Early Entrance Requests
Arlington Heights School District 25 complies with Illinois law which specifies that, to enter kindergarten or first grade, children must be five years of age by September 1st of their kindergarten year or six years of age by September 1st of their first grade year (105 ILCS 5/34-19, Sec. 34-19). However, District 25 allows exceptions to this law for children whose potential and skills are in the very superior range when compared with their peers.
District 25 has identified early entrance to kindergarten and first grade as full-grade acceleration, appropriate for those students who are intellectually and socially advanced. The decision to allow a student early entrance is solely at the discretion of the principal based ona comprehensive assessment of the student's cognitive, academic, and social-emotional functioning. The school district will complete all necessary assessments.
The decision for a child to enter school early can have a profound effect on his or her academic and social performance for the remainder of the child’s school career. It is a decision that needs to be taken very seriously. Research indicates that early entrance and/or early reading ability is not a predictor of success in school. In fact, children with strong early reading skills often plateau by third grade.
Children who enter kindergarten or first grade early may demonstrate social or emotional difficulties due to their relative immaturity. As they progress through school, children who are young for their grade level may have more difficulty fitting in with their peers in social situations. They are less likely to excel in sports because of their age and/or their smaller size. These and other possible effects of being younger than others in their classes should be considered carefully. Very few children screened meet the criteria to enter first grade early.
Requesting Early Entrance
To be eligible for early entrance for first grade, children must turn six years old by December 31st of the current school year. Additionally, the student must have completed at least one year of preschool and one year of kindergarten in the same facility, taught by an appropriately certified teacher. The child must have received superior ratings from the kindergarten teacher. Parents/guardians wishing to apply for early entrance for their child must contact their building principal and request the Early Entrance Referral Form. In addition, parents will be asked to provide relevant information that supports their belief that early entrance to school is in the best interest of their child. This form must be submitted by April 15 of the year prior to the desired year of early admittance.
Parents who decide to apply for early entrance for their child must give consent for District 25 to complete an evaluation of their child’s academic and social readiness. Based on the completed evaluation, and any additional data provided by parents, the school principal and appropriate staff will make a decision regarding the enrollment of the child. The decision of the principal is final.
Children who are accepted for early entrance will be enrolled on a probationary basis. The school staff will assess each child's initial adjustment to school during the first 20-30 school days. If a child's initial adjustment is not satisfactory, the principal will request that the child enroll when the child meets the state’s enrollment age requirement for the appropriate grade level or the child may be moved to the appropriate grade level. If it is determined that the child's adjustment is satisfactory, the child may continue enrollment in the early entrance program.
Early Entrance Requirements- 1st grade
- The parent must provide proof that the child’s 6th birthday falls between 9/1 and 12/31 of the year of enrollment.
- The parent must provide evidence that the child has successfully completed both a preschool and kindergarten program in a private or parochial school, with superior ratings from the kindergarten teacher.
- The child must score in the very superior (130+) range of intelligence as measured by a individually administered intelligence test (e.g. WISC, WIPPSI, etc) completed by the District.
- The child must demonstrate above average social-emotional development. This may be determined by interview, observation in the current school placement, and adaptive behavior rating scales (e.g. HELP, Brigance) completed by District staff.
- The child must score in the superior range on academic tasks in both reading and writing. The child must score above 120 on an individually administered academic achievement test or above the 90th percentile on end-of-year AIMSweb probes.
- For parents seeking grade advancement in all other grades, the above requirements are applicable for the desired grade level.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is District 25’s early entrance policy?
A. District 25’s policy states that children must turn five by September 1 of their kindergarten year for admission to kindergarten or six by September 1 of their first-grade year to be admitted to first grade. However, the District’s administration may consider early entrance if children meet the criteria established by the District’s early entrance procedures.
Q. If I put my child in private kindergarten, will he/she automatically be eligible for first grade the following year?
A. No. To be considered for early entrance to first grade, children who are not six by September 1 will have to meet the early entrance requirements.
Q. Who makes the decision about whether my child can enter first grade early?
A. The building principal is responsible for making the final decision, taking into consideration the child’s test results, academic performance, and social-emotion development. The principal will notify parents of the final decision regarding early entrance.
Q. Why do children applying for early entrance have to be assessed when other children entering school do not?
A. Children who turn five or six on or before September 1 are age-eligible according to Illinois state law and therefore entitled to enter kindergarten or first grade respectively. A child whose birth date falls between September 1stand December 31st may be considered for early entrance but must meet the district’s criteria that demonstrate the child’s skills are in the superior range of development.
Q. Is early entrance the best choice for my child?
A. Please consider the following:
- The intent of the early entrance process is to offer a stimulating academic environment for students who are capable of excelling in a classroom setting with children one year older.
- The standards for early entrance are high to ensure that students are not frustrated by their advanced placement.
- There may be social issues that have long-term implications for the child.
Q. What are the assessors looking for in the assessments?
A. Children cannot study or prepare for developmental readiness. Assessments include a variety of activities that measure each child’s progress in the following developmental domains:
- Intellectual development
- Academic skills and/or readiness
- Personal/social readiness