Early Enrollment into Kindergarten and First Grade

  •  

    All children learn best when they are challenged at a level for which they are ready. The challenge for schools is to find the optimal match between the child and the appropriate learning environment. For intellectually advanced students, one option to meeting this match is early enrollment into kindergarten or first grade. There is research to support the fact that, if carefully selected for early enrollment, students do very well both academically and socially. Early enrollment enables children to establish solid relationships with peers and avoids the “holes” in curriculum that grade-skipping or other forms of acceleration may cause. The greatest benefits of this form of acceleration are that it provides greater intellectual stimulation than a program that satisfies other children their age, and it promises a better match with their readiness for challenge and growth.

    Candidates for early enrollment should be students who perform or show the potential to perform at remarkably high levels of accomplishment when compared to others of their age or experience and whose unique needs cannot be met in the classroom with applied academic differentiation strategies. Further, students who have attended preschool are likely to be better candidates for early enrollment since these children have already experienced a structured routine, learned to share adult attention with other children, and have developed group social skills.

    According to the guidelines set forth from the State of Ohio, the standard minimum age for enrollment is five for kindergarten or six for first grade.  In New Albany, a student must reach that age on or before August 1st of the year of enrollment. If a child does not meet the standard minimum age by August 1st, a parent can request that the child be evaluated for early entrance. Click here to view the entrance requirement policy of New Albany-Plain Local Schools.

    Students must be carefully screened and selected to help ensure a successful acceleration. Therefore, the process for determining if a child should be successful in acceleration must be thorough and complete. To help ensure success, we will:

    1. Use a team decision-making process involving parent(s) or guardian(s). The Early Enrollment Team will include at least one teacher from the kindergarten and/or first grade level, the school psychologist, the gifted specialist, and the building principal.

    2. Use a variety of instruments to evaluate and collect information about the child.

    3. On condition of acceptance, admit the early enrollment candidate into the appropriate grade for a trial basis of six weeks. At the end of this trial period, the child’s performance will be evaluated and discussed by the Early Enrollment Team. Students who have been thoroughly screened and carefully selected should adapt to early enrollment easily; however, sometimes situations warrant reconsideration.
    4. Applications will be available starting March 1st and are due by April 30th. The students whose applications have been received by this deadline will be assessed during the month of May. Any applications received after April 30th will be reviewed and those children will be assessed during the first month of school. If an application is received after the start of the school year, the child will be evaluated in a prompt manner.

    Procedure for Early Enrollment into Kindergarten or First Grade

    1. Parents initiate the acceleration process by contacting the Early Learning Center office at (614) 413-8700 and requesting to speak with the school counselor. In response to this request, the parents are given an Early Enrollment application packet. This packet contains (1) a letter with Early Enrollment information and guidelines, (2) the Early Enrollment Application, and (3) permission forms for testing and for obtaining information from the child’s preschool. The parent is requested to complete the Early Enrollment Application and the permission form and bring them or mail them to the school.

    2. Once the school receives the completed packet, an appointment is made for the child to be assessed by a district staff member.

    3. All data collected from the assessments will be entered on the IOWA Acceleration Scale. The Early Enrollment team will review all information and data collected. A determination will be made if the child would benefit from Early Enrollment.

    4. The parents will be notified in writing of the district's determination.