Families have choices beyond kindergarten cutoff

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. As families start preparing for the school year, some would've-been kindergartners are getting ready for another year of preschool instead. However, there are other options for those who missed the cutoff to get into a kindergarten classroom.

"For those kids who are ready to enter kindergarten and are anxious to enter kindergarten, we want to provide that option as a transition as we start that new cutoff date," said Steve States, director of elementary for academic achievement and growth for District 51.

District 51 will be doing kindergarten readiness testing starting Monday for 34 children who have birthdays between the old cutoff of September 15 and the new cutoff of July 15.

"The test basically assesses for a four-year-old child that's not five years by July 15, their skills in comparison to a student who has turned five by July 15," States said.

This readiness test most likely won't be offered next year for children between the cutoff range, but gifted and talented children can always qualify for kindergarten in District 51 based on an IQ test.

There are also local private schools, such as Intermountain Adventist Academy, which is keeping its cutoff date at September 15 because staff said readiness really depends on the child.

"Some kids who turn five by September 10 or whatever date you want to put on it are extremely ready for kindergarten," Principal Casey Prindle said. "There are some who will turn five last March who aren't ready."

Children do have to be evaluated for kindergarten readiness for Intermountain Adventist Academy as well, but Principal Prindle said the school has a flexible kindergarten curriculum that can accommodate for various levels.

"Are they capable of not just sitting in a classroom and listening but are they really engaged in the process?" Prindle said. "We want these kids to thrive not survive while they're here."

The school year there starts August 11, but enrollment is always open.

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