Enrollment Process

 

 

 

LIFE SCHOOL BOARD POLICY MANUAL

Policy Group 3 – Students

Admissions and Enrollment

 

 

Sec. 3.1.1 Non-discrimination Statement as Part of the Life School Admission Policy

 

It is the policy of Life School to comply with all state and federal regulations regarding admission and not to discriminate during the admission and the lottery process on the basis of gender, national origin, ethnicity, religion, disability, academic, artistic, athletic ability, or the district the child would otherwise attend.

 

Sec. 3.1.2 Application Requirement

 

Life School requires applicants to submit a complete application form in order to be considered for admission. The Superintendent or designee shall set a beginning and closing date for the application window for each school year.

 

In order to be eligible for admission, the applicant or qualifying occupant specified by Education Code 25.001(b) must generally reside in the geographic boundaries set by the Life School charter, and satisfy any other admissions criteria specified in this policy. See “Verification of Residency” below. 

 

Falsification of information on an admissions application may be a criminal offense and may lead to revocation of an offer of admission and/or administrative withdrawal of an enrolled student if Life School learns that an applicant otherwise ineligible for admission was enrolled on the basis of falsified information.

 

Sec. 3.1.3. Lottery Provisions

 

A “lottery” for purposes of this policy is a random selection process that determines the order of enrollment of student applicants. A lottery is to be conducted if the number of applicants exceeds the maximum enrollment. The lottery shall take place within 10 days after the closing date of the application period. The lottery will be conducted via lottery selection software. The principal or designee of each campus will conduct the computerized lottery, with supervision by at least one member of the sponsoring entity or his or her designee and a representative from the Life School Central Office. This ensures that the admissions list and the waiting list are selected randomly. 

 

Sec. 3.1.4. Development of Waiting List

 

The lottery will be paused momentarily after the computerized lottery fills all available seats allowed by the enrollment cap. Applicants selected by lottery will be “deemed admitted” and may proceed from provisional admission (Texas Education Code Section 25.002) to enrollment. The drawing will then continue, and the randomly-selected numbers will be used to create a waiting list. As space becomes available, applicants on the waiting list will be contacted and offered provisional admission beginning with applicants with the lowest number assignment.

 

Sec. 3.1.5. Admission Process of Returning Students

 

Returning students (students who currently attend Life School and intend to return the next school year) are exempted from the lottery if they notify Life School of their intent to return for the next school year by the deadline designated by the Superintendent or designee for the then-current school year.

 

Students desiring to transfer from one Life School campus to another at the start of the new school year must comply with transfer procedures approved by the Superintendent or designee.

 

Sec. 3.1.6. Additional Lottery Considerations

 

Sec. 3.1.6.1. Children of Life School’s Founders, Teachers, and Staff

 

In an effort to keep families together, children of Life School’s founders, teachers, and staff are given lottery priority, as permitted by federal guidance on the Charter Schools Program. Life School founders, teachers, and staff must submit an admissions application in accordance with procedures approved by the Superintendent or designee in order to receive the priority. Life School shall ensure that the total number of students allowed through this priority constitutes only a small percentage of total enrollment.

 

Sec. 3.1.6.2. Siblings of Students

 

In a further effort to keep families together, siblings of students are given lottery priority, as permitted by federal guidance on the Charter Schools Program. This lottery priority applies to (1) siblings of returning students currently enrolled at a Life School campus and who timely notify Life School of their intent to return for the next school; and (2) siblings of new applicants who are offered admission and/or selected in the lottery.

 

For this policy “sibling” shall mean a biological or legally adopted brother or sister residing in the same household as the applicant. Cousins, nieces, nephews and unrelated children sharing an address with the applicant are not siblings. Sibling enrollment is dependent on available space and does not guarantee enrollment of each listed sibling. 

 

Siblings of students must submit an admissions application in accordance with procedures approved by the Superintendent or designee in order to receive the priority.

 

Sec. 3.1.7. Applications Submitted Outside the Designated Application Period

 

If a student applies to Life School outside of the designated application period, the student will be placed on a waiting list in the order of the date in which the application is received.

 

Sec. 3.1.8. Students with Documented Histories of a Criminal Offense and/or Misconduct

 

As authorized by Education Code § 12.111(a)(5)(A), Life School shall exclude from enrollment those students who have a documented history of a criminal offense, a juvenile court adjudication, or other discipline problems under Subchapter A, Chapter 37 of the Education Code. 

