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    Joined: Dec 2007
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    crisc Offline OP
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    A little background first:We took DS5 to register for K at the public school back in the Spring. I had actually hoped that he could skip K and start in 1st this fall. He is a Davidson Scholar and has test scores to easily support a skip. I was told that the answer was NO since K was not mandatory in the state of NH and until he was 6 by September 30th of that year they could nothing to accomodate him. (He will turn 6 in Decemeber of this year) I met with both the Principal and Vice Principal. They both said, "We know that it's not right but we can't do anything for you for this fall". I accepted this and decided that fighting for 1st grade was silly since even there he would need accomodations in at least Math and Reading.

    We decided to keep him at his current Montessori school for the extended day/K year. We did complete all the registration paperwork in case something changed but had no intentions of sending him to public school this year.

    Fast forward to June and I received a letter asking us to indicate if we were interested in a loop classroom for 1st/2nd grade years. I thought this was a little wierd since my son was registered for K. I honestly didn't think they would be preparing for the 2009-2010 school year already. I called the school and spoke with someone who told me it must have just been a mistake since K parents were not supposed to get the mailing. I didn't think to ask her specifically about my son's registration.

    Today I received a card in the mail that told me the bus route and time for my son. K students don't ride the bus in our district---only 1st grade and above.

    Obviously light bulbs are going off now and I think my son is registered for 1st grade at public school. I plan to call tommorrow morning and ask who is teacher is and what grade he is registered for. If he is actually registered for 1st grade do I send him? This could mean a difference of about $10,000 in tuition costs. My fear is that they will realize their mistake and then tell me he can't come to school anymore---on the other hand if he fits it maybe they'll just allow him to stay.


    Crisc
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    Ooooh...Big gamble, eh? Any idea how the error happened? It seems unlikely, you know?

    Do you think you have it in you to "play dumb" (as in, "Oh! I thought you changed your minds and got him in." <batting eyelashes innocently> smile ) and not have anyone notice it? Since you have spoken to the Principal and VP, it seems like they might figure it out...

    What happens if they do realize the mistake? Would you be stuck without school? Or could you get him back into the Montessori program? (If you do try it, maybe call him in sick at the Montessori for the first couple of days, just to be sure you don't lose your spot there...)

    Honestly, I don't really feel qualified to advise you, since I do think it's a pretty big gamble. I'm not sure it's a great idea to try to circumvent the bureaucracy this way. Bureaucracies don't like being circumvented! frown

    But it sure is tempting when it falls into your lap like this, isn't it?!?


    Kriston
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    If it's a mistake, they'll fix it when they find out. I would probably write a letter to the principal or the superintendent as appropriate saying thank you so much for arranging for my DS to be in the 1st/2nd loop classroom. We agree that this is the appropriate placement for him and he is very excited about school. That way they have to say no, it was a mistake, or acquiesce, in which case you have the confirmation in writing. I would not suggest calling to say I'm confused, I thought you said he wouldn't be going into first. But it's not worth losing your spot in Montessori if the school did make a mistake without realizing it and then moves your DS back to K.

    ps - isn't this the type of thing your family consultant helps you with?

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    Good idea, questions. I think that's a smart move.

    My one thought: is there time for a letter? Or does school start too soon for that?


    Kriston
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    questions - I think that is a really smart way to approach it! Really tempting to just go with it, but risky too.

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    Val Offline
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    There's a precedent for early entrance to first in NH in spite of district policies like the one you describe: see this web page.

    Citing precedent to them, if it comes to it, is a good way to help win. Especially if it takes them a couple weeks to notice he's been enrolled in 1st and he's been doing fine. It's easier to get forgiveness than permission....

    If you discover that he's enrolled in first grade and decide to chance sending him, you might want to keep your head down. If they do figure it out, you can respond that you called and asked. When you were told he was enrolled in 1st, you assumed they changed their minds.

    Alternatively, would Montessori enroll him in 1st? If he did that, the public school would probably have to enroll him in second after that.

    Tough call!

    Val

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    Either send them a letter or call them. Otherwise I would probably spend lots of nights worrying that they would find out and jump up every time the phone rings.

    Good idea about the family consultant. Have her/him check the NH law and see if it's possible even if not done by your district.


    LMom
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    I think the letter will meet with a greater chance of success if there's time. But I don't think you want to send a letter if school starts in a couple of days...or maybe even Monday. There's just too great a chance that you'll hear nothing.


    Kriston
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    Letter, email. Same thing nowadays. And then of course, there's always the fax machine or better yet, hand delivery or mailing a hard copy of the email or fax.

