New Rochelle Schools Back Off Re-Registration Commitment

Written By: Robert Cox

NEW ROCHELLE, NY — Schools Superintendent Dr. Brian Osborne announced today a significant retreat from a previous commitment to require all students in New Rochelle public schools to re-register before the start of the 2018-19 school year.

Osborne also announced the hiring of a former Superintendent from Port Chester to oversee the process.

The original plan announced last month called for district wide re-registration to begin June 25th at Trinity Elementary School. That is now off the table

Instead, only students entering New Rochelle High School will be required to prove they are legally entitled to attend public school in New Rochelle.

Re-registration this summer will now apply to less than 800 students instead of 10,700. The change is sure to set off howls of protest from residents who were promised action on wrongly-enrolled students after the spate of school violence in January.

Any student residing in New Rochelle regardless of immigration status is allowed to enroll in the New Rochelle public school system. Except in a few rare cases, students who do not live in New Rochelle are barred from enrolling in the schools.

One such exception applied to Z’inah Brown who was charged with murder in the death of Valaree Schwab. She lived in Yonkers but had been declared “homeless” while living in New Rochelle and was thus entitled to remain enrolled in New Rochelle.

When the New Rochelle Police Department announced before she turned herself in that her last known address was Yonkers, many residents were angry that a student from Yonkers was enrolled in New Rochelle High School. Dr. Osborne acceded to that anger, misplaced as it applied to Brown, and promised a residency audit to make sure all students were lawfully enrolled. Today’s announcement is a major retrenchment from Osborne’s prior assuarances.

“We have formulated a strategy of re-registering the rising ninth-graders this summer,” said Osborne. “We will then continue with a re-registration of all students in all other grades over the coming school year.”

Osborne said completing the initial portion of an overall re-registration before regular classes resume in September was prudent.

“It will also give us a realistic timetable for completing the re-registration of all 10,700 students without causing undue inconvenience among families,” said Osborne.

“We remain committed to re-verifying the eligibility of all students to attend our schools, and we believe that re-registering all students entering New Rochelle High School as ninth-graders is the correct starting point,” said Osborne.

Re-registration for rising ninth-graders will be required before they receive their 2018-19 class schedules.

Knowing how important this matter is to many in the community, we have placed the project in expert hands. We have named 

The District has hired Dr. Charles Coletti, former Port Chester schools superintendent, to lead the re-registration initiative. Coletti has been working as a consultant for the District for the past several years.

“Dr. Coletti led a successful re-registration in the Port Chester schools and is well-versed in the challenges and outcomes of the process,” said Osborne.

Osborne went on to describe the process:

The first phase of the process, addressing the incoming ninth-grade NRHS students, will take place in the high school’s House 4 cafeteria, from July 2 through August 22. Registrars, bilingual staff and security personnel will be present during registration hours.

Parents and guardians of the incoming ninth-graders will receive a notification shortly with detailed information on the process and what forms of identification will be acceptable. Further, each family that needs to re-register a student will be given a window of time to come to the House 4 cafeteria to complete the process. The cafeteria is located in an area accessible to North Avenue bus routes and has an external entryway to the parking lot off North and Braemar avenues.

Dr. Coletti has created an effective, responsible schedule for the ninth-grade re-registration, with flexibility built in. It includes evening hours two days per week, and a “call-back” day each Friday for any families that miss their allotted time to re-register earlier in the week, or who have to return with complete documentation. As part of the communications process, District staff will reach out each day by phone and/or email to the families of students due to register the next day, to ensure that they have gotten the proper information and are prepared for the process. In addition, Dr. Coletti will be on site managing the process.

Follow up phone calls, emails, and letters will be sent to families who do not respond or who miss their appointed times.  All re-registration of students entering ninth grade is scheduled to be complete by August 22 in order to provide clearance to the high school administration to send schedules to those students who successfully completed the process. Rising ninth-graders who have not re-registered by then will receive notice that their schedules will be withheld until they complete the re-registration process.

Anyone with questions about the process, cam contact Dr. Coletti at ccoletti@nredlearn.org or (914) 727-0129.