Every school and district across the U.S. operate with its own set of policies, and procedures. Please use the below information as guidance as you navigate these processes with your local school.
Enrolling a Student in the Local School District
As easy as it may sound to enroll a student in school, host families have found this to be a little bit of a challenge their first time through. Even if you have children who are already part of the local school system, you will likely need to enroll your host student in school following many of the same steps as a family enrolling their first child in kindergarten or a family that just moved to the district. We recommend starting the enrollment process as early as you can in the summer months as this helps you feel prepared and connect to the registration process sooner and it helps the school plan for their bus routes and teacher capacity.
Every school and district across the U.S. have their own unique processes to enroll a student. Some have extensive packets for you to complete, some have an online system, and others may require an in-person visit to a district or county office. Most school districts will allow you to do the enrollment of your student before the host student arrives in the U.S., but some will make you wait until the student is physically present. Please visit the school district website, call the central office, or stop by the enrollment center for your local school district to learn the specific process for your school.
When possible, we recommend starting the enrollment process as early as you can in the summer months as this can help both you and the school feel proactive, prepared, and less stressed once the student arrives. Typical documents that you will need to enroll a student are:
- Host student’s full name and date of birth*
- Host student’s medical records showing their immunizations*
- Host student’s transcript of courses taken previously with grade equivalencies in English*
- Host student’s birth certificate (some schools will accept a passport in place of this since a student had to have a birth certificate to be issued a passport in their home country*)
- Your family’s proof of residency within the enrollment boundaries of the school district (this may be a utility bill, a mortgage statement, or lease agreement with your address listed)
*These items can be found in the student’s application that was linked to the email you received titled “Information about your AFS host student”.
If the school enrollment process asks for additional items that you cannot find in your host student’s application, please reach out to your local AFS volunteers that have been supporting you through the host family on-boarding process for assistance.
Experienced Host Family Advice: While enrolling your student, you may also want to consider adding your AFS Volunteer Liaison as an additional family contact. This will allow the liaison to communicate directly with the school without violating the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and partner with you in helping your host student be successful academically.