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Early Entrance to Kindergarten

UPDATE July 2020
Applications for Early Entrance to Kindergarten were due by July 31st. Testing will take place in August with families being notified of the decision via US mail by August 18th. 

Procedures for Early Entrance to Kindergarten

The purpose of these guidelines is to provide criteria and procedures for early entrance for students into South Washington County Schools. We recognize that early entrance student success is contingent on mature levels of social, emotional, and academic proficiency. The early entrance assessment is designed to select students who demonstrate superior development in all of these areas. Only a small number of students are recommended for early entrance to kindergarten. State law indicates, “No person shall be admitted to any public school (1) as a kindergarten pupil, unless the pupil is at least five years of age on September 1 of the calendar year in which the school year for which the pupil seeks admission commences… except that any school board may establish a policy for admission of selected pupils at an earlier age.” (Statute 120A.20 Admission to Public School)


Timeline for Early Entrance to Kindergarten

Beginning May 5: MEETING WITH SCHOOL PERSONNEL
Parents/legal guardians interested in early entrance for the following school year may schedule an informational meeting with attendance boundary elementary school principal. Attendance boundaries can be accessed on the District 833 website under boundary maps.


May 5 – July 31: APPLICATION SUBMISSION
Early Entrance applications may be submitted to the Early Entrance Review Committee. Applications due by July 31st. 

Early August: STUDENT ASSESSMENT
Families will be contacted by the Early Entrance Review Committee to complete an assessment with a District 833 licensed school psychologist. The District Early Entrance Committee will review assessment results and make a recommendation and communicate with the family.

All assessments and determinations regarding Early Entrance to Kindergarten will be completed by August 15th.

LATE EARLY AUGUST
Families will be contacted by the attendance boundary elementary school principal. If desired, a meeting will be scheduled to review the recommendations of the District Early Entrance Committee.

 

Procedures for Early Entrance to Kindergarten
Part 1: Initial Screening

  1. Children 5 years of age, on or before September 1, are eligible to enter kindergarten. If a child’s birth date falls on a date after September 1 and before October 15, parents/legal guardians may request early entrance. Early entrance will not be considered for a child that would be accelerated to the same grade as an older sibling.
  2. Parents/legal guardians may obtain Early Entrance procedure information at www.sowashco.org, under the Student Information tab then under Enrolling your Student, subpage Early Entrance to Kindergarten. If a parent or guardian would like to pursue Early Entrance they would begin by scheduling an informational meeting with the attendance boundary elementary school principal. This meeting will include the building principal and may also include a school psychologist and a kindergarten teacher and Gifted Education Coordinator. During this meeting, information about the process, including criteria for admission, will be discussed. The meeting may be scheduled after April 1.
  3. Parents/legal guardians may obtain a copy of the Early Entrance to Kindergarten Information including, the necessary paperwork to be completed from the district website at Early Entrance to Kindergarten. Parents are asked to complete this information prior to meeting with the building principal and school team.
  4. Applications can be submitted after the initial meeting with the building principal and school team.
  5. Completed application materials can be dropped off at your home school or mailed directly to:

Eileen McElrath, Gifted Education Coordinator
7362 East Point Douglas Road
Cottage Grove, MN 55016
Attn: Early Entrance Review Committee      

 

Part 2: Data Gathering

  1. The Early Entrance Review Committee will schedule an evaluation for the child with a district licensed school psychologist at a cost of $200 to be paid by parents/legal guardians. (Scholarships are available for parents/legal guardians who qualify based on federal standards for free or reduced priced meal guidelines).

  2. Ability, achievement, social maturity, and fine motor coordination will be assessed.The district psychologist will conduct the assessments between June 1 and August 15. The child must achieve a cognitive ability score that falls in or above the above average range.

  3. Parents/legal guardians will complete a Pre-school and Kindergarten Behavior Scales, which is an instrument used to measure a child’s social skills and behaviors.

