Lee County schools’ open enrollment window closes at 4 p.m. Friday

The Lee County school district’s annual open enrollment window closes at 4 p.m….

Lee County schools' open enrollment window closes at 4 p.m. Friday 1

Pamela McCabe
 
| Fort Myers News-Press

Lee County schools' open enrollment window closes at 4 p.m. Friday 2

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Lee school district’s Pre-K expansion launches at James Stephens

Applications are now being accepted for the Lee County school district’s preschool on the campus of James Stephens International Academy in Fort Myers.

Pamela McCabe, pmccabe@gannett.com

About 1,000 fifth- and eighth-grade students in Lee County still need to turn in their top school picks for next year.

The Lee County school district’s annual open enrollment window closes at 4 p.m. Friday.

While students can sign up for school anytime during the year, the six-week open enrollment period is ideal for students who are set to start kindergarten, sixth or ninth grade in the fall.

Although the district does not have a count on how many students might need to sign up for kindergarten, school staff are reaching out to the families of about 1,000 current fifth- and eighth-grade students to remind them that the window is closing.

“Schools are working diligently to contact those students so they can get their forms in before the end of open enrollment,” said Rob Spicker, a spokesperson for the district.

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Letters about the open enrollment process were mailed in January to rising sixth- and ninth-grade students. Families of soon-to-be kindergarteners who are already in district-run pre-K programs or have pre-registered for kindergarten received letters, too.

Each letter contains a special PIN number that enables families to log in online to complete the application process.

As part of open enrollment, families are asked to rank all the schools a student can attend, which is based on where they live in the county. Spicker said the open enrollment process increases the chances students are assigned to one of their top choices.

It does not matter if a fifth- or eighth-grade student is attending classes in-person or virtually right now, Spicker said; anyone who is “moving up” to sixth- or ninth-grade should put in their picks now.

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Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the district gave families flexibility in choosing an instructional model that worked best for them. In addition to traditional in-person learning, students could sign up for two forms of virtual learning.

Lee Home Connect, a live form of distance learning, is connected to a student’s school, while Lee Virtual School is a standalone K-12 public online school run by the district.

According to reopening guidelines, students who opted into Lee Virtual during the pandemic can choose to go back to their normally assigned school at the end of each semester in the 2020-21 school year.

Students in Lee Virtual should be on the lookout for a commitment letter in the next week. It will ask if they plan to stay with Lee Virtual or shift back to their regular school.

Next week’s letter will help officials gauge capacity at brick-and-mortar schools.

How to register

The enrollment process can be completed online at leeschools.net, via email or in-person.

Online applications require a PIN code, which can be found on the letter mailed home to families or can be accessed through FOCUS, a parent portal that allows families to review grades, attendance and contact information.

Those who register online will know the results of the student assignment lottery about a week early, Spicker said.

Registration can also be done via email. Messages should be sent to studentenrollment@leeschools.net and the child’s full name should be listed in the subject line.

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Families wishing to register in-person need to go to the student enrollment office at the district headquarters, 2855 Colonial Blvd., Fort Myers. The office is open from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

If enrolling in-person, face masks are required. Students do not have to be present.

“The only time you need to come to the enrollment office is when your student starts kindergarten,” Spicker said.

If registering a student for the first time, families will need to provide certain documents, such as a child’s birth certificate, medical records and proof of address.

The full list of requirements can be found at leeschools.net.

Lee County schools' open enrollment window closes at 4 p.m. Friday 3

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