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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Frequently Asked Policy Questions


Enrollment/Registration

  1. How old does my child have to be to enroll in school? Are there exceptions?
  2. What documents are required to enroll my child in school?
  3. What if I do not have one of the required documents?
  4. I am not the student's legal guardian. Can I enroll the student in school?
  5. I am the student's grandparent, stepgrandparent, great-grandparent or stepgreat-grandparent. Can I enroll the student in school?
  6. What documents are required to verify my residence?
  7. My family has lost our home and is temporarily residing outside our children's school zone. Do we have to withdraw the students from school?
  8. I would like my child to attend a school other than our zoned neighborhood school. What are my options?
  9. I do not live in the city of Atlanta. Can I enroll my child in an Atlanta Public School?
  10. I am home schooling my child. What are the requirements? Can my homeschooled child participate in APS sports/band/after school programs/CRCT testing/etc.?
  11. I would like for my child to attend an APS charter school. How do I enroll?


Attending School

  1. What is considered an excused absence from school?
  2. How will my child get to school?
  3. How will my child get home from school?
  4. When does APS cancel classes?
  5. My child's school has a uniform. Is the uniform required?
  6. May my child carry a mobile/cellular telephone at school?
  7. What uses of the Internet by students are allowed at school?
  8. My child's school is charging a fee for participation in a field trip/graduation or to receive a gym uniform/etc. Is this allowed?


Instruction/Grading/Promotion/Graduation

  1. How are students graded in Atlanta Public Schools?
  2. When are deficiency notices issued? What if I did not receive a deficiency notice for my child?
  3. What are the requirements for promotion to the next grade level?
  4. What are the requirements for graduation from high school?
  5. My child has not yet completed one of the requirements for his/her diploma and will do so in the summer session. May he/she walk at graduation?
  6. My child has not passed one section of the Georgia High School Graduation Test (GHSGT/GGT). Can he/she still graduate?


Complaints

  1. I am dissatisfied with a service or decision that has been made at my child's school. How do I pursue a resolution?
  2. I am dissatisfied with a service or decision that has been made at the APS charter school my child attends. How do I pursue a resolution?


If these FAQs did not address your question or concern, please contact Rebecca Kaye, Director of Policy Development and Governmental Relations at rkaye@atlantapublicschools.us or 404.802.2897.



 

Enrollment/Registration


1.    How old does my child have to be to enroll in school? Are there exceptions?

Under Georgia state law, children must turn five (5) on or before September 1 in order to enroll in kindergarten. Children must turn six (6) on or before September 1 to enroll in first grade. For prekindergarten, children must turn four (4) on or before September 1 to be eligible.

The only exception allowed is for students who have been living in another state or country for the two years preceding their enrollment in a Georgia public school and who were enrolled in kindergarten under that state's rules before moving to Georgia. In these cases, children who turn five (for kindergarten) or six (for first grade) by December 31 may transfer their enrollment from the out-of-state/out-of-country kindergarten or first grade.

There are no exceptions for students who have been enrolled in a Georgia private school, for advanced students based on evaluation or testing, for students moving into Georgia from out of state who were not previously enrolled in school or for any other reason.



2.    What documents are required to enroll my child in school?

The following documents are required. For a detailed description of the documents acceptable to satisfy each requirement, see administrative regulation JBC-R(0), School Admissions. Detailed information, including an enrollment checklist, is available on the Enrollment & Registration Web site.

    • Identification of the enrolling adult
    • Student's birth certificate
    • Student's Georgia immunization records, certificate of medical exemption from immunization OR affidavit of religious objection to immunization
    • Student's Certificate of Eye, Ear and Dental Examination
    • Student records from previous school
    • Social Security card OR Objection to Use of SSN form
    • Proof of Residence (see chart for requirements)
    • Proof of Legal Guardianship (if applicable)
    • Non-parental Affidavit (if applicable)
    • Grandparent Power of Attorney (if applicable)

 

3.    What if I do not have one of the required documents for enrollment?

Prior to the first day of school, students are not enrolled without complete documentation. Once school starts, students with missing documents may be conditionally enrolled for 30 days. Students will be withdrawn from school if the documents are not provided within 30 days.

