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U.S. Elementary education - what parents need to be aware of

Discussion in 'General Discussions - USA & Canada' started by Rihana, May 12, 2015.

  1. Rihana

    Rihana Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Missing few days is mostly OK, unless the school is impacted (over-enrolled/ over-crowded). In that case, some schools bump students off the roll if they miss first day of school. Such things happen on a case by case basis.

    For areas populated with Asians, I see you've already posted in Chicago forum here. Google 'Indians in Naperville' and similar search - 'Indian community in Chicago'.
     
  2. Induslady

    Induslady Administrator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Hmm...least did I know I'll come to this thread with my own problem!

    Let me give the background of a school admission problem that I have in hand. My younger one is Sep born, missing the school admission cut-off date by 2-weeks - darn :BangHead: . In Texas the cut-off is Sep 1st! I was aware of this for Kinder admission and hence kept him in a Private school last year. I apply for 1st grade in a Public school we are zoned to for the upcoming school year and the counselor tells me that the requirement applies for 1st grade too.

    As an alternate option, I was suggested putting him thro' an accelerated testing. Did that and he scored 80+ while the requirement there again is atleast 90. Looks like they make it pretty challenging so that not many kids can easily sail thro' the testing.

    I want some suggestions on what are the options left for me to get him into 1st grade, besides keeping him in Private school for one more year, trying to avoid for financial reasons. The Public school district seems to look this as skipping a school year, while it isn't. He has done a full-fledged Kinder in a proper established Private School, gone thro' standard achievement tests like the Terra Nova test and fortunately he has excellent scores.

    How do I approach the school district? Need some pointers on how to convince them to see beyond the "State" requirement.
     
  3. jskls

    jskls IL Hall of Fame

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    @Induslady our school district didnt accept Sep born in 1st grade and the only option was to keep the kid in private school for first grade.

    Is it possible to get the private school teachers to give a brief assessment for the kid that schools can consider?

    Personally, I now regret the decision of pushing earlier. Being older in class has many advantages once they are in middle/ high school when work load is too much
     
  4. Rihana

    Rihana Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    If very keen about child being in first grade, can try to ask for another attempt at the test, citing a suitable reason. Add things like you are concerned he will be bored in KG, and lose interest by the end of the academic year. Frankly, chances are low... schools make cut-off date exceptions rarely, as then, many will come and ask for it.

    I heartily second jskls' opinion - in middle and high school, being older in class has a huge advantage. The work-load and pressure and expectations of self-study and motivation increase dramatically, and being the oldest has a very significant advantage.

    My younger one kind of missed the cut-off-date by 5 weeks or so. I went into a loop that should have had him earlier.. LOL. After seeing the workload (and competition) that my older one has dealt with, I am more than glad younger one has the 'older in class' advantage. To the point, that I look at 'just missing' as an advantage.

    If you can bring yourself (and dad, and child) to come to terms with it, start with public school KG, if they won't put him in first grade. Child will be a little ahead of others, but can work with teacher to keep him engaged.
     
  5. poovai

    poovai Platinum IL'ite

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    Throughout his elementary school, my son was one of the tallest kid because he missed the KG cut-off date; Cannot escape the system, but he was in higher level math and language classes from 4th grade on wards. Keep watching, when do the school test students for the higher level math/English program? For our school district, it was at the end of 3rd grade class based on their reading/writing ability.

    It does matter, how much we boost our kids, the enthusiasm for the subject mainly come from their teacher and their encouragement.
     
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  6. Srama

    Srama IL Hall of Fame

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    Malathy,

    Most states do a kindergarten readiness test and take kids. You are beyond that now. So the next possible way to get to grade level is only 2nd. Second is considered a transition grade and nothing much happens I believe.

    Not sure how strict the school is on test scores. Possible options are -

    You could ask for a retest in a couple of months if they allow.

    I know of a couple of families who relocated to India, came back to US and were asked to get into a lower grade/repeat grade. In such cases, I know parents had a psychologist test outside of school (school approved I think) and get a recommendation that the child is ready.

    If this is really important to you, you can enroll him in the recommended grade and consider skipping grade when he is ready for elementary. I would recommend skipping 2nd and going third - based on how does and what the teacher recommends.

    At KG and first grade level, the school system worries about social aspects/learning and comprehension more than the academics.

    Also I am not sure who u are working with. Is it at school level or central admissions office.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2016
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  7. Induslady

    Induslady Administrator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    @jskls , I did hear a lot from many moms of older kids about the advantages of the kid being the oldest in class, especially being a boy! But like any Indian family :) we are in this uncertainty of being here and/or moving to India. If the decision is to be here, I definitely want to take the advantage of him being the oldest in the class during his high school years. But if decide the other way, back home where kids start KG when 3yrs old, won't he be the dhaada of the class???

