A parent and two children at an enrollment fair
(File photo) Desiree Martin and her children Hayden, right, and Elliot are pictured July 28, 2021, at an enrollment fair held by Kansas City Public Schools at Manual Career and Technical Center. Area school districts have resources for families that need help meeting enrollment requirements. (Zachary Linhares/The Beacon)

There still is time to enroll children in local public schools. But the earlier you act, the more options you may have and the more likely schools will be ready for your student.

Some districts — like Raytown and Center — list deadlines to ensure students will have a spot on a school bus during the first weeks of school or that they’ll be ready to attend on day one. 

Others, such as Kansas City Public Schools, still have limited openings in pre-K classrooms and at signature schools, which have specific focus areas and districtwide attendance zones. 

Multiple grades at Lincoln College Preparatory High School, as well as pre-K programs at Border Star Montessori, Holliday Montessori and Hale Cook Elementary, are already full, KCPS student recruiter Tonoa Foster said. KCPS added new pre-K classrooms at other schools and still has more spaces open than usual. 

At KCPS, students who weren’t enrolled by spring may not be able to ride a bus to school until about two weeks into the new academic year. That’s when the district adjusts bus routes to fit students who enrolled later, Foster said.

In Missouri, most Kansas City-area school districts begin school the week of Aug. 21. On the Kansas side of the metro, schools start even earlier, most the week of Aug. 14. 

There is no hard deadline to enroll. Public schools accept new students throughout the school year.

“People move when they move,” said Chad Brinton, director of core data at North Kansas City Public Schools, the second-largest district in Missouri. “So we’re always willing to accommodate (and) welcome them whenever they come.”

The following are key questions about enrolling students in local public schools.

How do I know where to enroll? 

Missouri and Kansas students typically enroll in public schools based on where they live. 

But identifying the local district or neighborhood school isn’t intuitive, as the dozens of districts in the metro area don’t align with city boundaries.  

Show Me KC Schools, a nonprofit organization that helps families navigate their school options, has an interactive map to determine which district you live in. The local school district can help parents or guardians identify their neighborhood school and figure out whether their student is eligible for any special programs or schools. 

What documents do I need to enroll my children in school? 

For enrollment, schools typically require documentation such as the student’s birth certificate, vaccination records and proof of residence. 

In Kansas, students younger than 9 who are entering school for the first time must also complete a health assessment or physical. Some Missouri students also need physicals to participate in sports or other activities. 

Check with the local district for enrollment requirements, which may differ for new and returning students. 

For example, KCPS requires transcripts for signature schools but not neighborhood schools, Foster said. The district asks parents and guardians to provide proof of residency as well as a photo ID such as a driver’s license, nondriver identification or work badge. 

Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools accepts lease or mortgage documents, a driver’s license with a current address, recent utility bills or recent government mail as proof of residency. 

NKC schools require two pieces of proof of residency: a utility bill and a lease, mortgage statement or property tax bill. 

Unhoused students would likely not have those types of documents, but federal protections ensure they can still enroll. At KCPS, the Office of Students in Transition determines what kind of enrollment documentation makes sense for families experiencing houselessness, Foster said. 

In NKC schools, the district’s central office can help students experiencing homelessness or who can’t prove residency, Brinton said.  

How can I get help with enrollment?

While many districts offer online enrollment, there are also in-person options and events for families that need more help. 

Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools is planning several registration and resource fairs throughout the summer. 

Where to get required vaccines for school

Kansas and Missouri both have lists of vaccines that are required for enrollment — unless students are exempt for medical or religious reasons. 

The federal Vaccines for Children program provides free vaccines for children who are uninsured, underinsured, on Medicaid, or who are American Indian/Alaska Native. The Missouri Health Department provides an interactive map for doctors and health centers that participate. 

Kansas City, Missouri, metro-area sources of free or low-cost vaccines for qualifying children include the health departments of Kansas City, Jackson County, Clay County and Platte County.

On the Kansas side, the Unified Government Health Department in Wyandotte County and the Johnson County Health Department participate in the Vaccines for Children program. 

North Kansas City schools offer enrollment help and advice on how to access vaccines, Brinton said. The district can also provide language interpretation. 

KCPS families can go to the Board of Education building at 2901 Troost, which is the district’s central office, to enroll in person. “The health department is right down the street” if students need vaccines or copies of birth certificates, Foster said. 

Important dates and links for 2023-2024 school year enrollment

Blue Springs School District

  • June 5: New student enrollment opened, Monday through Thursday 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m. 
  • July 10, 18 and 26 and Aug. 3: Enrollment open for extended hours, 8 a.m.-7 p.m. 
  • Aug. 22: First day of school

To enroll a new student, call the district’s Department of Public Safety at 816-874-3330.

Blue Valley Schools

  • Aug. 15: Transition day for grades 6 and 9
  • Aug. 16: First day of school

Center School District

  • July 1: Registration opened for new and returning students.
  • Aug. 17: Deadline for online registration to ensure the child is ready for the first day of school
  • Aug. 21: First day of school

Hickman Mills C-1 School District

  • Aug. 4: Annual online registration for returning families ends 
  • Aug. 21: First day of school for grades pre-K to 2, 6 and 9
  • Aug. 22: First day of school for all other grades

The enrollment office is open by appointment only. Information for new families and returning families is available online. 

Independence School District 

  • Aug. 21: First day of school

Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools

  • July 26: Registration and resource fair, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., KCKPS Central Office
  • July 28: Registration and resource fair, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., KCKPS Central Office 
  • Aug. 1: Registration and resource fair, 10 a.m.-7 p.m., J.C. Harmon High School
  • Aug. 5: Back to School Fair, 8 a.m.-6 p.m., F.L. Schlagle High School 
  • Aug. 8: Registration and resource fair, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., KCKPS Central Office
  • Aug. 16: First day of school for grades K-5, 6 and 9
  • Aug. 17: First day of school for all other grades

Kansas City Public Schools

  • July 7: Pre-K and Head Start enrollment fair, 8 a.m.-3 p.m., Manual Tech
  • July 15: Pre-K and Head Start enrollment fair, noon-3 p.m., Board of Education 
  • Aug. 5: KCPS Fest, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., East High School. Includes school supplies and health services such as vaccines. 
  • Aug 12: Back to School Bash at Central High School for KCPS families
  • Aug. 21: First day of school 

Lee’s Summit R-7 School District

  • July 17-31: Registration window
  • July 17-28: English Language Learners Welcome Center open 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. 
  • Aug. 23: First day of school 

Liberty Public Schools

  • Aug. 23: First day of school 

North Kansas City Schools

  • Mid-July: Registration opens for returning students
  • Aug. 22: First day of school 

Note: Registration is already open for new students. 

Olathe Public Schools

  • July 6: Enrollment opens 
  • Aug. 11: First day of school for grades K-5, 6 and 9. 
  • Aug. 14: First day of school for all other students 

Park Hill School District

  • Aug. 21: First day of school 

Raytown Quality Schools

  • July 12: Enrollment opens
  • Aug. 9: Deadline to enroll to ensure bus service during first two weeks of school 
  • Aug. 23: First day of school 

The district’s enrollment center is open by appointment.

Shawnee Mission School District

  • Aug. 15: First day of school for grades 1-7, 9 and 12
  • Aug. 16: First day of school for all other students 

Recent Posts

Maria Benevento is the education reporter at The Kansas City Beacon. She is a Report for America corps member. Follow her on Twitter @MariaFBenevento.