Ann Arbor News | Parents wait all night in freezing weather to enroll kids in preschool
88 people in line by 7 a.m. to fill out registration sheets

The last time Kristin Carney was willing to wait for hours in a long line, it was for tickets to a Prince concert. For Pam Chaundy, it was for tickets to a U2 concert.

But on March 18 the hot ticket was a place in a popular three-day-a-week, morning preschool program for 4-year-olds. Both women, now moms, were trying to get their youngsters enrolled in the Tot Spot, Brighton’s popular preschool program.

“My husband Chris got here at 10 p.m. Thursday night,” said Carney. “He wore a snowmobile suit and slept in a sleeping bag in his car after starting a sign up list on the door. I thought he was crazy going at 10, but he proved me wrong because if I was behind these ladies who got here at midnight, our daughter wouldn’t have gotten in the class we wanted.”

I fully expect this will be the case at Atlanta Public Schools‘ Office of Student Placement this spring, when they begin accepting applications for what used to be called “administrative transfers”–which is to say, to beg them to allow your child to attend a school other than the one he’d otherwise be geographically zoned into. We’ve been there several times over the past seven years.

The only real difference is that Atlanta’s weather is generally a little more temperate than Michigan’s.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usActually, I appreciate the reminder, since the administrative transfer is one of APS’ best-kept secrets. Here’s what you get when you go to their web site and click on the “Student Transfers” link.

At least, I get an empty page. Your mileage may vary.

Here’s the information you’re supposed to get: three PDF documents from Atlanta Public Schools. The Placement Letter to parents (informing them that the option of transferring their child is available); FAQ about Student Placement 2005-2006; and the Application form.

They accept applications for transfers from April 18 through May 27. In theory. In practice, if you aren’t in line when the office opens at 8:00 am on the first day, you won’t get your transfer.

LATER: Finally found out what’s going on with the empty page. If you have the current version of Adobe Acrobat Reader (7.0) and MS Internet Explorer, you’ll see an embedded display of Dr Hall’s letter. Any lesser Reader, or any other browser, fails. Is there anything in this document that requires Acrobat? No. It could easily have been simple HTML text, readable in any browser, but for technological tunnel vision.

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