School choice deadline just around the corner

Published March 17, 2007

Your child is registered with Pinellas County Schools and has a personal identification number from the district. Now all you need to do is find an attendance area school before the March 24 application deadline. Where do you start? Three things every parent should know:

Which school is right for my child?

First you need to find out which schools fall in your attendance area. To determine your area, go to www.pinellaschoice.org and click on Student Assignment Plan at the top of the left margin. Area maps begin on Page 7 of that online document.

Research the schools that interest you. Most have tours scheduled through March 21. The school district Web site, www. pinellas.k12.fl.us, has detailed information on each school, including enrollment and student performance. More data can be found on the Florida Department of Education Web site, www.fldoe.org.

You know which schools interest you. Now what?

If your child already has a PIN from the district, you're ready to apply for your top three choices. Parents of all children can apply by calling 501-0871, except those requesting family preference. Parents of fifth- and eighth-grade students, except those requesting family preference, also may apply online at apply.pinellas choice.org using the PIN sent to them in January. (For information on how to apply for family preference, which will allow multiple children from the same household to attend the same school, go to www.pinellaschoice.org/howto apply.html.)

If your child does not yet have a PIN, call or visit a Family Education and Information Center. For locations and contact information, visit www. pinellaschoice.org and click on Family Education and Information Centers in the left margin.

Next, apply to your top three choices by using the four-digit school numbers found on Page 25 of the district's Choice Information Guide.

You've applied to your top three choices? What now?

You can change the schools you've chosen at any time before the application period ends. However, you must change the application in the same manner as it was made. If you applied online, you need to make the change online.

If you applied by phone, change by phone. Letters to notify parents of their children's school assignments will be mailed by April 13.

Information from staff writers Donna Winchester and Tom Tobin was used in this report.

Fast Facts:

Is this you?

Who needs to apply for an attendance area school? Parents with children:

- Entering kindergarten or entering or returning to the district in August 2007.

- Entering sixth grade.

- Entering ninth grade and do not want to use extended grandfathering.

- Who want to change schools within their attendance area.

Have more questions about choosing an attendance area school? View the district's Choice Information Guide at www.pinellaschoice.org.