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    I'd rather see a standard, formal letter, I think. I don't think e-mails and letters are the same thing, exactly. Bureaucracies take letters far more seriously than e-mails. But they also tend to slow down the response time on letters. Pros and cons...


    Kriston
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    crisc Offline OP
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    School starts September 3rd. I think I will call tomorrow and just ask if the information packets have been mailed yet? Teachers name, school supplies, etc. I think I want something in writing that states that DS5 is indeed registered for grade 1 before I send a letter that may or may not get a reply.

    Kriston: I am very tempted to just see how it goes.

    Questions and LMom: Thanks for the family consultant idea but I am not sure they can help. NH law state that each district can have it's own policies regarding early entry. Unfortunately my large (for NH) district has a policy and entrance to K and 1st grade are based on age only--no exceptions. Other cases of this occuring in the state have occured outside our district. Both the Vice Principal and I did our research last spring to no avail. They did tell me that once DS5 reached the age requirements it would be up to the school to determine grade placement--so grade skipping later on is a possibility and I am told it has happened at this particular school.

    Val: Great advice about Montessori first grade but our school only has the 3-6 year old program. There is no elementary school Montessori in our immedicate area.

    I think I would need to be pretty confident that they would allow him to stay in 1st grade before I pull him from the Montessori school. I know there is a waiting list for the Montessori school and if I pull him I would lose our spot. I have also already paid the first month of tuition for Montessori. I doubt I could get a refund at this stage.

    I also worry about the quality of education:
    *1st grade Public school--nothing set up for accomodations. No G/T program until 3rd grade (and I am told it's a joke).
    or
    *K at Montessori--teachers knows his ability. No true peers and DS5 will be one of the oldest children. Already mastered most of the available material. The plan is to allow DS to do more projects, self-guided learning, explore same topics as other children but in more depth. I worry that the teachers will not be able to keep him engaged at his level.

    Urgh--I know I won't get much sleep tonight.


    Crisc
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    crisc Offline OP
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    master of none: Thanks for sharing that story. That is definitely my fear. I would not be able to just move him to public school K though since here it is only half day--I work full time and the afterschool programs don't accomadate K students. Montessori or private K is my only option due to daycare needs.

    I also want to mention that DD4 will be attending the Montessori school with DS5 this fall. I can't burn bridges with the Montessori school since I have a younger child to consider as well.


    Crisc
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    No good advice from me, can't think of anything different from the good advice already posted. Tough call, just sending e-support your way.

    smile

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    Montessori was definitely a better fit for me at that age. At 6 years they moved me into grades 4-7 and I still remember it fondly.

    A year later, Public school stuck me into 2d grade and I acted up until I was put back into independent study.

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    crisc Offline OP
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    Update: I called this morning and the secretary told me the the letters with teachers went out yesterday and I should get it in the mail today. After I get our official letter I will write a letter/e-mail to the school officials asking for clarification.




    Crisc
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    Keep us updated, crisc. I'm reading with great interest, naturally! smile


    Kriston
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    crisc Offline OP
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    Just got home and checked the mail. We got the official letter in the mail. DS5 is indeed registered for grade 1 for this fall at our local public school.

    I just sent an e-mail to the principal. I figure it was the best and easiest way to talk to her. This past spring all of our communication was done via e-mail. If I get no where fast I will just attend the orientation session on Tuesday, September 2 to meet with his new teacher and see if I can speak with the principal.

    Wish me luck!


    Crisc
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    good luck!

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    Here's hoping!


    Kriston
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    Wow! Well good luck!

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    Wow is right!!!

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    Good LUCK!

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    Mia Offline
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    Wow, Cris, that's nuts!

    However ... I'd think long and hard about pulling him from that Montessori spot, especially if there's going to be no accommodations made in first grade. It might be great... But it also might not be, if he's expected to go in Day 1 and start "working" levels behind where he should be. I imagine that'd be a pretty huge change for him to cope with, especially since it sounds like his Montessori teachers "get" him.

    Then again, it sounds like you might have that issue next year anyway...

    I suppose it might be better to go from Montessori to first with that K skip, as opposed to Montessori K, then skip to second (it sounded like that might be an option?).

    Wow. Keep is posted!


    Mia
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    Excellent! Did you get the 1st/2nd combo class? That'd be so perfect!

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    crisc Offline OP
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    Well I just got off the phone with the Principal of the school. 100% clerical error.

    Good news is that I advocated hard--the principal is now going to call the superintendant directly and get back to me. There may be a way I can appeal this decision. Although there is no early entry policy/procedure she agrees with me that my son is more than ready for 1st grade. Stay tuned....


    Crisc
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    Oooh! Fingers crossed! Hard! All of them!


