other information for administrative purposes or to assist with the education of the child but cannot delay or deny the student's enrollment until that information is provided.
Yes. Prior to enrollment, the person enrolling the child must provide a sworn statement about serious discipline problems at prior schools. The school district or charter school must also administer the Home Language Survey at the time of enrollment. A school district may not delay or deny a child's school enrollment due to a child 's disciplinary record but may provide alternative education for the length of the expulsion for a child who is currently expelled for a weapons offense.
The Home Language Survey is a brief and important survey required by law. Access the required survey at: Home Language Survey.
School districts and charter schools should be flexible in the documents required and should consider what information is reasonable in light of the family's situation. A school can never demand only one kind of document, for example a birth certificate, to prove age. Examples of documents that can prove these factors are outlined in the Enrollment of Students BEC.
Yes. A school district or charter school must normally enroll a child the next business day, but no later than five business days after application. The school district or charter school has no obligation to enroll a child until the parent, guardian or other person having control or charge of the student making the application has supplied proof of the child's age, residence, immunizations, the discipline statement, and completed the Home Language Survey as required by law.
Enrollment cannot be delayed for any other reason, including a failure to provide prior school records or special education documents, or a school's difficulty in determining a child's placement.
Yes. As a condition of enrollment, the school district or charter school may never ask the family for the child or parent's immigration documents, social security card or number, records from a child welfare agency (other than to establish residency), or information relating to why a child is residing in the district or living with a particular person.
There may be an administrative rationale for requesting other documents. For example, the social security number may be requested when it is needed to access a federal benefit; however, the social security number may never be requested or required as a condition for enrollment.
No. School districts or charter schools may never ask the family for the child's or parent's immigration documents (during enrollment or at any other time).
The school district or charter school must provide translation and interpretation services to the extent needed to help the family understand the enrollment process and enroll the student in school promptly.
A child who is in foster care or who is living in a children's institution, like a halfway house or a group home, is entitled to attend the schools of the district where the institution is located. The school district may not require these children to meet additional or different enrollment standards. A child in foster care or a child who lives in a children's institution or group home which is not located in the school district where the student's parent resides is considered a "non-resident student" as this term is used in the PA Public School Code.
Additionally, students in foster care may be placed and reside in varied foster care placement settings. This includes, but is not limited to, placements in foster family homes, foster homes of relatives (kin), group homes, emergency shelters, residential facilities, child care institutions, and pre-adoptive homes. Placement into foster care sometimes occurs with little or no notice and availability of records immediately is variable. Additionally, students in foster care who change schools frequently may not have the documentation traditionally required to enroll in a new school.
The Every Student Succeeds Act requires students in foster care to be immediately enrolled in a new school as soon as possible to prevent educational discontinuity if it has been determined to be in their best interest to change schools. Enrollment must not be denied or delayed because documents normally required for enrollment have not been provided. (See ESEA section 1111(g)(1)(E)).
The enrolling school must contact and collaborate with the student's prior school for relevant records. The placing county children and youth agency should share appropriate education-related records as available with the enrolling school.
For a "non-resident" child living with a resident, one of the following must occur: 1) the resident must show that he or she has custody, or 2) the resident must be given the opportunity to file a sworn statement (and sometimes provide additional proof) of the following:
- the resident of the school district is supporting the child without "compensation or gain"; and
- the child is living there for the entire year and not only the school term; and
- that the resident will take responsibility for the child's schooling. (Basic requirements of proof of age, immunization, residence, discipline statement and Home Language Survey apply.)
This is based on Section 1302 of the School Code. The individual situation of the resident determines whether they will show that they have custody of the child or file a sworn statement as to the 3 items listed above; this is not a matter of choice for the school district. A resident's receipt of payments, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Transitional Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), pre-adoptive or adoptive support, maintenance on public or private health insurance, support from the military or military personnel or payments for or on account of the child such as child support is not considered to be personal "compensation or gain".
Generally, "no". Here are some exceptions: When a resident (who is not the child's parent) is trying to enroll a child and show that the resident is the legal guardian, the resident would provide information on custody.
The other exception is when parents are separated or divorced and the parent is relying on a court order or custody agreement as the basis for enrolling the child.
A student may enroll themself in school if they are an "emancipated minor," which includes a youth who is married or is living without the support of a parent or guardian.
Students experiencing homelessness have the right to immediately enroll in a new school without providing enrollment documents. The student has the right to stay in the same school even if they now live in a different school district or attendance area and may enroll without the help of an adult.
A student who is not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian, and who qualifies as an "unaccompanied homeless youth" under the McKinney Vento Act may enroll without the documents usually required for enrollment. This includes youth who have run away from home, been thrown out of their home, been abandoned or separated from their parents or guardians for any other reason.
The district may not automatically place a child in an alternative education program for disruptive youth simply because the child had been in an adjudicated delinquent placement.
Like any other student being transferred to an alternative education program, students returning from a delinquency placement are entitled to an informal hearing prior to being placed in an alternative education program. The purpose of the hearing is to determine whether the student is currently fit to return to the regular classroom, or meets the definition of a disruptive student. Factors a school should consider include: 1) whether the incident causing the adjudication occurred at school or at a school-sponsored event, 2) the youth's behavior in placement, and 3) the recommendations of teachers and other adults, such as juvenile probation officers who have worked with the youth.
The Every Students Succeeds Act of 2015 requires LEAs to develop policies and formal written transportation agreements in collaboration with local child welfare agencies to enable a student who is in foster care to remain in the educational program in the same school or school district if it is determined to be in the student's best interest. The student in foster care may continue to be educated by the school of origin for the duration of their time in foster care even if that child moves to another school district or to another attendance area within the same school district. The school of origin is the school in which a child is enrolled at the time of placement or change of placement in foster care.
Children awaiting placement in foster care are considered to be in foster care.
A family may file a complaint with the Pennsylvania Department of Education's School Services Office. After receiving the complaint, a Department staff member will contact the school district and the involved parties, whenever possible within five days, to gather information and to try to help resolve the dispute.