Uprooting your entire life and moving to a new home is stressful and overwhelming at times. If you’re changing jobs, there’s even more pressure. Add kiddos to the picture, and suddenly your local or long-distance move has a very complex, emotional component mixed into all the moving parts.
Other than home life, the time your child spends at school has a tremendous influence on how well she/he will acclimate to the new environment. As part of Optimum Moving’s mission to deliver unmatched, white-glove moving services to the Tri-State area, we put together this practical checklist based on expert guidance for a turnkey approach to transitioning your child into a new school system during your move.
Most people don’t have a process for hiring complete strangers to pack and transport all their personal things—including cherished items of value. That’s why we put together the Residential Moving Checklist.
The in-depth article you’re reading now expands on one part of that checklist by providing 3 concrete ways you can manage your records in order to create a seamless transition for your child entering a new school.
Once you’re certain what school district your new home is in, you can begin this process right away. Depending on your child’s unique educational experience, you may need more than two months to get everything in order.
- Your first step should be to contact the new school. Each school has its own specific paperwork for incoming students, and that’s a good place to start.
Many of the items in this checklist will be asked for in those forms, and this checklist isn’t meant to replace any particular school’s paperwork. This hands-on tool is intended to give you a head start compiling what you need.
If you’re still researching the best school districts to be in, or you’re not sure of the school contact information, follow these links to complete lists of all the schools in the school districts of Bergen County, Hudson County, Morris County, Essex County, Monmouth County, and Passaic County. Follow this link to a comprehensive list of all school districts in New Jersey by county.
- Compile all the hardcopies of critical paperwork. This part isn’t that hard, but since in many cases you’re relying on someone else to get the information for you, it’s good to allow for plenty of time.
Particularly if you live in a highly sought-after school district with limited capacity, you’re going to need proof of address. You can use your driver’s license, if you update it immediately upon moving. However, chances are that isn’t going to be a high priority. Many schools will accept a utility bill in your name at your new address.
Don’t tuck away your child’s birth certificate in an unmarked box! You will need proof of your child’s age, and typically the school makes a copy of the birth certificate.
Contact your child’s doctor to get proof of immunization. It’s a standard form the office should be familiar with, and actually, your child should have one in her/his old school records. Getting a copy isn’t hard, and it’s good to have on hand in case any after-care programs outside the school require it. Expert tip: if you’re a non-vaxer, make sure you apply for any available waivers ahead of time.
Confirm the appropriate contact information for your child’s old school. In most cases, your child’s old school won’t release her/his official records directly to you. To provide a straightforward transfer of school records, the new school will contact your child’s old school and formerly request the records. Put yourself in good standing immediately with the new front office and avoid getting lost in the shuffle by providing specific contact information for the secretary handling the transfer, including a name, telephone number, and email.
Obtain a copy of your child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). This information will also be transferred with your child’s records, however, depending on when during the school year you’re moving and the timeliness of staff at your old school, the transfer could take a few weeks. It’s important for your child’s new teachers to be fully up to date on her/his educational requirements as soon as possible. A parent copy of the IEP is enough to get your child’s required educational services in place so her/his experience can be positive right from the start.
- Do all you can to give your child’s new teachers a complete picture of her/his academic progress.
Along with an official school transcript, bring any other information that may be valuable to the new teachers and staff who will continue your child’s educational development, including: copies of recent classroom work, especially in math, science, and English; lists of the latest textbooks and reading books your child used; information on all your child’s extracurricular activities in and out of school; and letters from teachers and/or counselors discussing your child’s strengths and weaknesses.
Are you moving your business, too? Move without the stress by using this Business Relocation Checklist.