Enrolling in a Tuscaloosa County SchoolGeneral Requirements
- The Alabama compulsory attendance law requires all children between the ages of 6 - 17 to attend school.
- Children entering kindergarten must be five (5) years old on or before September 2nd.
- Children entering first grade must be six (6) years old on or before December 31st.
All students who seek to enroll in a school of the school system for the first time must present to the Principal the following documents:
- an official birth certificate or other document for age verification purposes in kindergarten and first grade (examples: U.S. or foreign birth certificate; religious, hospital, or physician’s statement; baptismal certificate; adoption record; previously verified school records; or other record acceptable to the school principal). Failure of the parent/legal guardian to provide a birth certificate will not deny, nor delay, a student’s enrollment.
- proof of residence (falsification of residency is prohibited by Alabama Law [Section 13A-10-109])
- recent report card or release from last school attended
- copy of current immunization form
- valid social security number – providing a social security number for school enrollment purposes is completely voluntary and failure to do so will not deny, nor delay, a student’s enrollment. The use of a social security number is solely for the purpose of identification of a student in our student management system. A unique identification number can be assigned by the local school system for any student whose parent/legal guardian do not wish to provide that information.
- custody or guardianship papers, if applicable
- verification from Principal of transferring school that the student is not currently suspended or expelled
- complete enrollment/transfer form
NOTE: Any student 17 years-of-age or older who has not registered within five (5) school days of the beginning of a new school term will be denied admission unless extenuating circumstances are approved by the Superintendent or his/her designee. An exception can be made for a special education student in an Individual Education Plan (IEP) meeting. If a person's 21st birthday is on or before the first day of school on any given school year, he/she shall not be admitted to a school within the Tuscaloosa County School System without the written approval of the Principal and Superintendent. A person applying for enrollment who would not be able to graduate before his/her 21st birthday must have written approval of the Principal and Superintendent.Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K)
Residence and Attendance Zone Requirements
- In Alabama, students are not required to attend Pre-K and funding is not provided as it is on a comprehensive basis for kindergarten through twelfth grade. The Tuscaloosa County School System places a high value on Pre-K programs and will continually strive to provide and expand Pre-K services as possible. As such, opportunity for enrollment into Pre-K classes in the Tuscaloosa County School System is on a limited basis.
- A child whose fourth (4th) birthday is on or before September 2nd shall be eligible to apply for admission to the Pre-K Program. Completion of a Pre-K application does not guarantee that a child will be enrolled, but instead places the child on a list for the school's random selection drawing, per Office of School Readiness (OSR) guidelines. Priority will be given to students who live within the school's attendance zone. Should there not be sufficient interest to fill open Pre-K class(es) within the school's attendance zone, students within the entire Tuscaloosa County School System may be considered. Eligible special education students (ages 3 - 5) will be served according to their Individual Education Program (IEP).
