School board to look at kindergarten policy

Parents have been registering their children for kindergarten at Kenai Peninsula Borough School District schools all month long, with schools enrolling any district child who will be five-years-old by Sept. 1, but district administration is looking to set that age requirement in stone.

The school board introduced policy at their April 2 meeting that would put an end to kindergarten early enrollment in district schools.

“In the past, we’ve had a fairly significant process by which a student could potentially qualify for early enrollment,” said Board Member Dan Castimore. “The administration made a recommendation that we cease doing early enrollment altogether.”

Castimore said this recommendation stemmed from similar policies in the other big five school districts in Alaska. Also, although there are currently criteria children could meet for early enrollment, of the about 30 students who have applied over the past three years, only three were admitted, he said.

“There are concerns that it creates a negative first experience with school,” Castimore said. “You bring a student in and tell them we’ll give them an opportunity to enroll early, but then they’re told no. It can be devastating to a student.”

Under the proposed policy, the only exception to the five-year-old requirement is if a student, who is under school age, if they had been legally enrolled in kindergarten in the public schools of another district or state immediately before becoming a resident of the district.

The policy revision will be on the May 7 meeting agenda for action.

Reach Kat Sorensen at ksorensen@peninsulaclarion.com

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