Guide to Entering Kindergarten
The Forest Hills School District kindergarten program is shaped by the belief that all children are capable, engaged learners who thrive in a child-centered, safe environment. Students develop a curiosity and excitement for learning in a setting that promotes positive academic, social and emotional development.
How to register
Step 1: Watch this video by principal Jodi Davidson and kindergarten teachers about Mercer and Forest Hills School District. They share important dates, registration information, and classroom experiences.
Step 2: Read the Forest Hills Kindergarten Program Guide, brochure and the registration information site about dates, fees, registration requirements, and helpful hints.
Step 3: Gather registration documents and complete requested information beginning January 23 in the district's online portal "FinalForms" at https://foresthills-oh.finalforms.com/. Register for the 2023-2024 school year only!
Important dates in 2023
January 23: Online registration opens at 9 a.m. on January 23.
March 9: Mercer's Open House at 6:30-8:00 p.m. presents an opportunity for parents and students entering in 2023 to visit the kindergarten wing and meet teachers.
June-August: Building assignments are announced.
August TBD: Assessments by appointment with kindergarten teachers. Review the district's and Ohio’s readiness assessment criteria in the Program Guide above. Teacher assignments will be announced after the assessment date.
August 16: Kindergarten playtime on the playground (3:45-4:00 p.m.) and Back 2 School Bash (4:00-6:00 p.m.). Drop off school supplies, meet classmates for fun and games, and see your classroom.
August 17-18: School begins on a phased schedule, last names M-Z on 18th and A-L on 17th.
August 21: All students attend school.
Read Mercer's Parent/Teacher Guide
Read the welcome letter from Mercer's PTO president
Follow Mercer's PTO on Facebook or email us to volunteer for school and grade-level events
Join the Facebook group just for your entering class of Kindergarteners
Find supply lists, handbooks, fees, learning portals: https://www.foresthills.edu/resources/pk-6.html
Find bus routes: https://www.foresthills.edu/departments/transportation/bus-routes.html
Add to school meal accounts and find out what's for lunch: https://www.foresthills.edu/how-do-i/add-money-to-my-childs-lunch.html and https://www.foresthills.edu/departments/food-service.html#Menus
Add the district's school days and holidays to your calendar
In addition to the FAQs found above in Mercer's Parent/Teacher Guide and Forest Hills Kindergarten Program Guide
What are phase-in days at the beginning of the year?
The student population is split in half alphabetically by last name, with half attending the first day and half attending the next day. All students attend on the third school day. This helps all students acclimate to their new classrooms and routines. Phase-in days by first initial of last names will be communicated by the district before the first days of school.
How do I arrange to bring my child to school late or pick them up early?
Mercer uses gold "school notes" forms to communicate absences, early dismissals, or late arrivals in advance. These notes are available from your child's teacher or the front office.
Are there before- and after-school care options?
The district does not promote or endorse any before- or after-school care facility. Some facilities provide transportation to and from Mercer via a district school bus or private transportation. Families should ask facilities about this service when evaluating their options.
Am I allowed in the building, and how can I get involved?
Parents/guardians are allowed in the building for early pick up or late drop off or volunteering. A photo ID is required in the front office. The district's procedures for visiting and volunteering are here. Teachers and staff may also welcome volunteers individually. Mercer's PTO offers many volunteer opportunities with varying levels of time commitment. Contact email@example.com to raise your hand.
How does car pick up and drop off work at Mercer?
Students may be dropped off between 9:05 a.m. and 9:10 a.m. Parents dropping off students in the morning will turn left at the first driveway and travel in front of Turpin High School until reaching the upper parking lot. Turn right down the 1st lane of the upper parking lot and travel to the dead end. Students will exit the right side of the car onto the sidewalk. Staff members are there to greet them. Students will walk down the stairs and enter the building at the glass doors. Once the students are dropped off, cars will loop around onto the 2nd upper parking lot lane and exit past Turpin. Pick-up procedures are the same. Please idle in the car line or park in the lot and wait at the side entrance/exit for your child.