In the case of students moving to Georgia from out-of-state with valid out-of-state immunization records, students may be enrolled for up to 90 days pending the transfer of the immunization records to the Georgia form. Students will be withdrawn from school if the Georgia certificate of immunization is not provided within 90 days, even with out-of-state immunization records.

 


4.    I am not the student's legal guardian. Can I enroll the student in school?

Adults acting in loco parentis, or in the place of parents, may conditionally enroll students in school provided that the student physically resides in the school zone. A parent, legal guardian or grandparent acting under a Georgia Power of Attorney for the Care of a Minor Child must appear at the school to complete the enrollment within 30 days.

Guardianship can be obtained by contacting the Fulton County Probate Court located at 136 Pryor Street, Room C-230, Atlanta, Georgia 30303, (404-730-4697). Information regarding this process is available online at www.gaprobate.org.

 

See administrative regulation JBC-R(0), School Admissions.


5.    I am the student's grandparent, stepgrandparent, great-grandparent or stepgreat-grandparent. Can I enroll the student in school?

In accordance with Georgia state law, grandparents may enroll students in school if they have a valid Power of Attorney for the Care of a Minor Child and the student physically resides in the school zone. Families in the following situations may use the Power of Attorney to assign custodial duties for a child to a grandparent, stepgrandparent, great-grandparent or stepgreat-grandparent:

    • The death, serious illness or terminal illness of a parent.
    • The physical or mental condition of the parent or the child such that proper care and supervision of the child cannot be provided by the parent.
    • The loss or uninhabitability of the child's home as the result of a natural disaster.
    • The incarceration of a parent.
    • A period of active military duty of a parent.

 

See administrative regulation JBC-R(0), School Admissions.


6.    What documents are required to verify my residence?

For a detailed description of the documents acceptable for proof of residence, see administrative regulation JBC-R(0), School Admissions or the proof of residence requirements chart. Proof of residence is required annually and at any time it is requested by the school. APS officials may conduct in-person visits to verify the residence of students at any time.

 

7.    My family has lost our home and is temporarily residing outside the zone of our children's school. Do we have to withdraw the students from the school?

Students living in temporary situations that meet federal eligibility requirements for homeless services such as living with another family or in a shelter, campsite, car, hotel/motel or other temporary location may remain enrolled in their school of origin or enroll in the zoned school for the physical location where the student is residing for the duration of the temporary residence/homelessness situation. Transportation may be provided for eligible students to remain enrolled in their school of origin. Students who become permanently housed during the academic year may remain at the school of origin for the remainder of the academic year. Contact the school social worker or the APS homeless liaison for assistance.

 

See policy JBC (1), Homeless Students and regulation JBC (1)-R, Homeless Students.


8.    I would like my child to attend a school other than our zoned neighborhood school. What are my options?

For decades, the Atlanta Public Schools has provided a voluntary student transfer program, which allows students to attend schools outside of their neighborhood school zone. Only schools with space available offer transfers, and students are offered transfers based on a random lottery process if the district receives more applications than there are spaces available at a school. Student transfers are valid through the highest grade level of the school, and transportation is not provided. Transfers may be revoked by the Department of Student Relations due to excessive absenteeism, tardiness, or disciplinary actions.

Charter schools are another choice option provided by APS to parents. Children who are residents of the city of Atlanta are eligible to attend APS charter schools. Most charter schools conduct an enrollment lottery in the spring of each year for the upcoming school year. Contact individual Atlanta Public Schools charter schools directly for detailed information about the schools' enrollment procedures.

For further information, you may also contact the APS Charter Schools Office.

For detailed information on the procedures for out-of-zone transfers, see the APS Student Transfers Web site or contact the APS Department of Student Relations.


9.    I do not live in the city of Atlanta. Can I enroll my child in an Atlanta Public School?

Students who are not residents of the city of Atlanta may attend Atlanta Public Schools upon the payment of tuition. The Atlanta Board of Education sets the amount of tuition each year. Non-resident students may apply to attend schools with space available through the Department of Student Relations.

See Atlanta Board of Education policy JBC, School Admissions.


10. I plan to home school my child. What are the requirements? Can my homeschooled child participate in APS sports/band/after school programs/CRCT testing/etc.?

