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Before you enroll your child, the first thing you should do is to thoroughly consider every available option and choose the one that will best suit your child’s needs. Vancouver School Board (VSB) offers a wide variety of education choices, all of which are designed to provide innovative learning experiences for students both inside and outside of the classroom.
According to your child‘s needs you can choose from schools and programs ranging from Montessori, French immersion, Mandarin bilingual, mini-schools to fine and performing arts programs, sports academies, career programs, gifted enrichment education, and an outdoor school, to name just a few options.
Determine your child’s educational needs and objectives
The final choice will influence the future development of your child’s abilities and talents so it’s very important not to neglect the initial stage of analyzing every option that is out there. All too often, the hardest part is to find a school situated close to your home that would conform to all of your requirements and expectations.
That is not always possible and in many cases parents are forced to choose a program provided by a school with a specific academic focus situated in another area of the city. Anyway, the most important thing you should do is to:
- Consider your child’s special talents, strengths and requirements.
- Ask, “What does he or she need to succeed?” It is the responsibility of all of us – parents, teachers, community members, and students – to work together to help every child succeed.
Become familiar with your neighborhood school
Once you’ve analyzed the needs of your child you should get as much information as possible about the program that seems to fit those needs as well as his or her objectives. First of all, you may use the locator tools on the VSB website to find a school by postal code, school name, grade level, or programs offered.
However, personal contact is always the best way to get up-to-date information about the given school and the interaction with other parents can only accelerate the decision-taking process. So don’t hesitate and:
- Visit the school to meet with the school principal and staff.
- Get feedback from other parents, family, and friends.
- Attend open house events. Many Vancouver public schools hold open houses for prospective parents and students in the fall and winter.
Every student who resides in Vancouver has a VSB neighbourhood school corresponding to catchment boundary. The majority of them will attend their neighbourhood school but there’s also the possibility of applying cross boundary to a school outside their catchment area provided that space, resources and an appropriate program is available.
Those who choose the latter should visit their neighbourhood school and pick up a cross boundary application form. On the form families are asked to indicate other schools to which they have submitted a cross boundary form.
If the requisite space and facilities are determined to be available, cross boundary applications will be accepted in the following priority:
- Students enrolled as residents during the current school year or accepted on a cross boundary application during the previous year;
- Siblings (when other siblings are attending the school concurrently);
- Students enrolled in on-site childcare programs, or whose childcare needs are provided within the attendance area;
- Students whose residence falls within the attendance areas of other Vancouver schools;
- Students whose residence falls outside the Vancouver School District
Families may only accept one cross boundary offer. Once a family agrees to accept an offer, their application for cross boundary at other schools will be nullified.
The Application Process
A number of factors come into play as far as acceptance to certain schools and programs is concerned, some of them being academic achievement, test scores or even a random lottery.
It’s important to note that students having siblings who will continue to attend the school or program the following school year will be given priority consideration as long as they submit their application prior to the last business day in January.
Once the school has been chosen for your child, you will need to present specific information and documents to register. In order to avoid any unintended complications, you should start the registration process as soon as possible. Students who cannot be accommodated at their neighbourhood school will be placed on the school’s waitlist. Waitlisted students, in the interim, will be place at a neighbouring school that has the space, resources and staff to accommodate them. Late applicants, including siblings of in-catchment students already enrolled in the school, will be added to the end of the school’s waitlist. Late in-catchment sibling applicants will have priority consideration over other late in-catchment applicants.
The rules applying to the registration process vary according to the following criteria:
- Kindergarten students who were born in Vancouver, regardless of language spoken at home, must register with a parent or legal guardian at their chosen school;
- Kindergarten-Grade 12 students who were born in Canada, and who speak English as their first language, must register with a parent or legal guardian at their chosen school;
- Kindergarten-Grade 12 students who were born in Canada, and who DO NOT speak English as their first language, must register with a parent or legal guardian at DRPC;
- Kindergarten-Grade 12 students born outside Canada, regardless of language spoken at home, must register with a parent or legal guardian at DRPC.
VSB’s DRPC is located at Moberley Elementary School (east wing), 1000 East 59th Ave.
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Monday to Friday
The documents you will have to present in order to complete the application are the following:
1. Proof of residence in Vancouver:
- Home owners: recent property tax statement or purchase agreement if you just bought a new home
- Tenants: Formal rental or lease agreement and hydro or cable statement;
- Parent Declaration of Residence form (available at the District Reception and Placement Centre.
2. Child’s birth certificate (ideally showing parents’ name/s)
3. Immigration documents, Canadian Citizenship documents or Aboriginal status identification for parents and child(ren)
4. Immunization records (if available) and other important health information (e.g. medical alerts)
5. Child’s previous report cards
a) Elementary – Two most recent years of report cards
b) Secondary – All report cards from grade7/age 13 to present
6. Any other relevant documentation involving guardianship, court orders, etc.