 

Sec. 3.1.9. Documents and Information Applicants are Required to Provide

 

Applicants must submit a completed application form to be considered for admission. The application form must be completed and acknowledged by the enrolling adult (or eligible student) and include the following items:

 

  • Applicant’s name (first, last, and middle names)
  • Applicant’s birth date
  • Applicant’s current grade level and grade applied for
  • Applicant’s residential address
  • Phone numbers
  • Applicant’s current school and district names
  • Applicant’s parents’ name and signature
  • Whether the applicant has a sibling already admitted to or attending Life School
  • Whether the applicant has a documented history of a criminal offense, a juvenile court adjudication, or discipline problems under Subchapter A, Chapter 37 of the Education Code.

 

Applicants are not required to provide transcripts or other academic records until after they are offered admission.

 

Sec. 3.1.10. Verification of Residency and Immunization Records for Enrollment

 

Verification of residency and current immunization records are required for all students enrolling. Every student enrolling for the first time must present a signed statement from a physician or documentation of immunizations as required by the Texas Department of Health, no later than 30 days after enrolling. Students who submit an affidavit from a physician stating immunizations should not be administered for medical reasons, and students who submit an affidavit signed by the student’s parent or guardian declining immunizations for reasons of conscience, will be excepted from this requirement. The parent or guardian must furnish records that verify the identity of the student.

 

A person’s “residence,” for the purpose of this policy is the true, fixed and permanent place where the qualifying occupant ordinarily lives and sleeps, not less than four nights during the school week and to which, when temporarily absent from the residence, the occupant intends to return. The qualifying occupant specified by Education Code 25.001(b) must generally reside in the authorized geographic boundaries of Life School, as described in the Life School charter. A person who is homeless, as defined by 42 U.S.C. 11302, need not reside within the geographic boundaries of Life School. In order to verify residency for enrollment, acceptable evidence of residency includes:

 

  • Current property tax bill with parent/guardian's name and property address;
  • Current rental or lease agreement with parent/guardian's name, student name, and address, as well as manager or owner's name and telephone number;
  • Documents related to the purchase of the residence with the parent/guardian's name and property address;
  • Mail dated within 60 days before the application date from the following sources:
    • Social Security Administration;
    • A Texas State government agency;
    • Utility companies;
    • Credit card bill;
    • Financial institutions; including checking or savings;
    • Insurance companies;
    • State and Federal Revenue documents;
    • Paycheck information.
    • Other sources or documents demonstrating residency.
 
If, at any time, a student's or qualifying occupant’s residence is in question, Life School may ask for additional documents for verification. If the parent or legal guardian cannot provide evidence of residency because the parent or legal guardian is living with a relative or friend, a notarized statement by the relative or friend may be accepted by Life School with the following stipulation:

 

  • Notarized statement must state that the parent or legal guardian and child are living with the relative/friend;
  • Notarized statement must state the name of relative or friend who is on the relative or friend’s proof of residence;
  • Notarized statement must state the same address of relative or friend who is on the relative or friend’s proof of residence;
  • A copy of the relative or friend’s proof of residence must be attached to the notarized statement (meeting the documentation criteria described above); and
  • The notarized statement must be signed by same name of relative or friend who is on the relative or friend’s proof of residence.

 

Subsequently, within 60 days, at least two current documents, Life School must be provided confirmation of residency from one or more of the following sources: 

  • Credit card companies;
  • U.S. Treasury;
  • Social Security Administration, including benefits letter;
  • Texas State government agencies (including city and county agencies);
  • Utility companies;
  • Financial institutions including checking, savings, or investment account statements;
  • Insurance companies;
  • State and Federal Revenue departments.

 

Life School may conduct home-visits, at any time, to confirm residency of applicants and enrolled students. Falsification of residence on an enrollment form is a criminal offense. 

 

Sec. 3.1.11. Adult Student Attendance Requirement for Continued Admission

 

A person who voluntarily attends school after his or her 19th birthday shall attend school each school day for the entire period the program of instruction is offered. Life School may revoke, for the remainder of the school year, the enrollment of a person who has more than five absences in a semester that are not excused under Education Code 25.087, except that Life School may not revoke the enrollment on a day on which the person is physically present at school. A person whose enrollment is revoked under this subsection may be considered an unauthorized person on school grounds and a criminal trespass warning may be issued. Prior to revoking the person’s enrollment, Life School shall issue a warning letter to the person, after the third unexcused absence, stating that the person’s enrollment may be revoked for the remainder of the school year if the person has more than five unexcused absences in a semester. As an alternative to revoking enrollment, Life School may impose a behavior improvement plan.

