Early Entrance

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The Early Entrance application deadline is February 15.

Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District follows Wisconsin 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. 

Occasionally, exceptions are made for children whose potential and skills are in the very superior range to apply for early entrance into kindergarten or first grade.

Early entrance is not available for the MCPASD four-year-old kindergarten program (4K). Students who attend four-year-old kindergarten must be four years old on or before September 1 in the year he/she proposes to enter four-year-old kindergarten.  Attendance or non-attendance in four-year-old kindergarten does not preclude a family from applying for early entrance to kindergarten or first grade.

The Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District has identified early entrance to kindergarten or first grade as full-grade acceleration, appropriate for those students who are intellectually gifted.  The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction has defined intellectually gifted, versus those being specific academic gifted, as:

Intellectually Gifted children show early and rapid development of language ability; large vocabulary; strong powers of reasoning, analysis and/or synthesis; and advanced ability in critical thinking and problem solving.  Typically these children are noted for being several years beyond their peers in their cognitive ability.  In addition, they understand complex concepts, draw inferences between content areas and enjoy hypothesizing.

Specific Academic Gifted children who show early and rapid development of interest and ability in one or more of the specific academic areas of literacy, science, social studies, or math.  Their vocabulary, enthusiasm, memory and recall for their area of giftedness are often outstanding.  They demonstrate strong powers of reasoning, analysis and/or synthesis, and advanced ability in critical thinking and problem solving in their subject area.  Achievement or ability testing in their area shows high aptitude for the subject(s). 

Current enrollment for Kindergarten or first grade will be a factor in whether early admission is granted or the school the child may attend if granted early enrollment. However, additional assessments may be done and completion of a Kindergarten or first grade program alone will not meet early entrance criteria. Parents should not presume that the child’s neighborhood school will be the school assigned for early admission.

Early entrance and admission age information is also available by reading Board of Education Policy No. 421.

Please consider:
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 kindergarten or first grade early.

How to request early entrance:
1.  Parents/guardians seeking early entry for their child will make a written request (not e-mail) to the Director of Elementary Education (Rainey Briggs) at the District Services Center (7106 South Avenue, Middleton WI 53562) postmarked by February 15 of the previous school year. This letter of request should include the child's full name, date of birth, grade level into which early entrance is being sought, and parent contact information (names, phone numbers, emails and mailing address[es]).

 2.  District staff will send a screener for parents to complete. These screeners must be submitted to the District by March 1st to ensure completion of needed assessments prior to registration deadlines. Children meeting achievement and behavioral criteria on the screener will be referred for additional evaluation.

3.  Parents will receive a call from district staff, usually a school psychologist, who will discuss additional assessments that are needed and schedule a date and time to begin the assessments.  Additional assessments will consist of:      
(1) Cognitive assessment
(2) Academic Assessment in reading and mathematics
(3) Iowa Acceleration Scale based upon observation, interview and formal assessment results as determined by the District, to determine academic ability, achievement levels and developmental readiness for Kindergarten.
(4) Other assessments as determined by the District may be administered based upon the results from any of the above assessments.

Please note that these assessments will be administered in order.  Students not meeting district criteria in a particular assessment will not be assessed further.

  1. Once assessments are completed, a written summary of the student’s performance compared to district standards as well as whether the request is approved or not will be sent to the parents/guardians. 
     
  2. A student moving into the District after the start of the school year who is younger than the state’s September 1st cut off date, and has attended a four year old or other kindergarten program will not automatically be admitted to kindergarten. The early entrance evaluation team will consult and determine how to proceed with the evaluation.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q.  What is the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District early entrance policy?
A.  Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District’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, Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District may consider early entrance if children meet the criteria established by the district’s early entrance policy.

Q.  If I put my child in private kindergarten, will 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 kindergarten or first grade early?
A.  The Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District early entrance team will make the decision, taking into consideration test results and indicators of the child’s social-emotional readiness. Individual schools do not make this determination and once the evaluation is completed, it applies to all district elementary schools. The District will notify parents of the final decision regarding early entry. This decision will apply to all district elementary schools.

Q.  Who should I contact about having my child screened for early entrance?
A.  Contact the Director of Teaching and Learning at the District Office (7106 South Avenue, Middleton, WI) or see the link at the bottom of this page to request consideration for earlier entrance. Please specify whether the request is for Kindergarten or First Grade.  Submit this by February 15th of the school year preceding the school year early entry is desired.

