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story.lead_photo.caption Parkview Arts and Sciences Magnet High School is shown in this photo from the Little Rock School District website.

The Little Rock School District will require something extra from students who register for Parkview Arts and Sciences Magnet High School: an audition.

For the first time in the 30-year history of the magnet programs at Parkview, all eighth-grade applicants must audition in their areas of their interest -- be it visual arts, drama, instrumental music, vocal music, dance or science.

It is among changes parents will see in the 2019-20 registration process.

Registration is now underway for prekindergartners, kindergartners and other students who will be new to the district.

It is also underway for current students who want to enroll in magnet and specialty schools.

Registration is not required for current students who will remain in their current schools in 2019-20 or are moving up to the middle school or high school for their attendance zones.

The open-enrollment registration period that runs through Dec. 14 differs from early registrations in past years in that it is being done online using the Registration Gateway enrollment system, said Frederick Fields, the district's senior director of student registration.

The first step in using the online Registration Gateway system for the 2019-20 school year is to create a username and password.

The registration process is at the following school district links: https://registration.lrsd.org or www.lrsd.org.

The sites can be accessed using a mobile device, laptop, or computer or by visiting the district's Student Registration Office, 501 Sherman St., across the street from Little Rock's main U.S. post office at East Capitol Avenue.

Documents required for registration are: child's birth certificate; child's Social Security card or the number; two current proofs of residence such as a utility bill and a signed lease agreement; and a child's immunization record.

Parents may load all documents in the Registration Gateway portal or bring all documents to the Student Registration Office.

The application for a student will not be complete until the parent schedules an appointment with a Student Registration Office agent to verify all required documentation. Scheduling an appointment can be done by emailing the Student Registration office personnel at sro@lrsd.orgor by calling 447-2950.

Parents of pre-kindergarten pupils, who will be ages 3 and 4 by Aug.1, 2019, may register their children online or on site at the Geyer Springs Early Childhood Center, 5420 Mabelvale Pike.

Children who are applicants for kindergarten at Forest Heights STEM Academy will be screened for their academic readiness to determine eligibility to attend the school.

AT PARKVIEW

Current district students and their parents interested in applying and auditioning for Parkview can access the application process plus the descriptions of the auditions on the school's website: http://parkview.lrsd3.org/parkview.html.

Depending on the field of interest, the Parkview audition requirements can include portfolios of work, live performances, interviews, documentation of grades in middle school classes, and submission of essays, recommendations and references.

Fifty percent of available seats in a specialty area will be filled by those students who are identified by Parkview staff as top performers in the auditions, Parkview Principal Randy Rutherford said.

The auditions will be held in early to mid-January.

The remaining 50 percent of open seats in each of Parkview's specialty areas will be filled through a random lottery of eighth-graders who applied for Parkview during this registration period and auditioned but are not tagged among the top performers at the auditions.

HOW COME?

The audition component of the enrollment process was formulated several months ago by Parkview faculty in consultation with Superintendent Mike Poore and Arkansas Education Commissioner Johnny Key, Rutherford said.

Key acts as the school board in the state-controlled Little Rock district.

In the past, a lot of families wanted their students to attend Parkview but students were not always interested in the magnet areas in which they were enrolled, Rutherford said.

"It was creating a situation where they weren't being successful in the magnet area, which led to issues," he said.

The audition process is meant to ensure that at least 50 percent of the newly enrolled students truly have an interest in the magnet area for which they apply.

MAGNET PROGRAMS

"The whole goal is to not only get kids into the proper magnet areas and help them to meet graduation standards and all that," Rutherford said, "but we also want to produce great outcomes for them inside of all those magnet programs so that we can have the best dance and we can have the best choir."

"If you have kids interested in those areas, they are willing to do the work," he added, also saying that magnet programs require a lot of after-school work such as practices, exhibits and performances that make it important that students are interested.

Parents can contact Parkview's office for help with registration, Rutherford said. Families that don't have access to computers can use computers at Parkview, he said.

After the districtwide registration period, new and returning students will be mailed notification letters on school assignments in February 2019. For current students, notification letters will be distributed at the student's current school, Fields said.

Metro on 12/06/2018

Print Headline: School sign-up opens in Little Rock, and some students will be required to audition

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