  4. Although preschool is not required, it is highly recommended. The parents/legal guardians will share name and contact information of the pre-school teacher or childcare provider with the Review Committee so that the teacher can share information with the Review committee using a form provided by the district. This form is to be sent from the Pre-school teacher or daycare provider directly to the Early Entrance Review Committee at emcelrat@sowashco.org or mailed to the address above.

Part 3: Criteria for Early Entrance

  1. Birthdate on or between September 2nd and October 15th.
  2. A Full Scale IQ score of above average or better on the ability assessment.
  3. Academic achievement results must be at the above average or better i.e. one year ahead of the child’s chronological age.
  4. Fine motor coordination must be above average or better, i.e. one year ahead of the child’s chronological age.
  5. Social/emotional maturity, academic motivation and persistence must be demonstrated.

Part 4: Recommendation Procedures

  1. A district committee will meet to consider each early entrance candidate. This committee is comprised of the Gifted Education Coordinator, an elementary school principal, an elementary school psychologist, and an elementary school teacher.
  2. Parents/legal guardians will be notified of the committees decision in writing.
  3. Parents/legal guardians who disagree with the findings of the Early Entrance Review Committee my submit an appeal in writing to the Assistant Superintendent of Schools.

    Julie Nielsen, Assistant Superintendent
    7362 East Point Douglas Road S
    Cottage Grove, MN 55016

  4. If early entrance is recommended, student check ins will occur with the school psychologist and classroom teacher following week 3 and week 6 of the students participation in Kindergarten. This will be an opportunity to note whether the child is: socially integrated, progressing academically, able and willing to follow directions, demonstrating acceptable emotional maturity and appropriate independence.
  5. Using the results of the check ins, a building review team including the school psychologist, the classroom teacher, and the building principal will determine whether the placement continues to be appropriate. Parents will also be consulted.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the latest birth date a child may have to be considered for Early Entrance to Kindergarten?

The child's birth date must be after September 1 and on or before October 15.

Who do I contact for an Early Entrance to Kindergarten application?

Parents may obtain the Early Entrance application by scheduling an informational meeting with the attendance boundary elementary school principal. The school psychologist and a kindergarten teacher may also attend the meeting, which may be scheduled during the school year through early August. It is advantageous to apply before the end of the school year as the school staff have more flexibility in their schedules.

What is the application deadline?

Applications may be made between May 5th and August 1st of the year the parents or guardians wish the child to enter school and must be submitted to the Early Entrance Review Committee.

Are there costs involved in applying for Early Entrance to Kindergarten?

Yes. The cost of the psychological assessment is $200 and is paid by the parents/legal guardians. Scholarships are available for parents/guardians who qualify based on federal standards for free or reduced price meal guidelines.

What does the assessment for Early Entrance involve?

A district licensed school psychologist will administer assessments in the areas of cognitive ability, academic, adaptive and social emotional skills. Parents will complete a Pre-school and Kindergarten Behavior Scales, which is an instrument used to measure a child’s social skills and behaviors and will request input from preschool or daycare provider, if available, using a district questionnaire.  

I have already had my child assessed. May I submit those results instead of having him/her assessed again?
Results from a licensed psychologist may be submitted if the assessment was completed within the last year. Please check with the Gifted Education Coordinator to confirm that the results meet the district criteria. 

Can I choose the school that my child attends?

Yes, with some limitations. Parents/legal guardians applying for early entrance to kindergarten for their child may apply for an intra-district transfer to a school outside of their assigned neighborhood attendance boundary after the child has been approved for early entrance to kindergarten. Since the early entrance process is not finalized until July/August of the school year desired, the number of kindergarten spaces available through the school choice option, including Nuevas Fronteras Spanish Immersion and Multiage at Valley Crossing, may be limited. 

If I do not agree with the decision of the Early Entrance Committee, how do I appeal the decision?

Parents/legal guardians who disagree with the findings of the school staff may appeal the decision in writing to the appeals committee, which is comprised, of staff from Gifted Education and the Superintendents offices. The final decision shall rest with the Superintendent of Schools.  Please submit your letter to: 

 

Julie Nielsen, Assistant Superintendent 7362 E Pt. Douglas Road S. Cottage Grove, MN 55016