Each February in the state of Wisconsin the period of Open Enrollment begins. This year it opens February 6, and closes 4:00 p.m. on April 28, 2017.
Open enrollment provides an opportunity for parents to explore school districts outside of the district in which they live. The option of going to another school district that provides resources and programs for gifted students not found in their home district often helps meet the needs of the student.
It is often a difficult decision for a family to decide to pursue open enrollment because they must confront the fact that their child’s needs are not being met. However, it may be one of the best decisions a parent can make. My family utilized open enrollment for several years in middle school and it was one of the best decisions we made for our child.
I highly recommend if you are considering open enrolling your student that you take the time to do your homework. Go visit the school(s) in which you wish to enroll your child. Talk to the principal, teachers, GT teacher, students, parents and anyone else you can find. Walk around, look, and listen. How is it different from your current district? What can they offer that your school cannot or will not? What is the atmosphere when you walk in and go through the school? Is everyone welcoming and smiling? Go to meetings or an open house at the school if they have some. Go back as many times as you wish-that is what these public times are so parents can learn about the district, services, and classrooms. Talk to other parents with children in the program. As the teacher or principal for references whom you may contact. If you are considering a virtual school (online school) attend the open house and meet and greet sessions they hold. Meet the teachers, students, and parents. Look at the curriculum. Ask questions. Go to another meeting and continue the process. Learn as much as you can.
There are procedures and deadlines with the open enrollment process. Be sure to check the DPI Open Enrollment website listed below. Information, application, and links for further information may be found on that website.
You may apply for open enrollment but if your child is accepted, you do not have to confirm attendance right away. There is a June deadline for a decision. If you are considering a change for your student, the application period is only from February through April, so do not miss the deadline for the application. The decision to attend or not may be made later to give you and your family an opportunity to consider the ramifications of open enrollment.
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