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New registration location cuts travel

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

LEESBURG, Ga. -- More than 250 families new to the Lee County School System registered their children Tuesday and Wednesday at the district's central office.

This year's registration process was different from years past as parents were able to register all their children in one place rather than having to drive to the schools in which they were enrolling their children.

Helping ease the transition was the school system's first registrar, Vicki Langston.

"This is our team captain," Superintendent Lawrence Walters said of Langston. "One of the advantages for the parents is if they have more than one child, they don't have to go to multiple locations because it's one-stop shop. But we're going to evaluate it, so we can make decisions" on how to make it better.

Langston, who worked the previous four years at Byne Christian School in Albany as its administrative assistant, said a lot of the families that were registering had multiple children and were enrolling in either the county's middle school or ninth-grade campus. She also noted that several families were moving into the county as part of the military.

Lisa Bailey, the district's social worker and attendance officer, said families were moving from Cordele and Sumter and Dougherty counties. The district was also receiving military families from California, North Carolina and Japan. Bailey also had some pleasant surprise students returning to finish their studies "after we thought they had left for GEDs."

"This is our first year doing this, and we're working through the kinks," Bailey said. "This is a work in progress; bear with us."

Upon arriving at the bustling central office in downtown Leesburg, parents and their children were greeted by Lee County School System employees manning tables to verify county residency. After passing residency requirements, families registered their children into the district's main computer system and verified the information at another table.

School System Nursing Coordinator Dana Leverett verified students' immunizations, eye and dental records. Leverett, a registered nurse, explained that all kindergartners and sixth-graders needed additional vaccines to enter school. After medical records were approved, parents with middle or high school students met with counselors.

Langston said the registration process could be as short as 15 minutes or maybe as long as an hour if questions arose. Alicia Creel registered her 5-year-old son Zachary into Kinchafoonee Primary Wednesday.

Her 9-year-old daughter, Paige, attends Twin Oaks Elementary. The

Creels moved to Lee County from Dougherty County three years ago.

"It's a pain, but it's worth it to keep the folks out that aren't suppose to be here," Alicia Creel said of the new one-stop registration process. "It's good to keep things organized, and once you had all the paperwork in order it went boom, boom, boom."

Although Tuesday's and Wednesday's special registration process has ended, Langston said families can still enroll at the new central office location.

"We'll still continue to register students as long as the students continue to come," said Langston, who noted that she has always had her three children enrolled in Lee County. "School starts Aug. 13, and we'll continue to register them."

Enrollment for the Lee County School System's seven schools is projected at 6,414 students, an increase from last fall's 6,289 figure reported in The Herald's Metro Guide.

In other Lee County school news, the fourth annual free Back to School Bash will be held from 5 p.m.-7 p.m. Monday at First Baptist Church of Leesburg in its Family Life Center. Free school supplies will be distributed at the community event. Free Lee County book bags and water bottles will be given to the first 350 school-age children, who must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

The event will also have a free "to-go" hot dog dinner for the first 400 individuals to arrive, along with a resource fair and door prizes.