Early Entry into Kindergarten

  • A North Carolina Board of Education Policy allows a child who has reached his/her fourth birthday by April 16 to enter kindergarten if he/she demonstrates an extraordinary level of academic ability and maturity.  The principal shall confer with a committee of professional educators to consider the following factors for each child. In Wilson County Schools, the committee may be composed of the principal, a curriculum facilitator and the school counselor or designee.

WCS Early Admittance Procedure:

  • Each step is predicated on the fact that the previous step is in place. Parents/guardians also need to fill out the Parent Checklist for Standards for Early Admission to Kindergarten.

    1. (a) The parents, at their own expense, are responsible for supplying the principal with required aptitude and achievement scores that are in the 99th percentile. Examples of acceptable tests are identified in the State Board of Education policy. Required tests must be administered by a licensed psychologist. (b) The parents are responsible for supplying the principal with a portfolio of student work in the arts, mathematics, writing, science or other area showing outstanding ability.  (c) The parents are responsible for supplying the principal two letters of recommendation, which show physical and social maturity of the child. The State Board of Education policy identifies possible sources for data. (d) The principal will contact the parents after reviewing the required documents to notify them whether the data supports additional assessment.

    2. If the principal determines the child’s performance supports further assessment, a reading and mathematics assessment will be administered. A running record is used to evaluate the child’s reading level.  A child must score at a level (J) in order to be considered for admittance. Assessment will not go beyond level (J). The reading assessment will begin at a level (I). If a level (I) is not achieved, the assessment ends. If a level (J) is demonstrated, the child is asked to write a response to the story of at least three sentences in length while using proper grammar (punctuation: periods, question marks, commas, capitalization, spelling and subject-verb agreement).  The mathematics assessment will consist of math tasks showing ability in number sense, geometry, data analysis and probability, algebra, and measurement. The child must show mastery in all five areas.

    3. If the criteria stated above are in place, the principal will schedule an interview with the counselor and the child and parents to discuss the child’s social and work habits.

    4. The principal will contact the parent within three weeks to schedule a conference to discuss the child’s performance.  Parents will be notified at this time of the decision whether or not to enroll the child.

    5. If admitted, the principal may within 90 days determine that the child is not functioning in an acceptable manner and withdraw the student.

Testing Information:

    • Student Aptitude:  Policy states that a child shall be “precocious” in academic and social development. Wilson County guidelines go beyond the state standard of 98th percentile on a standard individual test of intelligence, requiring a child to score in the 99th percentile. A licensed psychologist must administer a test such as the Stanford-Binet, the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence, or the Kaufman Anderson.

    • Achievement:  The child shall be functioning from two to three years beyond the child’s peers.  Wilson County guidelines call for the child to score in the 99th percentile on either reading or mathematics on a standard test of achievement such as the Metropolitan Readiness Test, the Stanford Early School Achievement Ability (TEMA) or the Test of Early Reading Ability (TERA), administered by a licensed psychologist.

    • Performance: (a) The child shall be able to perform tasks well above age peers as evidenced by behaviors in one or more areas such as independent reading, problem solving skills, advanced vocabulary, and some writing fluency. In Wilson County the principal will require a reading, writing and mathematics assessment of the child. (b) The parent shall submit a sample of the child’s work that shows outstanding examples of ability in any area including, but not limited to, art, mathematics, writing, dramatic play, creative productions, science, or social interactions.

    • Observable Student Behavior/Student Interest:  The child shall demonstrate social and developmental maturity sufficient to participate in a structured setting for a full school day.  The child shall be capable of following verbal instructions and functioning independently within a group. The parent shall provide two recommendation letters with specific documentation of physical and social maturity from preschool teachers, childcare workers, pediatricians, or others who have direct knowledge of the child.  Possible documentation checklists are the California Preschool Competency Scale or the Harrison Scale.

    • Motivation/Student Interest:  The principal or shall conduct an interview with the child and a more structured interview with the parent to determine if the child displays a thirst for knowledge and seeks new and challenging learning situations.

    The parent shall present the information required by this policy to the principal within the first 30 calendar days of the school’s instructional year.  All testing shall be administered after the April 16th that follows the child’s fourth birthday.

    The principal shall decide whether or not to grant the parent’s request for enrollment within three weeks after receiving this information. State policy specifies that the local educational agency (LEA), Wilson County Schools, may require additional information to that stated above.  The LEA may also require specific tests or other measures to provide information regarding the child’s readiness to enter kindergarten as a four-year-old.