Q.  Why do children applying for early entrance have to be assessed when other children entering kindergarten do not?
A.  Children who turn 5 on or before September 1 are age-eligible according to Wisconsin state law and therefore entitled to enter kindergarten.  A child whose birth date falls between September 1st and December 1st may be considered for early entrance but must meet criteria that demonstrate the child’s skills are in the very superior range.

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:

  1. Intellectual development
  2. Academic skills and/or readiness
  3. Personal/social readiness

Q.  Is my child guaranteed to attend his/her home school if admitted for early entrance?
A.  Attendance at home school is not guaranteed. Enrollment and class size projections may impact school assignment.

Q.  Is early entrance to kindergarten the best choice for my child?
A.  Please consider the following:

  1. The intent of the early entrance process is to make kindergarten available to younger students who are capable of excelling in a classroom setting with children one year older.
  2. The standards for early entrance are high to ensure that students are not frustrated by their advanced placement.
  3. The potential social/emotional impact that entering school early will have on your child as he or she progresses through elementary, middle, high school, and beyond is not predictable.
  4. Early entrance to Kindergarten is not a replacement for child care.

Q.  What is expected of students in kindergarten?
A.  The Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District kindergarten curriculum is a rigorous instructional program that includes:

  1. A daily 90-minute reading/writing/language arts block,
  2. A daily 60-minute mathematics block,
  3. Regular assessments to monitor progress and plan for continued instruction,
  4. Small and large group instruction, and
  5. Independent learning activities.

Children will increase their knowledge and skills in listening, speaking, reading, writing, observing, naming and categorizing objects, and counting and comparing throughout the year.  They will share stories and ideas from books and experiences.

Q.  What are some of the social-emotional skills children should have to be considered for early entry?
A.  The following social-emotional skills should be evident for students who would be successful in full-grade acceleration:

  • The ability to play cooperatively with other children who are of the grade being considered.
  • The ability to participate effectively in group activities.
  • The ability to follow teacher/adult instructions and independently begin tasks set out by those instructions.
  • The ability to easily separate from his/her parents/guardians.
  • The demonstration of ability to address challenging tasks without signs of unusual levels of frustration, anxiety, avoidance or withdrawal.
  • The demonstration of normal self-help skills for a kindergarten aged child.
  • The demonstration of sustained attention to a task or project, based upon grade level standards.

This information is also available in document form.

Criteria for Eligibility:
Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District has developed standardized criteria and procedures to allow for careful consideration of parents’ requests for early entrance to kindergarten and first grade.  The criteria for early entrance are:
 

Early Entrance Requirements for Kindergarten

Assessment Area District Criteria
IN-PERSON SCREENER:  
PALS (Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening) Alphabet recognition
Letter sounds

24/26
20/26

MCPASD Early Numeracy Assessment 9/29
Parental Response Rating – all questions answered, all responses indicative of kindergarten readiness, no ratings below “sometimes” 3/3
***Below administered only when
all screener criteria are met ***
 
COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT – cognitive index or global intelligence quotient 98th percentile
ASSESSMENT OF ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT  
Reading Composite – in standard deviations above age 98th percentile
Math Composite - in standard deviations above age 98th percentile
IOWA ACCELERATION SCALE 60 or above
Academic Ability, Aptitude and Achievement 10 or above
OTHER – administered as needed  

 

Early Entrance Requirements for First Grade

Assessment Area District Criteria
SCREENER:  
Literacy/Written Language (at least three titles, with correct conventions and spacing) 3/3
Writing Prompt, Narrative Writing Progression, Grade 1 or higher
Math Concepts 13/15
Parental Response Rating – all questions answered, all responses indicative of first grade readiness, no ratings below “sometimes” 3/3
***Below administered only when
all screener criteria are met ***
 
COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT – full scale score 98th percentile
ASSESSMENT OF ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT  
Reading Composite – in standard deviations above age 98th percentile
Math Composite - in standard deviations above age 98th percentile
IOWA ACCELERATION SCALE 60 or above
Academic Ability, Aptitude and Achievement 10 or above
OTHER – administered as needed