In accordance with Georgia state law, parents/legal guardians living within the city of Atlanta must file an annual Declaration of Intent to Utilize a Home Study Program and submit monthly documentation of student attendance to the Georgia Department of Education.

For details and forms, see the APS Home School Web site. For the APS policy, see Atlanta Board of Education policy JBC (2), Home Study.

When a parent exercises the option for home study, the parent does not receive any assistance or materials from APS. By selecting home study, the parent has also opted out of all school activities and instruction.


See the Georgia Department of Education for additional guidance for home schooling parents.


11. I would like for my child to attend a charter school. How do I enroll?

APS charter schools are public schools that operate under a contract with the district and the State Board of Education. Children who are residents of the city of Atlanta are eligible to attend Atlanta Public Schools charter schools. Most charter schools conduct an enrollment lottery in the spring of each year for the upcoming school year. Contact individual Atlanta Public Schools charter schools directly for detailed information about the schools' enrollment procedures.


For further information, you may also contact the APS Charter Schools Office.

 



Attending School

 

12. What is considered an excused absence from school?

In accordance with Georgia state law, the Atlanta Board of Education accepts the following reasons for student absence:

  • Personal illness of the student and/or a situation in which attendance in school would endanger the health of the student or the health of others.
  • Serious illness or death in the immediate family of the student that would reasonably necessitate absence from school.
  • Special and recognized religious holidays observed by the faith of the student that necessitate absence from school.
  • Mandates by the school or other governmental agencies, such as pre-induction physical examination for service in the armed forces, a court order or out-of-school suspension.
  • Weather or other environmental conditions preventing a student from getting to school or rendering school attendance hazardous to the health or safety of the student.
  • Voter registration or voting in a public election, not to exceed one (1) day per school year.
  • Five (5) days or fewer per school year for a child of a military or National Guard parent who is called to duty in a combat zone or combat-supporting post or for a student whose parent is on leave from such an assignment.

A student who serves as a page of the Georgia General Assembly shall be credited as present by the school for days missed for this purpose.

Students who are in the hospital or who cannot leave their homes who are receiving homebound student services are also credited as present by the school for days they are not physically present.

The student must be present at school for at least three hours, excluding lunch, in order to be counted as present for the day. Upon return to school from an absence, the student must bring a note, signed by the parent/legal guardian, stating the reason for the absence.


See Atlanta Board of Education policy JBD, Absences and Excuses.

 

13. How will my child get to school?

Students living in the Atlanta Public Schools official attendance zone may receive transportation to and from school. Elementary students who live one (1) mile or more from the zoned school and middle and high school students who live one and one-half (1.5) miles or more from the zoned school are eligible to receive transportation.Transportation is also provided for students who reside in the priority enrollment zone attending Coretta Scott King Young Women's Leadership Academy and BEST Academy and who live 1.5 miles or more from their schools.

Transportation is also provided for students in the following circumstances:

  • Students with disabilities, as specified in the Individualized Education Plan (IEP)
  • Students who are assigned by the superintendent to take a course of study not offered in the zoned school, such as English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) or an alternative school
  • Students who are considered homeless, as required by federal law

 

See Atlanta Board of Education regulation ED-R(1), Student Transportation Management.


14. How will my child get home from school?

Eligible students (see above) may receive transportation home from school. Transportation from school will not be provided for students participating in after-school extracurricular activities such as team sports, bands, cheerleading, chorus or clubs. Some schools have an activity bus that brings students home following afterschool tutorial and other activities. Contact your neighborhood school to determine if an activity bus is available for your student.


See Atlanta Board of Education policy ED, Student Transportation Management.


15. When does APS cancel classes?

The Atlanta Public Schools will close individual schools or all schools in the event of abnormal conditions, hazardous weather or other emergencies that threaten the safety, health, or welfare of students and employees. Details are available on the APS Emergency Closure Web site. APS notifies all major media outlets of school delays, cancellations, and early releases as far in advance as possible and provides updates during abnormal conditions. The APS Homepage is also updated immediately when a school or schools must be closed. APS's Facebook and Twitter (@apsupdate) are regularly updated as well.


See Atlanta Board of Education policy EBBD, Emergency Closings.


16. My child's school has a uniform. Is the uniform required?

Yes. Each school's dress code is defined by an advisory committee comprised of parents, students and school staff. Often the Local School Council may assist in this capacity. Once uniforms have been selected for a school by the advisory committee, students must comply with the uniform requirements or face progressive disciplinary consequences.

