Could it be possible that your youngster is almost ready to enter the Evanston school system? Well, if he or she is celebrating a fifth birthday before next Sept. 1, the folks at Evanston/Skokie School District 65 would like to talk.

In fact, several events are planned for new kindergarten families, starting with five Information Nights, Jan. 14-21, when staff members and teachers will share information about the kindergarten experience and will provide details on the registration and magnet program application process.

Magnets, incidentally, have nothing to do with those metallic devices that paper clips love to cling to. They are schools that draw students “like a magnet” from throughout the district.

Otherwise, your new student will be expected to enter what is called an attendance-area school. There’s a map on the district website that will tell you the location of your attendance-area school, based upon your address. Warning: It may not be the school nearest to you. (Can you find the Willard Island?)

Once you know the name of your attendance-area school, you’ll be ready to start. The first session, on Jan. 14, will be conducted in Spanish and will cover all the schools.

The Jan. 19 session will focus on students who will attend Dawes, Oakton, or Walker. Jan. 20 is for students who will attend Kingsley, Lincolnwood, Orrington, or Willard. And Jan. 21 is for prospective students at Dewey, Lincoln, or Washington.

All of these sessions will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at district headquarters at the Joseph E. Hill Education Center, located at 1500 McDaniel Ave. There’s plenty of free parking, and if you’re in need of childcare, call first at (847) 859-8065 to reserve space.

In addition to telling you about the registration process, staff persons will be on hand to tell about nutrition services, health requirements, childcare, bus transportation, and other programs and services they provide. There will also be time to answer your questions.

The following week there will be kindergarten open houses at 7 p.m. at the attendance-area schools on Jan. 26, at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Literary and Fine Arts School on Jan. 27, and at the Dr. Bessie Rhodes School of Global Studies on Feb. 4. The latter two are those magnet schools we referred to earlier.

After all this, you should be ready to tackle kindergarten registration, to be held March 1-4.

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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