How will my kindergartener know how to get to the classroom in the morning?
Bus riders enter through their own kindergarten entrance to the right of the main entrance and are greeted by kindergarten teachers. Car riders go to the kindergarten hallway through the school after entering on the side doors following the procedure above.
In the Classroom
How do I keep up with what my child is learning and what is going on at school?
Teachers send weekly newsletters via email, and some may have apps to communicate more frequently or share stories from the classroom.
Mercer's principal Jodi Davidson sends a "Mercer Message" weekly newsletter via email for school-wide events. To subscribe, make sure your contact information in FinalForms is correct, or reach out to your teacher or Mercer's administrative assistant Nanette Wegman directly.
Several technologies used by kindergarteners are also viewable by parents, including the district-wide tools Schoology and ProgressBook. Logins and support for those websites are available here.
What are "specials" and what is the schedule?
“Specials” or Unified Arts are classes that expand a student’s learning through subjects that students may have a special interest or talent in. Specials help students discover their talents and additional areas for learning and development in the future. Mercer offers art (Jessica Bohart), music (Allison Geiger), physical education (Ben James), and media/technology (Guy Frye). Your child's specials schedule is available from their teacher. Students visit a specials class each day.
Can my child bring snacks in between meals?
Snacks are permitted on a class-by-class basis and may be encouraged if your grade has a late lunch time. Ask for guidance from your child's teacher.
What should I do if I have an issue to raise with my child's teacher?
The first point of contact is the child's teacher because they are most familiar with day-to-day activities. Other points of contact after the teacher could include principal Jodi Davidson (ext. 2302), assistant principal Kim Beard (ext. 2307), or guidance counselor Gigi Naughton (ext. 2300), depending on the issue.
How do I connect with other parents in my child's grade or class?
Each classroom has a room parent volunteer who coordinates holiday parties and teacher gifts. These volunteers can be a resource to get to know the teacher and other classmates. In addition, each grade has a Facebook group moderated by a parent volunteer. Mercer's PTO leads these groups and welcomes you as a volunteer in these roles.
What processes are used for discipline or rewards?
Each Mercer student shall follow the "Eagle Expectations" to be respectful, responsible, and safe. Mercer uses the Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) framework to set expectations and guidelines. Mercer teachers and staff distribute blue and gold tickets as incentives to children who are observed exceeding Eagle expectations. These tickets can occasionally be redeemed for individual or classroom recognition or celebration.
What school supplies does my child need?
Mercer's supply lists are posted here. Scroll to "Supply Lists" and find the link for Mercer. In grades 1-6, school supplies can be ordered in advance and delivered to school before the first day.
Do you have a separate area just for kindergarten classes or recess?
Kindergarten classes are clustered together on a first floor wing with their own entrance and own bathrooms. Kindergarteners have lunch, specials classes, and recess together. Recess is on their own playground.
Are there conferences with teachers?
Meet the Teacher nights/videos and Back to School Bash occur early in the school year and are the first opportunities to meet teachers and administration. Formal school conference times are offered twice during the first semester and twice during the second semester. Teachers are available between conferences via email or phone for any concerns.
Do kindergarteners have homework?
Homework may be assigned as requested through teacher correspondence. All of Mercer's teachers encourage nightly reading to improve spelling, literacy, and comprehension.
Special and Financial Needs
How do I communicate special needs for my child, such as disabilities, allergies, medications, request for no photos, difficult family situations, etc.?
Parents who suspect their child has a special need should contact the district's Student Services at 513-231-3600. Some special needs can be reported in FinalForms (online information portal).
Specific concerns can also be directed to Mercer's school nurse Ann Wolfe (ext. 2310) or guidance counselor Gigi Naughton (ext. 2300). Parents should also review policies and forms here.
Through the district's parent resource coordinator, "Village Connections" meetings are held monthly on Wednesday evenings for families of children with special needs. See the schedule and topics here.