JOHNSTON COUNTY – Thousands of families attended Johnston County Public Schools’ second annual Summer Information Fair on Monday, July 31 and Tuesday, Aug. 1.
In preparation for the 2023-2024 school year, JCPS Transportation Services, School Nutrition Services, Communication Services, and Student Enrollment hosted the fair at various schools throughout the Johnston County community.
The fair provided families an opportunity to enroll their student, request, verify, and ensure their child had bus transportation, and received pertinent back to school information from School Nutrition and Communication Services.
For the Billings family, who recently moved to Johnston County from Colorado, the fair was a one stop shop to address all of their questions and needs for enrolling their son in Johnston County Public Schools.
They were most thankful for the various forms of communication they received reminding them and giving them detailed information about the Summer Information Fair. “We got a call, a text and an email which helped us out a lot,” Michael Billings said.
Not only were the Billings able to enroll their child, but they were also able to get information about transportation and meal benefits.
In fact, anyone who attended the fair and signed up for bus transportation were guaranteed to have transportation on the first day of school, which helps not only the families, but the district as well.
“The earlier transportation is able to get students assigned to buses and inform parents of their child’s assignment, it significantly reduces the level of anxiety parents feel. It also reduces the number of calls received by transportation staff during the first week of school,” said Marlon Watson, JCPS Executive Director of Transportation.
For those who didn’t attend, there are still three methods that are available for obtaining bus assignment information. Bus information will be distributed at each school’s open house, and will also be available in the PowerSchool Parent Portal and in the Edulog Parent Portal.
Another exciting announcement for the 2023-24 school year came from School Nutrition Services. Students enrolled in qualifying JCPS schools will receive a healthy breakfast and lunch at no cost to the household through the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP).
“We are extremely proud and excited to offer this service to as many schools that qualified because there are so many benefits associated with this program,” Jennifer Lawson, JCPS Director of School Nutrition Services said.
Households of students that attend a qualifying CEP school will no longer need to submit a Free and Reduced Meal Benefit Application for the upcoming school year. Students that attend a non-qualifying school, which are Clayton High, Cleveland Elementary, Cleveland High, Corinth Holders High, and Powhatan Elementary, will still have the opportunity to submit a meal benefits application in order to qualify for free, reduced, or paid eligibility status. Applications for the 2023-2024 school year can be submitted now.
“It minimizes the stigma around eligibility statuses, eliminates unpaid meal charges at qualifying sites, and it sets our students up for success,” Lawson added. “Studies show that children who eat school breakfast and lunch have fewer tardies, higher test scores and fewer behavioral issues.”
In a continued effort to streamline processes, Student Enrollment recently navigated to an online enrollment process for all kindergarten through eighth grade students.
“You can enroll from the luxury of your couch, from your cell phone, or you can visit the enrollment center to get assistance with enrollment needs,” said Brian A. Jones, JCPS Director of Student Enrollment and Information Systems.
During the two day event, Transportation Services checked ridership information for 1,867 students, and approximately 2200 families visited the enrollment table to verify address information, PowerSchool access, and school assignment information.
The Student Information Fair was also a way to connect families to the community by giving them a chance to meet JCPS team members face-to-face, and learn more about the district and Johnston County as a whole.
Now, families like the Billings can enjoy the dog days of summer with peace of mind that their child will begin the 2023-24 school year having everything checked off of their to-do list.