A student who cannot afford to purchase uniforms or other specific apparel shall not be denied entry to the school for that reason, and most schools have discretionary funds and/or partners who can assist families who cannot afford the uniforms in procuring the appropriate garments.

Generally questions about approved attire and uniforms should be directed to the school principal. The authority for enforcing dress codes for students is ultimately with the principal.

See Atlanta Board of Education policy JCDB Student Dress Code.


17. May my child carry a mobile/cellular telephone at school?

All students may possess a mobile/cellular telephone at school or on a school bus with written consent from their parents. The use of mobile telephones or personal electronic devices (PEDs) is prohibited at all times during the instructional day, including but not limited to lunch breaks, class changes, study halls and bus rides. Devices must be turned off and out of sight. Only when a student is directed by an APS employee or other school official in an emergency situation may he or she use a mobile telephone or PED during the instructional day or on the school bus.

All staff members have the right to confiscate mobile telephones or PEDs used in violation of this policy. For a detailed description of disciplinary consequences of cellular telephone or PED usage, see administrative regulation JCDAF-R, Use of Electronic Devices by Students.


18. What uses of the Internet by students are allowed at school?

Students are allowed access to the Internet at school to pursue academic achievement and exploration. All Internet use by students should be in the support of educational instruction only. APS employees will educate students about responsible Internet use and safe online behavior and may inspect and monitor any electronic activity conducted by students. Should students fail to use the Internet in a responsible, ethical or lawful manner, APS employees may revoke the privilege of use and take disciplinary action.

For a detailed description of unauthorized Internet use and resulting disciplinary actions, see Atlanta Board of Education policy IFBG, Internet Acceptable Use.


19. My child's school is charging a fee for participation in a field trip/graduation or to receive a gym uniform/etc. Is this allowed?

Atlanta Public Schools may not charge students to participate in any mandatory activities or any field trips that are required as a condition of full participation or credit in the course. Fees may be charged for course-related enhancement or enrichment activities provided the activity is outside the school day and does not affect credit in the course.

Special clothing like gym uniforms may be required but will not be specific as to color or brand. Atlanta Public Schools will provide any special safety equipment or protective clothing for any course. This does not include school uniforms which may be required at your child's school.


For a detailed description of student charges, see Atlanta Board of Education policy JS, Student Fees, Fines and Charges.

 


 

Instruction/Grading/Promotion/Graduation

 

20. How are students graded in Atlanta Public Schools?

Students receive mid-semester and end-of-semester grades. Students in grades K-3 receive performance-based evaluations (e.g. Satisfactory, Growth, Accomplished, In Progress, Needs Improvement, etc.). Students in grades 4-12 receive numeric grades. The following scale is used to determine numeric grades:

    • A = 90-100, Excellent achievement at the assigned performance level
    • B = 80-89, Above average achievement at the assigned performance level
    • C = 70-79, Average achievement at the assigned performance level
    • F = 0-69, Failure to achieve at the assigned performance level

Grades issued in a home school setting will be recorded as Satisfactory (S) or Unsatisfactory (U). No numeric or letter grades will be recorded.

A student enrolled in a course that earns high school credit must complete a state developed end-of-course test (EOCT) that counts as 15% of the final grade for the course. Beginning with the 2011-12 school year, the EOCT will count as 20% of the final grade for the course as the Georgia High School Graduation Test is phased out. For more information on end-of-course testing, see administrative regulation IHA-R, Grading Systems.

 

21. When are progress reports issued? What if I did not receive a progress report for my child?

Regular progress reports must be issued to parents of elementary school students and to middle and high school students by the progress report dates listed on the school calendar each grading period. For a student to receive a failing grade in a course, a progress report must have been issued by the notice date or as soon as the student's grade fell below a 75 after the notice date. For middle and high school students, teachers must contact parents to the best of their ability via telephone, mail and other means.

In instances where students earned failing grades without appropriate teacher documentation of progress reports, students have one semester to complete make-up work to correct the failing grade. After one semester, student grade changes may not be made.


