(Photo by Kate Padilla) [Order this photo]
Summer is winding down and teachers, students, and parents are gearing up for another school year.
Spencer, Ruthven-Ayrshire, and Clay Central-Everly schools each conducted registration within the past week, providing central locations within each district for parents to come and register students for the upcoming school year.
"We have to have 100 percent of our students registered within the week," Reg Reynolds, Ruthven-Ayrshire board secretary, said. "After the registration day, our secretaries have to get on the phone and start calling the families who haven't registered."
At Spencer schools, parents follow a designated path from teacher information to activity tickets, food service, bus sign-ups, and emergency contact information.
This year, the school set up several computers along a table, hoping that the technological advantage would keep the line moving.
In addition to gathering necessary information, parents also pay the fees required for the new year. Between book fees, activity tickets, parking fees, and meal tickets, the price can add up.
At Clay Central-Everly schools, a ticket for 20 meals costs $52. Add this to the $35 book fee and the $30 tech fee, and a parent of a high school student can anticipate spending $117.
Free- and reduced- costs are established for families that fall within certain economic brackets. These costs apply to meal tickets, book fees, and, in CC-E's case, the tech fee as well.
The tech fee at CC-E allows the student to bring home a laptop they're issued at the beginning of the school year. A student who has not paid the $30 fee must leave their computer at the school. The fee is capped at $60 per family.
Spencer schools will see a change this year with the Grade-Alike program. Sixth graders are moving up to middle school, and the elementary grades are divided between Lincoln, Johnson, and Fairview elementary schools.
"Our biggest concern this year was the parent-teacher conference sign-ups," Suzie Fagen, middle school administrative assistant and coordinator of Spencer's registration day, said. "In some cases parents had to sign up for a meeting at each building. We encouraged them to leave at least 30 minutes for travel time."
Fagen noted that while parents were initially skeptical about the Grade-Alike change, many have changed their minds about the program.
"The issue was a fear of the unknown," Fagen said. "Once it was explained to them, most parents were okay with it."
Spencer schools begin on Aug. 20 for the middle and high school students, and on Aug. 21 for the elementary schools. Parent-Teacher conferences are scheduled at the elementary schools for Aug. 20.
Ruthven-Ayrshire schools begin on Aug. 22 for kindergarten through high school. Pre-K starts on Aug. 27.
Clay Central-Everly schools begin on Aug. 20, with a kindergarten breakfast with parents on Aug. 21.