Owensboro and Daviess County public schools systems will begin enrolling preschool and kindergarten students for the 2021-22 school year March 8-19.

Both school districts follow the same registration deadlines, and are very similar, by design, according to Owensboro Public Schools Preschool Coordinator Sherry Baber.

The big difference in the two districts is that DCPS does their registrations completely online, whereas city schools don’t have that option because both Hager Preschool and Seven Hills Preschool are blended with Head Start. The district is split, with families on the east side of Frederica Street attending Seven Hills and families on the west side of Frederica attending Hager.

OPS only offers income-based preschool for students who will be 3 or 4 years old by Aug. 1, 2021.

Parents need to call each school to schedule an appointment, at which point they will learn about all of the items required for enrollment.

Those items include a current immunization report, and a school medical exam, both on a Kentucky school form; a lead test; a vision exam from a licensed professional; a certified birth certificate from Frankfort; proof of income, typically a W-2; a copy of the child’s medical card or insurance card; and a copy of their social security card.

Baber said preschool is important because early intervention helps children succeed in kindergarten.

“Preschool is the key to success in kindergarten because the expectations are so high now for kindergarten,” she said. “It’s critical for each and every child.”

Jared Revlett, OPS spokesman, said families who are enrolling their child in kindergarten need to call the school their child attends to learn more information about registration. If families are not aware of which school that is, they can call OPS central office at 270-686-1000.

Preschool is available at all 12 DCPS schools for children who will be 4 years old by Aug. 1, 2021, and for children age 3 or 4 who are identified with a delay or a disability. Morning and afternoon sessions are offered for preschool Monday through Thursday. Head Start is offered for kids who will be 3 years old on or before Aug. 1, 2021, and who meet Head Start eligibility requirements.

Free screenings are available for preschool-age kids to help determine if there are any educational concerns, delays, or disabilities, the release said.

Daviess County does offer fee-based preschool for students who don’t qualify for free preschool.

All preschool applications will be processed online. Parents should visit www.dcps.org and click on the red “Parents” tab, and select “How to Enroll,” then “Find Your School Zone,” and enter their home address. Parents unsure of which school their child will attend can visit the district website and click on the red “Schools” tab, then select “Find Your School Zone” to enter their home address.

Chris Westerfield, DCPS preschool director, said preschool educators and officials are excited to have “our littlest learners” in classrooms next year. He emphasized the importance of preschool, and said the registration portal should make the process as painless as possible for families.

“We are looking forward to rebounding after this year, and having all students in class next year,” he said.

DCPS kindergarten is open to all children who will be 5 years old by Aug. 1, 2021. Parents or guardians need to call their child’s designated home school, and for more information about that process, or which school their child will attend they can visit the district website, click on “Parents” in the menu bar, select “How to Enroll,” and then choose “Kindergarten.”

For more information, call the DCPS central office at 270-852-7000.

Bobbie Hayse, bhayse@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7315

Bobbie Hayse, bhayse@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7315

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