Public schools provide pre-kindergarten through 12th grade education. School enrollment is based on which school district you live in. Find out how to enroll a child in a public school with the help of this guide.
Start Your School Enrollment
Contact your local school district for registration instructions.
You may need to confirm your address with your school each academic year to remain enrolled.
Keep a copy of the school's academic calendar for your records.
Gather What You’ll Need to Enroll Your Child
Information needed for enrollment varies by district and may require additional information depending on your child’s services and activities for the school year.
Social Security numbers are not required by the state for registration.
Generally speaking, when you enroll your child in a public school for the first time, you’ll need to provide proof of eligibility, such as age and residency.
- Schools cannot require the proof of age to be a birth certificate. Reasonable alternatives for proof of age may include an adoption record, certified statement of a physician, passport, hospital record of live birth, legal document, an official document from another country or anything else that is reasonably reliable. Some districts accept an immunization form with a birth date to verify the age of the student.
- Acceptable proof of residency may include a current lease, property tax notice, homeowner’s insurance bill, mortgage statement, current vehicle registration form, any utility bill listing your residence as the service address, a letter from a shelter, or a letter from your employer, if your employer provides housing. A P.O. box is not considered a home address. If you have multiple addresses, use the address that you consider the main residence for tax purposes.
Health screening certificates, such as vision and dental, as well as an immunization certificate, are required. Forms may be completed by a county health department or your health-care provider. Review the student health requirements by grade level to learn which health screenings are required.
You must use your child’s legal name when enrolling. You can indicate your child’s preferred name for use in class lists, yearbooks and other outward facing school lists.
Age Requirements for School
Students between the ages of five and 21 are of school age in Iowa.
Iowa law requires that a child be five on or before September 15 to enter kindergarten and be six on or before September 15 to enter first grade.
- One exception to the requirement that a child be six before Sept. 15 to enter first grade is if the child completed kindergarten in a school district in another state or in an accredited nonpublic school in Iowa. In that case, the child may be enrolled in first grade.
- The Interstate Compact for the Education of Military Children also provides an exception for a child who moves into Iowa because of the deployment of a parent.
Finding Your School District
Not sure which district you’re in? Download the map of Iowa Public School Districts
Related Agency - Department of Education
Address: Grimes Building, 400 E. 14th St., Des Moines, IA 50319
Phone: (515) 281-5294