Legislation Governing Early Entrance to Kindergarten and Giftedness
- A parent may request early entrance to kindergarten if the child turns five years of age after the District’s kindergarten entrance date of September 30, 2017 and before January 1, 2018. Entrance shall be determined through a standardized testing program.
- Children who will not yet be the proper age for entrance to kindergarten by the first day of January of the school year for which admission is requested shall also be evaluated for possible early admittance if referred by an educator within the District, a preschool educator who knows the child or pediatrician or psychologist who knows the child.
- It is covered in the State of Ohio’s Model Student Acceleration Policy. According to the Ohio Revised Code (3324.01), “gifted” means students who perform or show potential for performing at remarkably high levels of accomplishment when compared to others of their age, experience or environment and who are identified under Division (A), (B), (C), or (D) of Section 3324.03 of the Revised Code.
Is Early Entrance to Kindergarten the Best Choice for Your Child?
Early entrance should be viewed as a means of meeting a child’s needs. The key to determining whether or not early entrance is appropriate for a child is developmental readiness. Even though a child may have a lot of ability, he/she may not be ready for kindergarten. Other important factors to consider are social maturity, personal development and motor development.
Early entrance is designed for the exceptional child who is both academically ready as well as developmentally mature when compared to others his/her chronological age.
Some considerations when determining if early entrance is right for a child:
- Is my child capable of working in a classroom setting with children who are one year older than he/she?
- Will my child be frustrated by this placement?
- What are the possible long-term impacts as my child progresses through elementary, middle and high school (i.e., beginning college at a younger age)?
- Do I understand the expectations for students in kindergarten today?
There is a difference between ability and achievement. Some children may appear exceptional simply because of their access to opportunities (i.e., preschool programs, parents working with them on skills or access to learning materials). Early entrance is designed for the child who has high ability and easily achieves when presented with new material.
Once the decision has been made for early entrance, the choice is difficult to reverse. If a child is evaluated as a good candidate for early entrance to kindergarten, it is important that all stakeholders are supportive of the decision.
Below are examples of what to look for in the areas of ability, achievement, aptitude and behavior.
My child seems advanced beyond other children his/her age in these ways:
- understands the meanings and use of words better than other children his/her age;
- is curious about many things and asks questions often;
- is very good at working puzzles or solving problems;
- has a great sense of humor and understands jokes more than other children his/her age;
- has a good memory and remembers details of conversations or stories;
- is interested in difficult concepts such as time and space;
- concentrates on certain activities much longer than other children his/her age;
- reads (and understands text) in picture books or chapter books;
- figures out math-related problems better than other children his/her age.
Expectations of Kindergarten Students
Kindergarten, like many other areas of education, has changed considerably over the past couple of decades. Today’s kindergarten students are engaged in a rigorous instructional program. Ohio, along with many other states across the United States, has adopted Common CORE for the purpose of preparing Ohioans to meet the demands of the knowledge-based economy and the needs of the 21st Century.
What are some important school and academic factors?
- enjoys leaning new information or skills;
- participates in community-sponsored activities such as sports, dance, gymnastics, library and museum programs;
- believes he/she is capable of succeeding at new tasks;
- has the ability to attend, or pay attention, for relatively long periods of instruction;
- he/she can draw and trace basic shapes and cut with scissors.
What are some important developmental factors?
My child has the following developmental characteristics:
- He/she has average fine and large motor coordination (i.e., holding a pencil, skipping);
- He/she is able to use the computer to play games or find information;
- He/she can use the bathroom without adult help;
- He/she can button and zip up shirts and pants, tie or Velcro shoes and put on and take off his/her coat;
- He/she is able to separate from the parent without being upset.
What are some important interpersonal skills for entering school?
- thoughtfully considers feedback and criticism and modifies behavior appropriately;
- often behaves in a way that is positive and effective;
- has good interpersonal skills with age-mates, as well as with both older and younger children and with adults;
- has excellent interpersonal relationships with adults in a teaching role;
- has the ability to follow routines.
