Guide to Newburyport Preschool Registration & Kindergarten Registration

By Caitlin Dowling, Newburyport.com Correspondent
Caitlin is a freelance editor/writer and former news producer for CNN. As a local mom of three, her family can be found enjoying all Newburyport has to offer, from strolling downtown to biking the rail trail to swimming at the beach.

Entering into the public school system can feel exciting and daunting at the same time, which is why we’ve compiled all the information you’ll need for your family to tackle preschool registration, pre-k, and kindergarten registration—all in one convenient place. With our guide, you can spend less time searching for answers and more time preparing your children for their next big adventure.

For families entering the Newburyport Public School system for the first time, make sure to put the Parent Information Session on January 29th at 6 pm at the Bresnahan School on your calendar. Here teachers and principals will explain the process for both preschool registration and kindergarten registration, answer questions, and get you started on the overall process.

Preschool Registration 

How it Works: 

Preschool and pre-K are all part of the same program, The Integrated Preschool Program. Families with students returning to the program (ie. in their second year of preschool or entering pre-K) and new students that have had siblings attend the preschool program previously (this includes the former Brown Schools) are given priority registration from January 6th to the 16th. These students will be given spots before any lottery drawings.

From February 3rd through the 28th registration opens for all new preschool families, along with kindergarten registration. Preschool registrations can be dropped off in person at the Bresnahan School office during school days between 10 am and 2 pm, scanned and emailed tolmorasse@newburyport.k12.ma.us or gphillips@newburyport.k12.ma.us, or mailed to the school at 333 High Street. When the school system receives your completed application your family will be given a lottery number.

Preschool registration forms can all be found online and will also be handed out during the parent information session, January 29th at the Bresnahan School. In order to complete the process, you must fill out all forms which include:  Enrollment Form, Confidential Student Health Form, MA Health Record Form, Home Language Survey, and Certification of Address Form. Along with the forms, applicants must also include a check or money order for $300, a copy of your child’s birth certificate, your child’s most recent health records, and proof of residency (utility bill or mortgage/lease agreement). You will not be given your lottery number until the school receives your application in its entirety.

A lottery will be drawn on March 4th at 10:00 AM at the Superintendent’s Office-70 Low St, if there are more applicants than spots. Programs range in demand, with the full day programs tending to be the most popular and the half day options generally having enough spots to meet demand. When filling out the application you will be able to give your top three preferences. If you aren’t selected for your first choice you will automatically be entered into the lottery for your second and third choices. Families may attend the drawing to see if your child is selected or wait for the school to post results online, this will be done no later than March 6th. Those that do not secure a spot will be put on a waitlist.

Kindergarten Registration 

Kindergarten registration is a somewhat easier and less stressful process than preschool registration, as all students are guaranteed a spot. Because all applicants will be accepted, there is no priority registration or lottery process to explain.

How it Works: 

From February 3rd through the 28th families may submit their applications. kindergarten registrations can be dropped off in person at the Bresnahan School office during school days between 10 am and 2 pm, scanned and emailed to lmorasse@newburyport.k12.ma.us or gphillips@newburyport.k12.ma.us, or mailed to the school at 333 High Street. 

All kindergarten programs are five days a week, but families can choose between half and full day options. While half day kindergarten is free, families must pay for the full day option. Visit here for tuition information. There are tuition assistance programs for families that qualify and families with multiple children entering kindergarten will also receive a discount.

As is with preschool registration, 0nly completed applications will be accepted. In order to be considered complete, you must submit all forms (these can be found online and will be handed out at the Parent Information session January 29th), which include: either the Full or Half Day Application, Newburyport Public School Enrollment Form, Confidential Student Health Form, Certificate of Address, Home Language Survey, Kindergarten Parent Questionnaire, Preschool Visitation Permission. Along with the forms, applicants must also include a check or money order for $380 if applying for full day kindergarten, a copy of your child’s birth certificate, your child’s most recent health records, and proof of residency (utility bill or mortgage/lease agreement).

Important Dates to Remember 

  • January 6th-16th: Priority registration for preschool registration is open for returning preschool students and siblings of students that previously attended the preschool program (including former Brown Schools).
  • January 29th: Information session for all prospective families—preschool, pre-K, and kindergarten.
  • February 3rd-28th: Non-priority registration is open for preschool registration and kindergarten registration is open for all families. 
  • March 4th: Preschool registration lottery will be held. If there are more students than slots, a waitlist will be formed.
  • Mid-March: Acceptance letters to all families in all programs are sent out.

River Valley Charter School

Along with the Bresnahan School, Newburyport is also home to River Valley Charter School. River Valley does not offer preschool, but you may apply for kindergarten.

How it Works:

Any family in Massachusetts may apply to this charter school—however, residents of Amesbury, Newburyport, Pentucket, and Triton are given enrollment preference. Siblings to currently enrolled students will also receive preference. General enrollment for River Valley is done by a lottery system.

Applications for kindergarten registration, as well as other grades, must be submitted by February 25th at 4 pm to be considered for the upcoming school year. You may apply online, in person at River Valley Charter School located at 2 Perry Way, or by mail.

Your registration checklist should include—the enrollment application, proof of residency, and a copy of your child’s birth certificate. Once completed, you will receive a unique application number and entered into the lottery.

The lottery drawing will be held on February 27th at 4 pm at the school. Families are welcome to attend the lottery drawing but it is not mandatory. Those not in attendance will receive a phone call and/or email to let them know the status of their application. Once a spot is offered, you have five days school days (five business days over the summer months) to accept the offer. Applicants that do not receive a spot will be placed on a waitlist in the order their number was drawn.