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MCPS kicks off kindergarten registration

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MISSOULA, Mont. - Monday marked the start of kindergarten registration for Missoula County Public Schools. Chief Charlo, Cold Springs, Franklin, Hawthorne, Lewis and Clark, Lowell, Paxson, Rattlesnake and Russell elementary schools are accepting enrollment online and in person.

Superintendent's office specialist Tracy Long says more than 90 children were registered Monday to begin kindergarten in the fall.

Lewis and Clark administrators say they only have 80 available spots for incoming kindergartners, and 36 were already filled in the first day.

Paxson Elementary had more than a dozen parents come to the school to register students, while another 15 registered online.

Paxson Principal Peter Halloran says he's excited for those students to start school.

"It's just that fresh enthusiasm of new students coming in that is great," Halloran said. "It keeps all of us going and keeps us with smiles on our face."

Julie Line teaches kindergarten at Paxson and says when a child enters the school system it's an important time to develop new skills.

"It's the foundation for all the rest of the years, and if they get behind in kindergarten, they are really behind for the rest of the time," Line said. "We're laying the groundwork for reading and all the math skills, and it's just a super important time."

Line says a child must be 5 years old on or before Sept. 10, 2017, to register for the fall 2017 school year.

Parents must have their child's birth certificate and proof of immunizations to register. The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services require all kindergartners to have the following vaccinations: polio, Tdap, measles, mumps, rubella and a chicken pox vaccine.

Parents also need to bring two forms of physical address verification like a utility bill, phone bill or lease agreement.

MCPS says it is important that parents register their child as soon as possible so that new students can be included in Kindergarten Roundup, which is an orientation program for kindergartners and their parents.

Kindergarten registration started early this year in order to accommodate an expected increase in enrollment. Officials are urging parents to register between March 6 and April 14.

For more information or to enroll online, click here.

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