Guide to Starting Kindergarten in the Iowa City Area

Starting kindergarten can be daunting for both students and parents. When my oldest started, I remember it was difficult to know what needed to be done and by when to get it done, including registration. Luckily, I had a couple of great friends who had walked the kindergarten road before me — gave me step-by-step instructions.

To save you a million questions, use this guide to help for beginning kindergarten in the Iowa City Community School District (ICCSD) and the Clear Creek Amana School District (CCA). Be sure to reach out to your school and district with specific questions or for clarification.


Guide to Starting Kindergarten in the Iowa City Area

Kindergarten in the Iowa City area


Iowa City Community School District Kindergarten Registration 

If your child will be five-years-old on or before September 15, they are eligible to attend kindergarten. In the Iowa City School District, Kindergarten registration is held in the spring and in early August. More information is available on the Iowa City Community School District website.

You should go to your child’s assigned elementary school to register, even if you may be requesting a school transfer. In all except a very few cases, school attendance is based on address. If you don’t know which elementary school your child will attend, you can call 319-688-1000 or use the elementary area maps.

Things to bring: 

  • Copy of child’s birth certificate (or passport)
  • Proof of residency (like a bill) 
  • Immunization records 

If you do not have these documents you should come to registration anyway, and staff will assist you in registering your child. Registration will take approximately 45 minutes and your child does not need to be present.

The ICCSD Online Program is a fully online, tuition-free K-12 educational program.  Information regarding that program and registration can be found on their website.

Iowa City Community School District Kindergarten Round-up

Following registration, you will receive information regarding Kindergarten Round-Up. You will receive information regarding the specific schedule for your elementary school at registration. Parents are encouraged to attend Kindergarten Roundup with their child.


Clear Creek Amana Kindergarten Registration 

Clear Creek Amana School district includes four elementary schools. Which school your child will attend is based on address. These are the schools:

  • Amana Elementary (Iowa County residents): 319-622-3255
  • Clear Creek Elementary (Oxford residents): 319-828-4505
  • North Bend Elementary (North Liberty residents): 319-626-3950
  • Tiffin Elementary (Tiffin residents): 319-545-2081

If you are unsure where your child will attend kindergarten, you can call the schools for information.

Early registration for kindergarten opens in February. A link to access online enrollment will be provided on the Clear Creek website. Although early registration is online, in-person appointments will be available at the CCA admin office as needed.

Clear Creek Amana Kindergarten Round-Up

Clear Creek Amana School District will hold Kindergarten Round-up at your assigned elementary school in the spring. You can find more information about CCA Kindergarten Round-up online.

Other area districts will have their own procedures. Contact the elementary school closest to you to determine when and how to register your kindergartner.


School Supplies for Kindergarten 

You will likely receive a list of necessary school supplies at round-up. The school supply lists may also be available on your school’s website, Iowa City has a list. Some supplies will be individual — meaning your child keeps what he or she brings — and others are communal, or shared between students. Be sure to ask your child’s teacher what supplies are meant to be individual and which supplies will be shared, especially if your child is wanting to pick out a special pencil box or take-home folder.


Social Media and Connectivity for Parents 

Either at registration or at round-up, you will likely receive information on what types of social media platforms your school uses. If you are a social media user, it is helpful to follow whatever your school uses: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. You should also provide your email address or phone number for distribution lists and other emergency contacts. This will allow you to receive information regarding special events, social opportunities, and important school announcements.


Kindergarten 101: Everything a Rookie Parent Needs to Know (Iowa City area)

Registration Portals

Iowa City uses Infinite Campus for registration, Clear Creek uses Power School. You will use this software or app to complete your registration, pay fees, and (when they are older) receive communication like grades, teacher assignments, and class schedules.  ou will create a user name and account during registration and then use the software to register your child.


Other Common Questions 

Lunch Money

Both ICCSD and CCA use an online system to pay for lunch. ICCSD uses My School Bucks and CCA uses In Touch. You can fund your student’s lunch account via electronic transfer or via cash or check payments at the school office. Every time your student goes through the lunch line, money will be deducted from his or her online account. The system will send you an email when your child’s account is low. You can choose to either fund the account each time funds are lacking or set up an automatic payment when the account reaches a certain level. For example, whenever my son’s account hits $10 it automatically adds $30 from my checking account. I never have to worry about my child’s account going into insufficient funds because I forgot to make a deposit.

