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Welcome Center, Centro de Bienvenida

RaMona Stahl, Supervisor
Jordi Boronat Garcia, Registrar and Assesssor

Located at:
Keister Elementary School
100 Maryland Avenue
Harrisonburg, VA 22801
Phone: 540-433-3644

The Welcome Center is a service of Harrisonburg City Public Schools.  The Welcome Center facilitates entry into Harrisonburg city schools for our youngest students; our Preschoolers and our rising Kindergartners and for our students who have a language other than English.

We would like to help you register your child in one of Harrisonburg’s outstanding schools. To learn if you will to register your child at the Welcome Center (WC) or at your local school, please check the table below. However if you are in doubt please contact us at 540-433-3644.

Applying for Preschool Services

Harrisonburg City Public Schools provides early childhood education to preschool children who qualify for those services. An appointment must be made with the Welcome Center to apply for those services. 

Kindergarten Students

All rising Kindergarten children for the following school year are also registered at the WC during the Spring and Summer prior to the new school year.

1st Grade through 12th Grade Students' Registration Protocol

You will register your child at your neighborhood school if you answer YES to ALL of the following questions... You will register your child at the Welcome Center if you answer yes to ANY of the following questions…
The child does not speak any other language than English The child speaks a language other than English
At home no language is spoken other than English At home the family speaks languages other than English
The child never attended an ESL/bilingual program The child attended an ESL/bilingual program
The child never attended school outside the U.S. The child attended school outside the U.S.

If you believe your child needs to register at the Welcome Center, or if you’ve answered “Yes” to at least one item in the second column above, call 540-433-3644 to make an appointment. Our office is open all year, January through December, Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Step by Step Procedures for Registering Your Child (PDF format)
      [English]        [Spanish]        [Russian]      [Arabic]

Registering Your Child

At the Welcome Center a Registration Facilitator will complete all necessary registration for your child. The Registration Facilitator will review documentation such as birth certificate, health information, vaccination records, educational records, and family information. This information will help teachers and administrators to better serve you and your child. The answers you provide are kept confidential.

Documents And Information Needed For Registration

  • Birth Certificate
  • Legal Guardianship
  • Proof of Residency in Harrisonburg City
  • Immunization Records/Physical
  • School Records of Previous School
  • Health Insurance Card

Assess The English Level Of Your Child

All students and families that speak other languages than English will meet with an Assessment Administrator. The academic level of your child in Reading as well as his or her knowledge of English will be evaluated. Students cannot fail or pass these tests. Results are used only to help the school administration and teachers provide the academic support that your child will need to succeed in school.

Select A Special English Program

Special programs are available for students who have limited or no English. They are called English as a Second Language (ESL) programs. Participation in these programs are always optional. The teachers and assistants who test your child will recommend the most appropriate program. The emphasis of our ESL program is to help your child learn academic English, which is necessary to be successful in school and in the world beyond school.

To Provide Information

Please ask for any school related information that will help you and your child have a successful and comfortable beginning in Harrisonburg City Public Schools. Also, after your child has started school, you may call us if you need language translation or interpretation, or more information about school.

The Welcome Center can help connect you to a number of programs and agencies in the community that provide health, economic assistance, literacy, childcare, interpretation and other services.

We welcome you to the Harrisonburg City Public Schools and wish you and your child much success.

Time Expectation

The amount of time you and your child will spend at the Welcome Center in order to complete registration and testing will vary according to the number of children in a family, the student’s grade level, and how much time a student takes to complete testing. (Tests are not timed, so a student may take all the time he or she needs to complete the tests.) It will also save time if you bring all the required documents at the time of your appointment.

In order to be fair to all parents and children, if you arrive late you may have to reschedule your appointment. We will make every effort to accommodate your schedule and interview you as soon as possible.

In most instances, the duration of the interview with the Registration Facilitator takes about one hour. Student testing will last between one and two hours or more, depending on the student’s age and effort. Older students usually take more tests than younger ones. Some students like to take more time to do good work and we ask that you allow your child to work at their own pace. You will need to stay with your child at the Welcome Center until he or she is finished. Of course, children (and adults) perform better when they are well rested and adequately fed. Please be mindful that your child has a good night's rest and has had a balanced meal prior to coming in to register. You are welcome to bring a healthy snack for you or your child.