    Kriston
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    Wow! We'll I'm crossing my fingers for good news.

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    oh darn...but at least it gets the ball rolling.


    Fingers crossed!

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    Heh! Thinking good thoughts!

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    Good news coming, I hope!

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    Fingers crossed. I hope all works well for both of you.


    LMom
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    Oooh, bummer. Well, it's probably better this way, so you don't have to worry about him being pulled ... I really hope this works out for your ds! First would obviously be a better fit for him than K.

    Fingers crossed here too!


    Mia
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    Quote
    Could there possibly have been an "assist" on the clerical error?

    I'm definately starting to believe in fairy god-mothers, or fairy god-fathers for that matter!

    I would have done the same though, crisc. I'll take my chances on a slippery slope, but I sure don't want to set my child up on one, KWIM?

    Better to get the i's dotted and t's crossed properly. Good luck....staying tuned...........

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    crisc Offline OP
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    UPDATE:

    The Principal called today with a compromise since the age requirement in our district has a no exception policy.

    DS5 will attend public school K for the morning session and then go to 1st grade from 10:50am until school lets out at 2:30pm. He will officially be a K'er. In the fall of 2009 he will attend 2nd grade (as the grade placement after 1st grade is at the discretion of the school.) During the afternoons he will be on an "enrichment" curriculum. The 1st grade teacher is excited to have him. The 1st grade also has specials (gym, art, music) in the afternoons.

    I will also have him attend the YMCA after school program at the school.

    Now I am just waiting to hear from the Montessori school to see if I can get out of contract. Let's hope that conversation goes well.



    Crisc
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    Val Offline
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    Originally Posted by crisc
    UPDATE:

    The Principal called today with a compromise since the age requirement in our district has a no exception policy.

    DS5 will attend public school K for the morning session and then go to 1st grade from 10:50am until school lets out at 2:30pm. He will officially be a K'er. In the fall of 2009 he will attend 2nd grade (as the grade placement after 1st grade is at the discretion of the school.) During the afternoons he will be on an "enrichment" curriculum. The 1st grade teacher is excited to have him. The 1st grade also has specials (gym, art, music) in the afternoons.

    I will also have him attend the YMCA after school program at the school.

    Now I am just waiting to hear from the Montessori school to see if I can get out of contract. Let's hope that conversation goes well.

    That sounds very reasonable! Congratulations on a too-rare advocacy success!

    Val

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    Mia Offline
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    That is *awesome*! Sounds like a success to me! It also sounds like the principal *wanted* to skip him but just couldn't. And so she made it work anyway. Good for you and ds!

    Good luck with Montessori ... I bet they let you out of it, as long as they've got a waiting list.


    Mia
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    Yahoo! That sounds like the best scenario possible, given the "no exceptions" policy. Pretty doggone close to an exception! Yay!

    grin


    Kriston
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    Wow! Hope you can get out of that contract. That sounds great. Let us know how it goes!

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    crisc Offline OP
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    Now I just have to convince DS5 that this is a good thing. He's very worried that his handwriting is not good enough for 1st grade in the afternoon(It's not wonderful but certainly will pass) He is also worried that he won't be in his best buds 1st grade class. He also informed me that he'll be more of a 1st grader since he would spend more time in that class than the K class. What an anxious kid...I wonder where he gets that from smile


    Crisc
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    LOL! He is a kid with a lot on his mind. smile That's better than the alternative, I think!

    Wishing you two all the best!


    Kriston
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    That arrangement was how DS transitioned into his skip. It was fine--the only drawback was that the first graders did their math in the morning while DS was in K. I think it is an excellent compromise, though! When does he start?

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    Great news. I can see that DS has already analyzed the situation. LOL. It's amazing how accommodating the principal was. Fingers crossed for a nice K and 1st grade teacher.

    What happened with the future gt school? PM if you want to.


    LMom
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    crisc Offline OP
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    Originally Posted by LMom
    What happened with the future gt school? PM if you want to.


    Nothing really but that school doesn't open for another year (if it ends up opening). It will also not be free. I still plan to keep tabs on the school throughout the year.


    Crisc
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    Great job crisc! Hope he has a great year. Key that the First Grade teacher is excited to have him.

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    crisc Offline OP
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    Quick update:
    DS5 is finally warning up to the idea of attending both K and 1st grade this year. I think school clothes shopping and a new Pokemon backpack really helped.

    We got out of our Montessori contract only losing one month's tuition.

    Thursday is his orientation for K and we will meet with the 1st grade teacher as well. Monday will be his first day of school. He actually has Tuesday off due to our city's election primaries.

    I really hope this was a good decision for him.



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