    @Rihana No testing 2nd time, I already asked :disappointed:. Frankly, this fellow will definitely be bored, he hates repetition. Especially if I put him in public school KG, for the private school he went to did far more academically and in terms of discipline and behavior. I definitely feel got value for the money invested :)

    It's not about convincing Dad, easy going like any normal one! It is me and my kid who needs to digest the fact of repeating KG. He already thinks he is a big boy in 1st grade, calls Pre-K kids as babies and KGs as little kids :)

    Sabitha, the public and charter schools here didn't have anything called kinder readiness when I approached for him last year. But the private school he went to did conduct the readiness test because he is missing cut-off date and only then took him into Kinder. The public school mentioned about acceleration testing for those exceptional kids who want to skip Kinder and get into 1st grade as well as for kids like mine who are missing cut-off date.

    Let me see if I got you right here...so are you suggesting to keep him again in Kinder the coming school year, do 1st grade the following year and year after next if the teacher recommends do a testing to skip 2nd grade and do 3rd grade? Is it because 2nd grade is mostly seen as a transition year?

    I've been working with at school level so far, now thinking to approach the district office.

    Ladies,
    Thank you for sharing your thougths here. I also wanted to keep this discussion going here that way it would help any hyper-mom like me in future :)
     
  8. Srama

    Srama IL Hall of Fame

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    Malathy,

    After you talk to the central office, I think you make a decision as to -

    Keep him in private school for one more year or transition and see if a grade skip is possible - any grade skip should be okay at this age - KG, 1st or 2nd. In the latter case of course you are looking at possibly losing a year.

    Just some unsolicited suggestions here - In my experience skipping a grade when comes from the teacher or a gifted coordinator makes a huge difference on how the school approaches it. Not that parent requests are not entertained. I have learnt that no matter what, the teachers make a huge huge difference, whether identifying or supporting or pushing! Also as others have said, in the larger scheme of things a grade difference will not matter.

    As for testing, our district does testing from KG level but does not provide services till 3rd grade! This is because of funding in the recent years. When DS was younger, the services existed right from KG! You may want to check on those things before you make a decision - gifted services, support, grade skipping - what stage it happens and how it is done etc.
     
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  9. butterflyice

    butterflyice Local Champion Staff Member Platinum IL'ite

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    @Induslady, I have the same experience as well. My school district is pretty strict about cut-off and does not offer a gifted program.

    What I suggest is that you meet with the Principal and the Kindergarten teacher, ask for an IEP to make sure your kiddo is challenged. Sometimes the teacher might make an accomodation without needing an IEP. If things do not work out at the public school, you can perhaps have him do challenging stuff outside of school at home or through programs offered by Universities.

    There are a couple of kids in my son's class who do algebra while the other kids are at addition and subtraction. They get different problems (challenging problems in multiplication and division) at school. When they move to 4th or 5th they might be able to do math at middle school level. When I spoke to their parents, they weren't too worried about this.

    If you do move to India, you might want to consider your kiddo testing for a higher grade at the entrance exams. With a little push, he should be able to skip a grade.

    One more suggestion is to Homeschool :) If you do take this route, I am happy to suggest resources. It is not as difficult as I assumed.
     
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  10. butterflyice

    butterflyice Local Champion Staff Member Platinum IL'ite

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    @violetsnroses, all schools in Naperville are good. You should pick a school that is convenient to your lifestyle. A rating of 8 versus 9 will not make a huge difference. If Beebe has apartments closer to the metra, then go with apartments feeding into Beebe.

    Like I suggested on the Chicago forum, its hard to live without a car in the Chicago winters. However, its not impossible. My kids walk to school everyday, so do plenty other kids. You need to invest in good quality winter jackets (from LL bean or Lands End, not Walmart or Target although these are fine if the kids are bussed or carred to and fro and do not play outside during the winter), gloves and cap. If you are still in India, you can buy woolen sweaters and hats from there as you do not find them easily here.

    Its best to call the Naperville school district - there are 2 school districts (203 and 204) - to find out about bus policy. Different districts have different rules. FYI Beebe is in 203 district and the contact number for this district is 630.420.6300.

    Once school starts, you can find out from the teacher/PTA/other parents about after and before school activities. Rest assured there will no scarcity of activities. The problem will be with choosing one over the other. One of the best advantages living in Naperville is the easy access to Indian activities like Carnatic music/Bharatanatyam etc. There are plenty of Indians who teach at home and at the 2 temples close by.

    Let me also remind you that commute from Naperville to downtown is well above the 45 minutes that you wanted. However it has plenty other things going for it.

    I thought I answered your query regarding housing in the Chicago forum. For future reference, posting in the city specific forum will elicit quicker response.
     
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