What are some important attitudes and supports necessary for success in school?
- My child is enthusiastic about going to kindergarten.
- As a parent, I understand that a child’s success in school depends on support provided at home. I am able to give my child additional support to help in his/her transition to a new setting with much higher academic demands than he/she encountered in preschool.
Ohio Department of Education Website
Parents can easily access information about kindergarten on the Ohio Department of Education’s website, which can be found at education.ohio.gov.
The Ohio Department of Education’s website also contains useful information about the next generation of assessments. Understanding a child’s learning and development is critical to both families and educators. As of the fall of 2014, a new Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA) was used which is based on Ohio’s Early Learning and Development Standards.
The Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA) will give kindergarten teachers a comprehensive picture of a child’s learning and development at kindergarten entry, pinpointing where each child is in physical well- being and motor development, language and literacy, mathematics, science, social studies and social skills.
WHCSD’s kindergarten is a full-day program. Students are expected to participate in the academic program throughout the day.
Age Eligibility: A student must be 5 years of age to enter kindergarten. Compulsory school age is 6. However, if a child enters kindergarten at age 5, he/she is considered to be of compulsory school age. No district shall admit to the first grade a child who has not successfully completed kindergarten.
Warrensville City School District considers a child eligible for entrance into “regular” kindergarten if he/she attains the age of 5 on or before September 30th of the year he/she applies for entrance.
Applying for Early Entrance to Kindergarten
- If you believe that your child may be a good candidate for early entrance to kindergarten, you may download an application packet by visiting our website: http://www.warrensville.k12.oh.us and selecting DEPARTMENTS. Select SPECIAL EDUCATION and scroll down until you see the word “Early Entrance” on the left side of the page. The application for testing should be the first form on that page.
- Download and complete the application. Return the application to the Office of Special Education by scanning and emailing or dropping it off at the 4285 Warrensville Center Road enter through the office of Pupil Personal. Contact information is located on the application form.
- All evaluations will be scheduled through the Office of Special Education. Your application will be processed and the appropriate assessments will be scheduled.
Early Entrance to Kindergarten Evaluation Procedure
The Warrensville Heights City School District evaluates students for early entrance to kindergarten using the Iowa Acceleration Scale, 3rd Edition (IAS) in accordance with ODE Model Policy for Academic Acceleration. As required, an Acceleration Evaluation Committee will review the results of the comprehensive evaluation and determine the most appropriate available learning environment for your child.
The Acceleration Evaluation Committee Members consists of:
- the child’s receiving principal or assistant principal
- a teacher at the grade level to which the student may be accelerated
- a parent or legal guardian of the referred student or a representative designated by a parent or legal guardian of the referred child
- a gifted intervention specialist. If a gifted coordinator or gifted intervention specialist is not available in the district, a school psychologist or guidance counselor with expertise in the appropriate use of academic acceleration may be substituted.
Once all of the required acceleration documents have been received, arrangements will be made to begin the evaluation process.
- You will bring your child to John Dewey Elementary School at 23404 Emery Road, Warrensville Heights, Ohio 44128, for screening and testing by a school psychologist. Your child will be scheduled for the test, which takes approximately two hours. Testing will be performed by a school psychologist using the following testing methods. Screening will take place starting in April.
- When your child’s results are calculated, the Acceleration Evaluation Team will schedule an appointment for you to attend a meeting where the Iowa Acceleration Scale, 3rd Edition will be used to determine the outcome of your child’s evaluation. The team will conduct a fair and thorough evaluation of the child. Results will be known by the conclusion of the meeting.
- If your child is recommended for early entrance to kindergarten you will receive an acceptance letter with instructions on how to register your child for kindergarten.
- If your child is not recommended for early entrance to kindergarten, you will receive a letter with a recommendation for the WHCSD Preschool Program, and instructions on how to register your child for preschool.