Accelerated Placement

School District 54 follows Illinois School Code which specifies that to enter kindergarten, children must be five years of age by September 1 of their kindergarten year and six years of age by September 1 of their first-grade year.

The District 54 School Board permits placement into kindergarten or first grade for students younger than the entrance age requirements only for students who demonstrate high ability pursuant to the Board’s Accelerated Placement Policy.

Kindergarten – Accelerated Placement

Accelerated Placement to kindergarten may be considered for a child who meets the following criteria.

  • The child will turn 5 years of age during their kindergarten year.
  • The child is a resident of District 54.

 

First Grade – Accelerated Placement

Accelerated placement to first grade may be considered for a child who meets the following criteria.

  • The child will turn 6 years of age during their first-grade year.
  • The child is a resident of District 54.

 

Accelerated Placement Process

If all of the requirements above are met, the parent may register at the base school and request to participate in an accelerated placement evaluation. Children must be registered before August 1.

  • An original birth certificate (with the seal issued by the clerk in the county where the child was born) must be presented at registration. Hospital certificates are not acceptable. Please see our Registration page for more detailed information regarding other required registration documents.
  • The family will receive a questionnaire so District 54 can learn about the social-emotional skills of the student. If the student is demonstrating strong social-emotional skills based on parent feedback, the student will take the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessment.
  • Students who score in the top 5 percent of students based on national norms on MAP in both reading and math for the requested entry grade level will then take a cognitive assessment.
  • Students must then score in the top 5 percent of students based on national norms on the cognitive assessment in all areas to qualify for accelerated placement into the requested grade level.

Decisions regarding eligibility for accelerated placement to kindergarten or first grade will be made by the school principal and a district administrator based on meeting the criteria above. This decision is final.

The decision for a child to enter school early can have a profound effect on the child’s academic and social performance for the remainder of his school career. It is a decision that needs to be taken seriously. Early school experiences shape self-confidence and influence children for the rest of their lives. Children who enter first grade early may demonstrate social or emotional difficulties due to their relative immaturity, have difficulty fitting in with their peers in social situations as they progress through school, and be less likely to excel in sports because of their age and/or smaller size. We ask parents to carefully consider whether enrolling a child early will be of long-term benefit for their child.

While we are pleased to test applicants, the tests are challenging and time consuming. It is in the best interest of the student to balance test requests against the disappointment that may occur should the child not qualify.

Frequently Asked Questions

Normally, families register their children at their District 54 base school and complete the parent survey available at the school. Due to the school closure for the COVID-19 pandemic, you can contact Jennifer DiGioia at [email protected] to register your child, get a copy of the survey or ask additional questions.

Make sure your child is rested and has eaten. The assessment represents academic knowledge that we expect high-performing kindergarten or first grade students to be able to complete. You may want to tell your children that they will be asked to show what they have learned in school, that they should do their best and that they should enjoy themselves. The assessment will be administered on a computer or iPad.

Students registered before August 1 will be tested in early August. Parents/guardians will be notified of the testing date. Children moving into District 54 after August 1 are not eligible for testing, as accelerated placement is a full-year program.

The school principal and a district administrator will review the assessment results for your child and base the decision on the criteria above. The decision is final.

Since you are applying for accelerated placement to kindergarten or first grade, your application for open enrollment should be for the grade level you are testing for. If your child does not qualify for accelerated placement, you may request to be placed on the waiting list for the age appropriate grade level at the Open Enrollment school.

No. If your child’s name was selected at an Open Enrollment school, the school will hold that spot for your child until results of the assessment are reviewed.

There are many students in District 54 performing at very high levels who receive daily acceleration and small group support regardless of grade level assignment.