All children in Pennsylvania have the right to a free public school education from age six (possibly younger) to high school graduation, or until the end of the school term in which the child turns twenty-one (whichever comes first).

What do I have to provide when I enroll my child in school?

Students who are enrolling into a Philadelphia school must provide the following:

1. Proof of child’s age (the following list includes examples, but is not exhaustive)

  • Child’s original birth certificate
  • Notarized copy of the child’s birth certificate
  • Child’s valid passport
  • Original baptismal certificate indicating the child’s date of birth
  • Copy of the record of baptism, notarized or duly certified and showing the date of birth
  • Notarized statement from the parents or another relative indicating the date of birth
  • Prior school records indicating the date of birth

2. Immunization record (one of the following is required)

  • Child’s immunization record
  • Written statement from the former school district or from a medical office that the required immunizations have been administered, or that a required series is in progress
  • Verbal assurances from the former school district or a medical office that the required immunizations have been completed, with records to follow
  • Exemption from immunization
    • (a) Medical exemption. Children need not be immunized if a physician or the physician’s designee provides a written statement that immunization may be detrimental to the health of the child. When the physician determines that immunization is no longer detrimental to the health of the child, the child shall be immunized according to this subchapter[GD2] .
    •  (b) Religious exemption. Children need not be immunized if the parent, guardian, or emancipated child objects in writing to the immunization on religious grounds or on the basis of a strong moral or ethical conviction similar to a religious belief.

Please note: If a student has just started a series for each type of shot, she or he may be enrolled. The student must be in the process and keeping up with the timeline of the series (for example, the student just got shot one and he/she will get shot two within thirty days of shot one).

3. Proof of residency (one of the following is required)

  • Deed
  • Valid Department of Transportation identification card
  • Mortgage settlement sheet
  • Current credit card bill
  • Current utility bill (gas, electric, cable, telephone)
  • Recent vehicle registration
  • Recent property tax bill
  • Voter registration card showing current address
  • Valid driver’s license or change of address card with current address
  • Recent bank statement with current address
  • Letter from Social Security Office with current address
  • IRS statement or other wage and tax statements, such as W2, 1040, 1099
  • Letter from Public Assistance Office with current address
  • Recent employer pay stub showing current address
  • Foster care/childcare and Department of Human Services letters are acceptable for registration when a student is in the care of a foster/child care agency
  • Shelter placement or residency letters are acceptable for homeless students
  • Original lease with name(s) of parents/legal guardians and children
  • Signed property sales agreement, followed by original copy of settlement papers within forty-five calendar days of settlement

Schools should be flexible in verifying residency, and should consider what information is reasonable in light of the family’s situation.

4) Parent registration statement

A sworn statement describing any suspensions or expulsions for offenses involving drugs, alcohol, weapons, infliction of injury or violence on school property must be provided for a student to be admitted to any school entity. However, the school cannot deny or delay a child’s school enrollment based on a student’s disciplinary record or sworn statement.

If a student is currently expelled for a weapons offense, the school can provide the student with alternative education services during the period of expulsion. If the student has been expelled from a school in which she or he was previously enrolled, for reasons other than a weapons offense, the school will review the student’s prior performance and school record to identify services and supports to be provided upon enrollment in the district.

5) Home language survey

All students enrolling in a school for the first time will be given a home language survey, as required by the US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. A student’s enrollment cannot be delayed in order to administer the Home Language Survey.

I have sent in all of my materials. What happens now?

When your child applies to a school, the school must enroll her or him within five business days.

My child’s school is asking for additional materials. Why? Do I have to provide them?

As a part of the district’s efforts to maintain a safe environment for students, schools may request the following:

  • A copy of the parent/guardian’s picture identification at the time of registration. This copy will be kept on file for the purposes of verifying the identification of persons who are authorized to escort the child to and from school.
  • Health or physical examination records, academic records, attendance records, Individualized Education Program, and other special-education records so the student can be placed in the appropriate grade level/classroom with the appropriate level of supports.

Although schools may ask for any of this information, they cannot require it and your child’s enrollment cannot be delayed if you have not provided it. The school may follow up with the parent/guardian for this information after the child has been enrolled in the school.