If your child will be bringing lunch regularly to school, it is helpful to invest in a good lunch box. Also, talk to your school to find out what can and cannot be brought in a home-packed lunch. Some schools have no restrictions, and others have specific items that cannot be brought to school due to allergy concerns. If your school does have restricted items (peanut butter is the most common), help those allergy kids and parents out by looking for alternatives to those items and abiding by the policies.

Transportation

By Iowa law, the school district must provide bus service to and from school if your address falls more than two miles from the school. Keep in mind this distance is measured “as the crow flies” and not via streets or sidewalks. Districts may choose to provide bus service for children who live between one mile and two miles from school, but this will vary by district.  Some exceptions are made for children with special needs or those who live in rural areas, or in areas where walking or biking may be dangerous.

  • If you have transportation questions for the Iowa City School District, call 319-688-1187.
  • If you have transportation questions for Clear Creek, email [email protected]

Other options for school transportation include walking, biking, neighborhood carpools, and individual drop-off/pick-up. Many before and after school programs in the area also include transportation to and from school.

Schedules 

In Iowa City, the elementary school day begins at 7:55 a.m. and ends at 2:55 p.m., except on Thursdays when the day ends at 1:55 p.m. Supervision is provided beginning at 7:40 a.m., unless students are participating in the school’s Before/After School Program or eating breakfast at school. Each school has its own procedures for the before and after school car lines, and some may have differing times for supervision and drop-off. Check with your individual school. It is best to allow extra time, as the traffic and congestion can be heavy. Try not to be in a hurry. Everyone is in the same boat trying to get to work and back to home!

Clear Creek elementary schools start their school day at 8:15 a.m. and end at 3:15 p.m., except on Wednesdays when they release at 1:15 p.m. Classrooms open at 8:08 a.m. Students can arrive no earlier than 7:45 a.m. unless they are participating in the school’s Before/After School Program. As with ICCSD, each elementary school will have its own procedures for car lines, and traffic can get heavy.

Back-to-School Night/Ice Cream Social

Sometime in the week before school begins, your elementary school will likely hold a Back-to-School Night or an Ice Cream Social. This is a great opportunity for you to meet your child’s teacher, ask questions about the school routine, bring supplies to school, find your child’s desk, and get really excited about the first day!

Back to School Night image


First Day of Kindergarten

Whether you walk your child to school, drive them, put them on the bus, or they go in some other way, allow a little bit of extra time on that first day.

Pictures, backpacks, and lunch boxes always seem to take longer than you think they will. If you are taking your child to school that first day, be sure to check with your school regarding their policy on drop-offs.  Some schools may allow you to escort your child into his or her classroom. At other schools, they may ask you to give your kisses and hugs outside. The teachers will then line the kids up and march them in with a happy wave.


Future School Registration

Sometime over the summer, you will receive notice that it is time to complete your student’s registration and pay enrollment fees. You will likely do this online via your district’s specific portal or website. It is very important that you log in at that time and check your emergency contact information (phone, email, and other contacts) for all parents/caregivers who may need to receive emergency communications from the school. This will allow you to receive timely communication regarding emergencies, weather-related announcements, and other important communications. It is helpful to include the information for all parents, caregivers, and step-parents or guardians who might be involved in your child’s care, so that all involved parties will get phone messages and text communications regarding things like late starts, early dismissals due to weather, or school closure days due to weather or emergencies.


Online Resources

Iowa City Community School District Resources:

Clear Creek Amana School District Resources:

Solon Community School District:

College Community School District:


Starting kindergarten is a milestone for both students and their parents. It can be daunting to navigate all the ins and outs — but try to relax. By the end of the year, you’ll be a pro!

Sarah is a proud Iowa native who currently lives in North Liberty with her husband and 2 sons. She grew up in rural Benton county and moved to the Iowa City area in 2005 to attend graduate school at the University of Iowa in Physical Therapy. Now she balances raising two growing boys with a work as a pediatric physical therapist. Outside of work and family, Sarah loves music, playing her cello, running, baking, crochet, church activities, and cheering for the Hawkeyes and the Minnesota Vikings.

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