ResponsibilityThe Principal shall determine the residence of a student based upon the residence of his/her parent/legal guardian. If the Principal is unable to determine the residence of the student, assistance from the Director of Student Services shall be requested.ResidenceA legal residence within an appropriate school zone shall determine enrollment eligibility for the Tuscaloosa County School System. Anytime the actual residence of a student comes into question, the Director of Student Services or his/her designee may investigate and in his/her discretion, require additional proof of full-time, actual residency within the attendance zone or county, as the case may be.ZoneA student must attend the school(s) within the school zone in which his/her parent/legal guardian has established legal residence, except when school assignment has been approved as a part of the system-wide instructional program, under the employee transfer provision or when a senior whose parent/legal guardian establishes residence outside the area served by the School System or outside the school zone. At the discretion of the parent/legal guardian, the student may complete his/her senior year at the school he/she currently attends. The School System shall not be responsible for the student's transportation.Adult StudentsAn adult student 19 years-of-age or older may establish a legal residence based on applicable state laws.Establishing ResidencySection I: Definition of ResidenceFor school attendance purposes, definition of residence is that the student physically resides full time, weekdays/nights and weekends, at a place of abode located within the limits of the school district or zone. All students will register at the school they are assigned to attend. The parent/legal guardian will provide evidence of residence and the school district administration will verify bona fide occupancy.A student enrolling or entering the school district will be required to verify his/her residence address as a part of the registration process. Students are not legally enrolled until the verification of residence has been completed. Students, their parent/legal guardian may be required to provide a Declaration of Residence on forms to be established by the Superintendent or his/her designee.Section II: Establishing ResidencyA. Students Living with Parents/Legal GuardiansThe parent/legal guardian of a student seeking to enroll in a school will provide theschool district with a mortgage document, property deed or an apartment or home leaseAND any one of the items (1) through (4) below as verification of their address:1. Utility bills (water, gas or electricity);2. Personal visit by a designated school district official;3. Filed Homestead Exemption Application form;and/or4. Any other documentation that will objectively and unequivocally establish that theparent/legal guardian resides within the school district. Any document with a postoffice box as an address will NOT be accepted. An affidavit will NOT be accepted asproof of residency. If the student has a legal guardian, a copy of the court orderappointing the guardian must be provided to the district. If a petition forguardianship has been filed and the decree is pending, the student or guardian mustprovide a certified copy of the filed petition for guardianship. Any legalguardianship for the purpose of establishing residency for school attendancepurposes shall not be recognized.B. Homeless Child/Unaccompanied YouthWhen a child is determined to be homeless as defined by the Stewart B. McKinney, Act42 USC Sections 11431 (1), 11432 (e)(4), and 11302 (a), the school district will consider andtake the enrollment action that is in the best interest of the child pursuant to 42 USC11432 (e)(3).C. Students Living with Adults other than Parents or Legal GuardiansThe non-parent claiming district residency must meet the same criteria as that of
parent/legal guardian as stated in Part A.The adult must provide the school with legal guardianship or custodial papers and
provide documentation fully explaining the reason(s) (other than school attendance
zone or district preference) for this arrangement. The Superintendent or his/her
designee will make the necessary factual determinations. Examples of situations where
guardianship authority of an adult will be recognized to establish residency of the minorinclude but are not limited to the following:
Section III: District RequirementsThe requirements as stated in Section II are minimal and the Tuscaloosa County School System reserves the right to require additional documentation and verification at any time. The Principal of a school is responsible for ensuing that only students eligible to attend that school are in fact enrolled and attending.Section IV: Non-ComplianceAny suspicion of violation of residence requirements will be investigated. Any case that cannot be resolved by the Principal will be referred to the Director of Student Services or his/her designee for additional investigation and further action. Students enrolled in a school without proper residence verification and without an approved transfer will be withdrawn from the school in which they are illegally enrolled.Copies of Court Ordered Custody AgreementsCopies of court ordered custody agreements restricting visitation from the non-custodial parent(s) must be filed in the main office.Alabama High School Athletic Association Transfer RuleCustody or legal guardianship transfer with anyone will NOT establish immediate athletic eligibility. Unless the parent or guardian makes a bona fide move, the student must complete one (1) calendar year in attendance to establish athletic eligibility. A detailed explanation of a bona fide move is provided in the Parent-Student Information Guide.McKinney-Vento (Homeless Child/Unaccompanied Youth)Children who are zoned to attend the Tuscaloosa County schools and who are homeless/unaccompanied youth will have access to a free, appropriate education. McKinney-Vento students and/or their parent/guardian should contact Mr. Gregory Hurst, Homeless Liaison, at (205) 342-2754.Immunization certificates, required by Alabama law, must be presented to the Principal before a child can enroll in public school. Certificates are available from local physicians or local health departments. Only students presenting a Certificate of Medical Exemption or a Certificate of Religious Exemption are excused from this requirement.
- death or serious illness of the child's parent/legal guardian;
- abandonment of the child;
- child abuse or neglect;
- seriously unstable family relationships or undesirable conditions in the home of the
child's parent/legal guardian having a documented detrimental effect on the child;
- students enrolled in recognizing exchange programs residing with host families;
- incarceration of a parent.