I proved that we do, indeed let students into kindergarten early, and that it is not a unique situation (18 for the current year).
I've been after the administration to take the lead in finding a method of screening children whose parents request early entrance to make sure they're ready for the academic focus of our kindergartens.
Last week I asked for an answer.
Me: I'd like a response.
Deputy Superintendent (DS): I thought we had answered this.
Me: Are we going to continue to allow children who are younger than the state's minimum to enter kindergarten without screening them?
DS: The state says that we are to let everyone into kindergarten.
Me: No, that's not correct. The state says that we may enroll students whose birthdays are after the cutoff date. It would be different if we had developmental kindergartens, but ours are academic and we need to make sure that the students are ready.
DS: There are 6 year olds who enter kindergarten who are not ready.
Me: That's not the point. We're letting children into academic kindergartens who are not ready. That ends up hurting children and costing the district money in extra supports, special services and retentions.
DS: Our kindergartens have developmental standards.
Me: I'm not saying that there are not children who might benefit from early entrance, but not all of them do. We need to screen them to make sure that the students who are allowed to enter early are ready. I'd like a yes or no answer - are we going to continue to allow children into kindergarten on early entrance waivers?
DS: Our district policy is to allow them in.
That was the end of the discussion. Time to get the kindergarten teachers involved. I'm not going to fight this battle alone. I've made the noise, done the research and argued the position...alone.
If that doesn't work, maybe the school board will help.
-----No Child Left Behind is leaving thousands of children behind!
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