INFORMATION FOR PARENTS:In July, 1997, the North Carolina General Assembly passed a new law that amended G. S. 115C-364 with a new section which states:
A child who has passed the fourth anniversary of the child's birth on or before April 16 may enter kindergarten if the child is presented for enrollment no later than the end of the first month of the school year and if the principal of the school finds, based on information submitted by the child's parent or guardian, that the child is gifted and that the child has the maturity to justify admission to school. The State Board of Education shall establish guidelines for the principal to use in making this finding.
A four-year-old preschool child may be considered for early enrollment in kindergarten under the following conditions:
- The parent/guardian seeking early enrollment in kindergarten for a four-year-old child must notify the principal of the school in writing within the first thirty (30) calendar days of the new school year. The child must be four years of age by April 16. All testing must be administered after April 16.
- This written request must include the written report of a score at the 98th percentile on an aptitude (IQ) test provided by a psychologist licensed in North Carolina.
- The written request must include the written report of a score at the 98th percentile on an achievement test provided by a psychologist licensed in North Carolina.
- The written request must include two letters of recommendation from persons who know the child well in a setting outside the home. The best person to write such a letter would be the child's preschool teacher, daycare provider, or other person who sees the child performing in a structured setting, and that describes the child's characteristics and behaviors, detailing what it is about the child that indicates a need for early enrollment.
- The written request will include samples of the child's work that give evidence of an advanced level of performance and need for early admission to kindergarten, including work in art, math, writing, dramatic play, creative productions, science, social interactions, or other evidence of the child's interest in school-related subjects.
- The principal will interview the child at the school, and may ask the child about his/her understanding with regard to school-related behaviors, following rules, sharing, etc., in order to determine the child's level of readiness for a structured school setting and a demanding day's schedule.
- The principal will conduct an interview with the parent(s) or guardian(s) to gain information about the child's development, experiences and any or all attempts to meet the child's needs up to this time in the area(s) of advanced development or interests.
- The principal will act on the request for early admission within three (3) weeks.
- If the child is admitted to kindergarten before the end of the first ninety (90) days of the child's being enrolled, the principal may rescind his/her approval based on substantial evidence documenting that the child is not adjusting satisfactorily to the school setting. The parent shall abide by the decision of the principal.
- The decision of the principal will be final. If the parent feels that the principal has not made the decision in keeping with the above procedure, the parent may appeal the decision to the Assistant Superintendent for that school. The review of the case will be to determine whether the principal acted in accord with the procedure. If the principal has followed the procedure, the principal's decision stands. If the principal has not acted according to procedure, the decision will be returned to the principal for further consideration. The parent will also have the right to file a grievance with the School Board, and the Board shall determine whether the principal's decision was made in the manner following these procedures. If the principal has followed the procedure, the principal's decision stands. If the principal has not acted according to procedure, the decision may be reversed by action of the Board.
The classroom teacher is the vital center of instruction for a young child. The teacher coordinates initial efforts to assess the abilities and needs of his/her students. It is appropriate that the teacher is given responsibility for evaluating the academic needs of the students as well, and for differentiating the instruction to meet those needs. State guidelines require that “differentiated education beyond the standard course of study should be provided in grades K-12, at least in the areas of reading, writing and mathematics (for all students capable of doing advanced work).”
In meeting this obligation, the teacher has several options. These include offering curriculum enrichment within the regular instruction, differentiated centers, cluster grouping of children with above-grade level instructional needs, individualized instruction, and individual or group projects. Allowing a child to take a higher grade-level subject with older children is also possible when other in-class options have been exhausted.
The classroom teacher will receive support in these efforts from several sources. The school’s AIG specialist will provide consultative services to facilitate identification of students needing differentiation, to suggest strategies for meeting their needs, to provide materials and support, and to offer in-service faculty training. The AIG specialist may also co-teach with the classroom teacher or teach the whole or part of the class. The curriculum coordinator and principal of every school are other resources for consultation. Faculty meetings and networking with other teachers can also yield useful ideas and materials. Finally, the classroom teacher will receive support from the AIG program manager at central administration. This person can provide professional development training, access to workshops on topics relating to the education of the gifted student, materials and resources.