 

Sec. 3.1.12. Student Residency Separate from Parent/Guardian

 

In order to protect the best interests of students enrolled, for purposes of students under the age of 18 who have established a residence apart from the person’s parent, guardian, or other person having lawful control, such persons must establish their separate residency and verify it with documentation acceptable to Life School in the same manner as other students. However, a student under 18 and not living with parents or guardian, who has engaged in conduct in the preceding year that has resulted in a disciplinary removal, alternative placement or expulsion, or who has engaged in delinquent conduct or conduct in need of supervision and is on probation or other conditional release for that conduct, or has been convicted of a criminal offense and is on probation or other conditional release, shall not be admitted to Life School. The Superintendent shall follow “Students with Documented Histories of a Criminal Offense and/or Misconduct,” above, in making such determination.

 

Sec. 3.1.13. McKinney-Vento Policy Statement

 

“Homelessness” means lacking a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. The Superintendent or designee shall appoint a Liaison for Homeless Children and Youths to serve as the primary contact between homeless families and school staff, shelter workers, and other service providers. The liaison will also assist in obtaining necessary immunizations, if needed. If a dispute arises over the enrollment of a homeless child, he shall be immediately admitted to Life School until resolution of the dispute.

 

Sec. 3.1.14. McKinney-Vento Compliance

 

Life School shall strive to enroll and have attend, homeless children who are not currently attending school and shall adopt policies and practices to ensure that students, including homeless children are not stigmatized or segregated on the basis of their homeless status. Life School shall review and revise policies which act as barriers to the enrollment of homeless children. In determining homelessness, Life School shall give consideration to factors such as transportation, immunization, residency, birth certificates, school records and other documentation, and guardianship. 

 

As a condition of receiving funds under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Improvements Act, Life School shall serve homeless children according to their best interests. In determining the best interest of a child, Life School shall:

 

  1. To the extent feasible, keep a homeless child in the school of origin—the school that the child attended when permanently housed or the school in which the child was last enrolled—except when doing so is contrary to the wishes of the child’s parent or guardian;
  2. Provide a written explanation to the homeless child’s parent or guardian, including a statement of appeal rights, if Life School sends the child to a school other than the school of origin or a school requested by the parent or guardian; and
  3. In the case of an unaccompanied youth, consider the views of the child and provide the notice required in the event of an enrollment dispute.

 

The school selected for attendance in accordance with the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Improvements Act shall immediately enroll a homeless child even if the child is unable to produce records normally required for enrollment. Life School shall immediately contact the last school the child attended in an attempt to obtain relevant academic and other records. If the child needs immunizations, or immunization or medical records, Life School shall immediately refer the child’s parent or legal guardian to Life School’s homeless liaison for assistance.

 

Should a dispute arise over school identification and/or enrollment thought to be homeless, the child shall be immediately admitted to Life School pending resolution of the dispute. Life School shall provide the child’s parent or guardian with a written explanation of the decision regarding school selection or enrollment, including the right to appeal Life School’s enrollment decision. Life School shall also refer the child, parent, or guardian to the homeless liaison, who shall conduct a dispute resolution process as expeditiously as possible.

 

Sec. 3.1.15. Discrepancies in Student Name

 

The Superintendent or designee shall notify the Missing Children and Missing Persons Information Clearinghouse if a child is enrolled under a name other than the name that appears on the identifying documents. If a student’s records have not been received within 30 days of a request, the Superintendent or designee shall notify local law enforcement for a determination of whether the child has been reported as missing.

 

Sec. 3.1.16. Food Allergy Information

 

The parent of each student enrolled with Life School must complete a form provided by Life School that discloses (1) whether the child has a food allergy or a severe food allergy that should be disclosed to Life School to enable Life School to take any necessary precautions regarding the child’s safety and (2) specifies the food(s) to which the child is allergic and the nature of the allergic reaction. 

 

For purposes of this requirement, the term “severe food allergy” means a dangerous or life-threatening reaction of the human body to a food-borne allergen introduced by inhalation, ingestion, or skin contact that requires immediate medical attention. 

 

Life School may also require information from a child’s physician if the child has food allergies. 

 

Food allergy information forms will be maintained in the child’s student records, and shall remain confidential. Information provided on food allergy information forms may be disclosed to teachers, school counselors, school nurses, and other appropriate school personnel only to the extent consistent with Board policy and as permissible under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (“FERPA”).