22. What are the requirements for promotion to the next grade level?

In accordance with Georgia state law, the Atlanta Public Schools sets criteria for student promotion that vary by grade level. In addition to a recommendation for promotion from a classroom teacher and principal, requirements for student promotion include the following:

  • Kindergarten: Students must perform at the Readiness level as measured by the state kindergarten assessment.
  • Grades 1-5: Students must perform at or above grade level in reading and language arts and mathematics on the student report card.
  • Grades 6-8: Students must receive a grade of 70 or above in reading and language arts and mathematics on the student report card and must pass 8 subjects each year.
  • Grades 9-12: Students must earn at least one unit in English, mathematics, science and social studies. Promotion to 10th grade requires a total of 5 units, promotion to 11th grade requires a total of 10 units, and promotion to 12th grade requires a total of 15 units.

 
See Atlanta Board of Education policy IHE, Promotion and Retention.
 
 

23. What are the requirements for graduation from high school?

Students in grades 9-12 must meet unit credit requirements for core and elective courses according to Atlanta Board of Education policy IHF(6), Graduation Requirements. In addition to credit requirements, students must meet attendance requirements and pass all state-required assessments including the Georgia High School Graduation Test.

For a detailed description of state assessments, see State Board of Education rule 160-3-1-.07, Testing Programs-Student Assessment.

Students enrolled in Special Education whose Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) indicate that they are unable to meet these requirements will be allowed to participate in graduation ceremonies.

For other exceptions, see policy IHF(6), Graduation Requirements.

 

24. My child has not yet completed one of the requirements for his/her diploma and will do so in the summer session. May he/she walk at graduation?

Students must fulfill all graduation requirements for their diplomas, as described in Atlanta Board of Education policy IHF(6), Graduation Requirements, in order to participate in any graduation ceremonies or exercises. With the exception of students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) that indicate that they are unable to meet requirements, a student who has not met all requirements by the end of his or her senior year may not walk at graduation.

 

25. My child has not passed one section of the Georgia High School Graduation Test (GHSGT/GGT). Can he/she still graduate?

Students must pass all sections of the Georgia High School Graduation Test (GHSGT/GGT) in order to earn a diploma in accordance with the rules of the state board of education. The GHSGT will be phased out over the next several years, but current high school students will still have to successfully meet standards on either the GHSGT or the corresponding end-of-course test. Students first take the state graduation assessment in the spring of their eleventh (11th) grade year and may retake the test as many times as necessary in order to pass all sections.

A Georgia High School Graduation Test Summer Remedial Program may be offered for rising twelfth (12th) grade or retained eleventh (11th) grade students who have failed any portion of the GHSGT. For more information on the GHSGT Summer Remedial Program see State Board of Education rule 160-4-2-.37, Georgia High School Graduation Test Summer Remedial Program.

Waivers or variances may be granted to students incapable of passing all sections of the graduation assessment due to disability or substantial hardship. For a detailed description of these waivers and variances see State Board of Education rule 160-1-3-.09, Waivers and Variances of High School Graduation Assessments.

 

 

 

Complaints

 

26. I am dissatisfied with a service or decision that has been made at my child's school. How do I pursue a resolution?

A parent who is dissatisfied with a service or decision of a particular school should first communicate the dissatisfaction to the teacher or other staff member responsible. If a satisfactory resolution cannot be reached, the parent should contact the school's principal. If the principal does not address the concern to the parent's satisfaction, he or she may voice concern to the regional Executive Director and pursue resolution at the district level.

To anonymously report cases of ethical violations, fraud, waste, abuse or other unacceptable conduct, you may use the district's external reporting hotline.


27. I am dissatisfied with a service or decision that has been made at the charter school my child attends. How do I pursue a resolution?

A parent who is dissatisfied with a service or decision of a charter school should first contact the teacher or other staff member responsible. If the concern is not addressed to the parent's satisfaction, the parent should contact the charter school's principal. If the principal does not address the concern to the parent's satisfaction, the parent should raise the issue with the charter school's governing board.

If neither the principal nor the governing board satisfies the parent's concern, he or she may contact the APS Charter Schools Office for guidance on how to further pursue a resolution.


 
If these FAQs did not address your question or concern, please contact Rebecca Kaye, Director of Policy Development and Governmental Relations at rkaye@atlantapublicschools.us or 404.802.2897.